In 1961, The Twilight Zone aired an episode entitled “WILL THE REAL MARTIAN PLEASE STAND UP?”. Everyone who ever watched TZ will remember this one - it’s a classic. A bus breaks down on a snowy rural road and the small group of riders and the bus driver go into a nearby diner to wait for help. They soon realize that while there was six passengers plus the driver, there are eight people in the diner. One person is not who he/she seems. What a great concept. Well, fifty-eight years later, a movie has come out on Netflix that takes that premise and goes with it.
Elle Callahan’s HEAD COUNT is one of those great secret surprises that just pops up on a streaming service, you take a chance on it, and it rewards you. It’s a slow burn, but one with good scares and creepy moments. It’s set in Joshua Tree, and they get the tone and feeling of that quiet, alien-like landscape just right. While some of the characters are sketchily drawn, the main characters are not. You get the dynamic early on, and it stays with you.. Callahan has a great sense of composition and set up - she is a director I’ll be watching closely.
I will not tell you anything more about the plot because that takes all the fun out of what discovering a movie is all about. Just know that this is worth your ninety minutes one late night in the next few months. I remember when you’d have to pay $3 to rent a VHS or DVD to take a chance on a movie. Not anymore - just put it on and get hooked. HEAD COUNT!!!! - Mark