The Arrangement is a new thriller from filmmaker Andrew Hunsicker.
Let me rephrase that last statement. The Arrangement is a newly released thriller from filmmaker Andrew Hunsicker. The script was actually written all the way back in 2000. Over the years, The Arrangement was optioned by a couple of major studios, but ultimately was never put into production.
However, in the 20 years since the script was first written, Hunsicker’s son, Jake, has also become a film maker, winning awards at numerous film fests for his 2016 short film, Nod. Together, the father and son team revamped the script and financed production themselves, successfully landing a distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures, who have since released the film on Verizon/Fios On Demand, with release on other streaming platforms throughout the year.
In The Arrangement, two detectives must find the connection between a string of mysterious deaths, each occurring at midnight on consecutive nights. At the scene of the first death (a business woman who is presumed to have jumped from the window of her high-rise office) they find a Polaroid picture featuring the victim. In reverse Back to the Future fashion, it also features the person marked to die next, adding new people to the image after the previous has perished.
Detective Jessica Alvarez is the younger detective, a cop’s daughter, who had until recently been sleeping with her commanding officer, Lt. Devlin. The other detective is Harry Frick (actor Danny Donnelly); a somewhat older, awkward, introverted type who now generally works the desk, thanks (in part) to his nebbish nature. Frick was also partnered with Devlin at one point, and does not appear to be overly fond of the newly appointed lieutenant, albeit passively.
As the deaths continue, the detectives begin to suspect that Devlin may have played a role, as he was either present in the company of the victims at or near the time of their deaths or had some previous connection to the deceased. Meanwhile, Frick inadvertently makes himself a suspect by trying to warn each of the “marked” of the their impending demise, placing himself at the scene.
Eric Roberts appears as an equally charismatic and enigmatic motivational speaker/self-help guru in sequences that not only open the film, but also help bring all the story elements together in the final moments. While Roberts may not bring anything truly “special” to the role, he’s still a Hell of a lot of fun to watch and serves as one of the film’s highlights. Adult film star Britney Amber also has a small role parodying herself, providing a few chuckles, as well as some gratuitous nudity.
As for the rest of the cast, performances vary significantly. Some supporting actors, such as Michael McFadden as a sleazy adult film producer, or Aimee Theresa as a woman afflicted with a facial skin disorder, truly shine through in their limited screen time. Others can be a little uneven or a little unconvincing. Then, there is that one scene featuring the most hysterically unconvincing portrayal of “grief” that I have even seen. Honestly, it had me thinking that the film was a “comedy” for a while.
Jennifer M. Kay gives a respectable performance as “Jessica”, but the film is not hers to carry, leaving “Jessica” as more of a supporting character in many ways. The film’s emotional weight falls on Donnelly to carry as “Frick”. While Donnelly gives an admirable performance, there is only so much he can do to embody a role that was clearly written for an older actor. Besides the character’s physical characteristics and quirks being those of an older man, “Frick” is written to have been dealing with the psycho-emotional ramifications of years of loneliness. Personally, I feel this aspect may have been more effective with an older actor in the role. Again, this is no strike against Donnelly’s performance, as he does a commendable job of making you care about the character.
While The Arrangement was updated from its original script, some aspects of the film still feel a touch dated. For example, it just feels odd to see the police captain (Andrew Hunsicker, in a supporting role) in a modern movie taking a drag off an e-cig, while it was commonplace to see someone smoking a cigarette in a film released in the year 2000 or prior. Even as a former smoker and current vape user, seeing this in a movie is seriously distracting. This may sound like a minor detail, but I assure you that it is focused on more than it should be.
Horror And Sons was contacted by the filmmakers in regards to providing a review of the film. Normally, having a review sent to us by the filmmakers or distributors would have zero impact on our opinion of the film. However, for The Arrangement, the filmmakers also included an information sheet which disclosed vital plot details that, in retrospect, I REALLY wish I hadn’t known about prior to watching the film as it thoroughly neutered a lot of the suspense and surprise.
All that said, I still rather enjoyed The Arrangement. The story may be a tad predictable for some, and some performances do tend to get a little uneven at times, but I still found it compelling and made me care about its lead. Granted, audiences may have cared more had the film been made in 2000 and starred a “name”, such as Robin Williams. (Watch the film and tell me that you can’t see him in the role of “Frick”.) Even without the inflated Hollywood budget or “star power”, The Arrangement may just be worth your time.
For more information and release details, be sure to check out The Arrangement Facebook and Instagram pages!