Intriguing psychological thriller "Second-Story Man" is told through the unreliable viewpoint of a protag whose grip on reality slips after his partner is killed.

Set in snowy upstate New York, intriguing psychological thriller “Second-Story Man” is told through the unreliable viewpoint of a protag whose grip on reality slips after his partner is killed. Debut feature for helmer/co-scenarist Neal Dhand is assuredly handled if somewhat unsatisfying in the end. Perhaps too low-key to attract theatrical interest, pic could parlay positive notices on the fest circuit into niche DVD and possible cable sales.

Arthur (Christopher J. Domig) and girlfriend Monique (Valerie Monique Evering) are small-time, small-town stickup artists, with Monique executing their jobs because Arthur has a bum leg. When they set their sights on a bank, trigger-happy security guard Max (Danny Hoskins) shoots Monique dead, leaving Arthur in sole custody of her 7-year-old, Maria (Zaira Crystal). Seeking revenge, he moves them into a vacant flat above the one Max shares with unhappy wife Janet (Lindsay Goranson) and their own small daughter. But this pursuit grows complicated by Arthur’s increasing difficulty separating delusion from reality, in particular the kidnappers he hears muttering in the allegedly empty apartment next door. Conclusion underwhelms, but until then, the well-crafted pic’s solid performances and quiet atmospherics maintain steady interest.

Second-Story Man

Production

A DCP production. Produced by Scott Lancer, Rick Staropoli, Barry Sonders, Neal Dhand. Directed by Neal Dhand. Screenplay, Dhand, Richard Jackson.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Chase Bowman; editors, Jason Stoy, Aaron Lidell; music, Eric Zabriskie; art director/costume designer, Kate M. Blomquist. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, March 24, 2011. (In Cinequest Film Festival.) Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Christopher J. Domig, Lindsay Goranson, Danny Hoskins, Valerie Monique Evering, Zaira Crystal, Arthur Brown, Dan Kulo, Maria Sanquedolce, Michael Arve, Kevin Sean Sweeney, Lea Mancarella.

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