By CHRIS HAMMOND
Starring Dianne Wulf, Neil Chase, Tyler Duffy, S-Raj Kumar, Lindsay Christopher, and Huereka Aragon
Written by Neil Chase
Directed by Neil Chase / David Heacock
Produced by Preston Ewasiuk
There are many films that explore the Apocalypse, but SPIN THE WHEEL trades in the flashy CGI environmental collapse, and rather focuses on characters to drive this story. The film takes place during the last hours of the world; complete strangers all find their way to a local watering hole to enjoy a few beverages for their last hours of existence. Little do they know that a man named Lou (Neil Chase) may or may not be the devil. He offers each of them a chance to save the world, but only if they can beat him at a game of Russian Roulette. Each stranger in the bar has their own secrets, which slowly surface throughout the game’s runtime.
Although working with a small budget usually limits a film, the gang at Brimstone Pictures really excels at production. This helps to make the film feel much larger than it is. The characters are well-fleshed out with Lou (Neil Chase) really committing to the devil-like persona. Not everything is doom and gloom, though. There are a few instances of dark humor that bubble up. One such moment is when the audience is first introduced to Lou. He comes out of the washroom and quips, “Something died in there”. There are also a handful of mock music videos and television shows that are shown on the tv which the group watches for news updates.
At the core, SPIN THE WHEEL is a story about loss, faith, and decisions that lead people down the path they choose. There’s a constant tension that underlies each pull of the trigger. Eve (Dianne Wulf) is a character with a hard shell. She’s guarded with each stranger until the first person meets a bullet in the “devil’s game”. She takes a motherly approach to one of the younger bar patron Danny (Huereka Aragon). This teen runaway has one of the most emotional interactions in the film with eve that really tugs at the heartstrings.
There are some pretty strong mature themes and language throughout the film. These usually surround the abrasive truck driver known as Earl (Tyler Duffy). This character hides his insecurities in his cliché ideologies. Melanie (Lindsay Christopher), Angel (S-Raj Kumar), Milton (Brandon Horth), and Billy (David Madawo) round out the cast. Their characters add layers of dramatic appeal to the film.
The third act is when secrets are revealed and characters meet their maker, will anyone be left standing to save the world, or will the devil get his due? Well, maybe that answer will be answered for the curious when the film makes its festival rounds this year.
SPIN THE WHEEL is a testament to hard work, dedication, and passion for filmmaking. The story is not only about redemption but also showcases a diverse cast of characters. The plot is engaging right up until the film fades to black. This group of independent filmmakers, musicians, and actors show that when you put your mind to something, nothing can stop you. I can’t wait to see what this group can come up with on a larger budget in the future.
SPIN THE WHEEL will be showing at film festivals throughout North America and other countries during 2023.