As the introduction sequences of this 2012 Danielle Harris directed film came and went, it was obvious that the cast of "Among Friends" was poorly chosen, which can severely overshadow the talents of a director and make for a painful experience for viewers much too early in the film.
However, there were a few salvageable scenes from a few of the actors and actresses, but not enough to save the second directing effort from Harris.
Harris, who is highly recognizable on the other side of the camera, as an actress in both the Rob Zombie and original "Halloween" series, as well as the "Hatchet" installments, definitely has a knack for executing visual brilliance, which is highlighted by the "tripping scene" during the culmination of "Among Friends".
Nonetheless, the skill and experience Harris brings to this "torture" film cannot repair character clashes and role flaws. This whole group of twenty-somethings were trash and unbelievable with their emotions that were often times abruptly halted within seconds. From getting partially scalped, fingers chopped off, or much, much worse, to being calm and coherent within a minute or two. Not so invigorating to the viewer, in fact the total opposite.
"Among Friends" revolves around a group of people who attend a murder mystery party, under the premise of a 1984-Prom theme, which was pretty cool in itself, but the producers never followed through on that aspect, nor did they with any of the hidden strengths that could have been a savior of this film if done properly.
Instead the production was focused on the trashy, over the top and tasteless behaviors of the group, often times too choppy, too predictable or just plain unnecessary. The "Saw" series is proof that there are endless reasons for torture, although in a narrow minded frenzy, writer Alyssa Lobit decided to go the easiest route with what she chose, both with the torture methods and the reasons behind them.
I see unlimited potential in a career path for Harris with directing, and in her next effort I hope she has a more solid cast to work with and a tighter more imaginative script to visualize.