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When I go to see a film, it’s rare that I ever see additional cuts or extended additions (of course with the exception of Lord of the Rings and Blade Runner because whoever argues that those editions aren’t the better of the films I will fight you), mostly because I’ve probably been shaped more into the “millennial” culture than I’d like to admit, my attention span for something once experienced, giving me little desire to revisit it in the future. This is a very bad habit, I know, but I made an effort recently to break my habit and it was well worth it.

Last year, I was happy to attend a premiere for a film that now, hits very close to home–quite literally, in fact. PRND (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive), directed by Joss Refauvelet and written by John-Arthur Ingram, I honestly didn’t know how to describe it, or what angle to approach it from. At the time, it felt like it was trying to tell the story about ridesharing going wrong, but after talking to the director, cast, and crew, that’s not what the intention was, but again–everything on the screen is what the viewer sees, no matter what creator intention was or not. The story PRND was telling just wasn’t matching up.

Yet, I still saw the potential in the film. I could see what it was trying to do, it just wasn’t doing very well due to back and forth cuts between past and present, introducing characters that had no build up, and a lot of nothing happening that left you bored. I highlighted this in my review which you can take a quick peek at, the original film beginning with who the audience perceives as the main character, Max (Javier Ordonez), driving around and killing, but otherwise doing a whole lot of nothing. But, there was still something else going on. I saw this underlying gem in Shelby (Kimberly Peters) and her story which was purportedly the key to the origin of the actual main character, a murderous Prius.

Shelby is a character that seems to have a history of struggling with her self-esteem under the thumb of her mean-spirited husband Henry, who is redneck-meets-Malfoy, […] The exchanges these two have over the course of a good mid portion of the film brings a needed balance, one that I thought could have been introduced much earlier.

This needed to be the focus and the core. I continued to emphasize that there was something there, “I felt that a little balance between the two narratives would have provided more context early on and to give the audience something to hang onto rather than crossing your fingers, hoping that there was a point.” This movie had potential and after that premiere, talking to the director and the cast and crew, this was something that the knew needed to happen.

Well, it did.

On Amazon PrimePRND Director’s Cut has given us a 100% improvement on a film that while had some nice moments, just wasn’t very well executed, even for a very, very low-budget picture. Nearly the entire film has been rearranged to reflect a slightly more linear story while still giving us a little jump between past and present–but most of all, viewers can actually tell that the murder Prius is what this whole thing is about.

Even in the first 10 or so minutes of the film, I was pleased to see these changes. Although we get that first tantalizing scene with Max dumping a kill, immediately after we’re introduced to Shelby and her story of surviving a controlling and abusive husband, Henry (Nigel Chisholm), just to enter a world of a different kind of horror.

If you watched the first version, I highly recommend that you give this new edit a sit-down, and if you’ve never seen the first version–don’t bother. Watch this one and enjoy a film that for being made on a 5k budget over 10 days originally, is a thrilling look into what happens when technology becomes too emotional and sympathetic for its own good and turns into kill-or-be-killed rideshare trips in the witching hours throughout Ventura, CA.

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch this for free, otherwise it’s $4.99 to rent. While some of the quality is still not worthy of a perfect rating, the film no longer feels like one of those, “it’s so bad it’s good” experiences and I reckon it’s actually worth your time. And while it doesn’t exactly fit into the category of carsploitation movies, it’s in that realm, and any fan of those kinds of movies may not be disappointed.

All in all, I should probably start watching more refreshed cuts of movies.

 

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