Tony Glazer’s debut feature is a bold and creative take on a recognisable plot, filled with extremely strong performances. A film about 4 meth addicts whose quest to steal a TV from a rich neighbourhood in exchange for meth takes a dark turn. A family secret is unearthed from the house they choose, and the irrational addicts take themselves and the occupants of the house down a messy path of no return.
The thrill of Junction stems from the stand-out performances of the central cast. You can take the most compelling story, but in the wrong hands and carried out by the wrong cast it becomes worthless. Each of the addicts added a new dimension to the events that unfolded; Spot (Harris Doran) was like a caricature – constantly screaming and feeling hard done by. Donald (Neal Bledsoe) appeared vulnerable but unstable, clearly conflicted in how to address his demons. Kari (Summer Crocket Moore) was the level-headed one, but reserved and ashamed. Finally, their ‘leader’ David (Tom Pelphrey), just seemed like a victim of circumstance, not wanting to be there at all. Compound these together in the convincing way that this cast did, then you have a very combustible situation that makes for difficult viewing.
Rather than focus on the subsequent negotiation between the police and the addicts, or the more violent elements that occur, the psychological and moral differences are settled in an unpredictable fashion. The tension between the 4 robbers is heightened by their obvious need for their next hit; the speech gets quicker and louder, disorientation sets in, and the visible effects of meth get progressively worse as the sweaty and bloodied foursome’s chance for a way out narrows. There are no heroes, it descends deeper into madness turning into a darkening, claustrophobic nightmare.
A tight script, great use of the small location and a visibly jarring thriller, Junction can take its place near the top of the home invasion films out there. Impressive, tweaky, low-budget – it’s a thriller that exceeded all my expectations.