A badly sewn noir patchwork quilt, Jevon O’Neill’s “Out of Season” starts with the familiar set-up of a young loner stuck in an off-season beachside resort amid a crowd of crazies and continues to a finale bursting with blood and over-extended double-crosses. Drama makes such a complete mockery of its genrer that it could teach budding screenwriters what not to do in plotting a noir. Fests shouldn’t be fooled by this straight-to-deepest cable nocturnal programmer, in spite of the cast featuring Dennis Hopper and Gina Gershon.
Callow wanderer and moonlighter Pierre (Jordan Frieda) falls for Kelly (Dominique Swain) and gets stuck in a dreary seaside town famed only for an amusement park with a currently-defunct high-speed roller coaster ride. Kelly is at odds with her father, park owner Michael (Jim Carter), and her devious, sexy mother-in-law, Eileen (Gershon). To break her boredom, Kelly arranges for her lover Simeon (David Murray) to steal Pierre’s cash stash. Later, however, Pierre has to hire Simeon to assist him on booze smuggling runs.
During one of these runs, Pierre meets local bar owner Harry (Hopper), who for no real reason takes the young man under his wing to teach him everything he knows about high-risk theft and lock-picking. At the same time, Eileen wants Michael dead, and enlists Simeon to arrange it, not knowing that Simeon is involved with Michael in a counterplot to kill her.
Making such woozy plot machinations downright hallucinogenic is the casting of so many scenery-munching thesps, led by Murray and including Swain in a possibly career-low turn. Hopper’s role amounts to little more than playing a punching bag for Murray, while Gershon pouts and Frieda looks confused. O’Neill’s direction is studied to a fault, though lenser Nic Morris displays a real love for noir’s nighttime moods of threat.