Dianne Wulf, Neil Chase, Tyler Duffy, S-Raj Kumar, Lindsay Christopher, Huereka Aragon, Brandon Horth, David Madawo
Neil Chase, David Heacock
It's the eve of the Apocalypse. A group of strangers is gathered in a dimly lit bar, seemingly a sanctuary from everything that's going on outside.
Or is it?
A man claiming to be the Devil challenges this motley group to a game of Russian Roulette with a chance to save the world hanging in the balance.
Co-directed by Neil Chase and David Heacock, Spin the Wheel is dark, comedy-tinged thriller that for the most part avoids the apocalypse that serves as its theme. It takes place within the confines of the bar, the characters gathered being the entire focus and this potential, saving the world, fueling the heightened sense of anxiety and dread that often hangs over the film.
Dianne Wulf shines as Eve, initially disconnected from everything around her yet increasingly drawn into this game offered by Neil Chase's devilish Lou. Wulf's Eve runs the broad spectrum of emotions with interminable strength pierced by moments of vulnerability. It's a terrific performance from beginning to end.
As Lou, Neil Chase gives a commanding performance that owns the screen and simultaneously manages to be taunting, teasing, and occasionally terrifying. It's a weird proposition for sure and Spin the Wheel doesn't give away its story too soon. That story, penned by Chase, picked up the prize for Best Feature Script at Action on Film and was a quarter finalist in Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowships. It's an intriguing, compelling story brought vividly to life by this strong ensemble cast and also by the atmospheric lensing from David Heacock. Heacock also contributes the films's original score to great effect.
S-Raj Kumar also shines as Angel, a heavily tattooed gangbanger who doesn't quite play out exactly as you'd expect.
Spin the Wheel is a thought-provoking, engaging thriller that asks big questions and tackles rather intense subject matter. While the Canadian film occasionally shows its low-budget roots, Chase's script and a strong ensemble work together to make this a film worth watching and contemplating.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic