Blu-ray/DVD, Reviews

“Union Furnace” Turns On the Heat

This little indie has a very sadistic plot that although somewhat predictable plays out fairly well.  But, the production quality suffers from the lack of funds and the unskillful acting ability involving support characters reduces the entertainment value. That said Union Furnace is a good platform for novice writer/director Nicholas Bushman and his cast. The film has just been released in Blu-ray and DVD.

Down and out car thief Cody (Mike Dwyer) has made a lot of mistakes in his life and finds himself on the verge of a major one.  The car he just stole has been rejected by his regular chop shop in Union Furnace and he flies off the handle as he races out to the garage. As he leaves town he gets followed by an SUV and speeds down a snow wet back road ending up in a ditch.

Mike Dwyer and Seth Hammond in UNION FURNACE

The man, Lion (Seth Hammond), in the SUV goes over to the car and talks to Cody offering him a ride. It’s the beginning of an acquaintance that will offer Cody big money to participate in a demonic underground challenge where he will risk his life against 7 others for the huge payoff.

Mike Dwyer and Katie Keen in UNION FURNACE

Director and writer Bushman does a good job of setting up the storyline and the contests that are the cream of the film. Peeking the audience with a room filled with masked onlookers and chairs filled with the contestants, he begins the “entertainment.”  I like the premise and the character traits of those who will be participating as they all have reasons for wanting the payoff.  Unfortunately beyond Dwyer, Hammond and Katie Keen (as number 6) the acting leaves a lot to be desired and creates a lack of empathy for most of the contestants.

The contestants are lined up and numbered for the first challenge in UNION FURNACE

The production lacks the funds to provide good quality audio, actors, lighting and camerawork causing a bland, ordinary set that does nothing to help the cruel plot. Having better of these elements, would have forgiven the amateurish performances.  The editing department must have left a lot on the cutting room floor as each of the contests are cut short, leaving a lot to be desired as to the fate of each of the people who get eliminated. And, the predictable ending can be seen far in advance of the conclusion.

That said, I commend Nicholas Bushman, Mike Dwyer, Seth Hammond and Katie Keen for giving it a good try.  And for that, it’s a very good film for those who are budding Directors, Writers and Actors to from which to study and learn. In fact, there’s a BONUS FEATURE that shows the “Making of Union Furnace” on both the DVD and Blu-ray. The 18 minute extra features Director Bushman and co-writer and actor Mike Dwyer going over how the film came about, finances, locations and more that can aid upcoming filmmakers.

Union Furnace has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, language, nudity and sexual innuendos.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The horror/thriller storyline is a good one.

Specifications and additional video information:

Cast: Mike Dwyer, Keith David, Seth Hammond, Katie Keen, Kevin CrowleyCast: Mike Dwyer, Keith David, Seth Hammond, Katie Keen, Kevin CrowleyDirector: Nicholas BushmanMPAA Rating: Not Rated, nudity, language, Genre: Horror, ThrillerRunning Time: 1 hr. 29 min. Video Release Date: August 15, 2017Original Theatrical Release Date: July 1, 2017Language: EnglishReviewed Format: DVD (also available in Blu-ray)Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.78:1, 1080pSubtitles: NoneNumber of Discs: 1 DiscDistributed by: Metropol Pictures

The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions.

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 11 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com