Backstory for "Among Brothers" is more intriguing than anything frosh helmer John Schwert gets on screen. Indie low-budgeter is based on a scenario by the brother of the victim in the real-life, officially "unsolved" murder case that inspired pic. But slack pacing, uneven thesping and overall lack of storytelling flair make fact-based drama play like rote fiction suitable for late-night cable.

Backstory for “Among Brothers” is more intriguing than anything frosh helmer John Schwert gets on screen. Indie low-budgeter is based on a scenario by the brother of the victim in the real-life, officially “unsolved” murder case that inspired pic. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent — and, presumably, the guilty.) But slack pacing, uneven thesping and overall lack of storytelling flair make fact-based drama play like rote fiction suitable for late-night cable.

Title refers to fraternity brothers at South Carolina college who conspire to conceal a crime of passion. Normally affable Ethan (Matt Mercer) goes ballistic when co-ed Jennifer (Lauren Schneider) says she wants to remain “just friends.” After an angry clash, Jennifer winds up dead in her apartment. Ethan claims he “accidentally” killed her, but buddy Miles (Corey Cicci) can’t help noticing bruises on her body. Even so, Miles and fellow frat brother Billy (Daniel J. Watts) help Ethan cover up the crime by torching the apartment. When investigators ascertain that Jennifer was dead before the fire, Ethan and Miles try to incriminate a sleazy professor (Lindsay Ayliffe). Pic’s closing titles indicate real killer remains at large.

Among Brothers

Production

A Fourth Ward Prods. production. Produced, directed, written by John Schwert, from a story by Tom Morgan.

Crew

Camera (color), Brad Hoover; editors, Jordan Chesney, Schwert; production designer, Hoover. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, June 8, 2005. (In WorldFest/Houston Film Festival.) Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Matt Mercer, Corey Cicci, Lauren Schneider, Daniel J. Watts, Lindsay Ayliffe.
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