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directed by Devin Lawrence
USA 2015


It is a given in cinema that suburban, middle-class domestic bliss is sustained by a web of little white lies born out of the desire to avoid conflict over subjects one partner may deceive themselves into believe are no big deal. The pretentiously-titled but engrossing SYMPATHY, SAID THE SHARK - feature debut of Devin Lawrence produced by GHOST ADVENTURES/PARANORMAL CHALLENGE reality show star Zak Bagans - shuffles overlapping first person POV takes of its central triangle to explode all of them for a young couple and their estranged third wheel, the selfishness behind the seemingly sincere intentions of those lies, and the trajectory of those deceits towards their current deadly dilemma. A rainy date night at home for District Attorney clerk Justin (Lea Coco, SINISTER 2) and his Starbucks manager wife Lara (Melinda Cohen, PERFECT HIDEOUT) goes all to hell with the abrupt arrival of Church (Dominic Bogart, EXTRACTED) - Justin's ne'er–do–well friend from his days as a drug dealer - high as a kite, clutching a briefcase, sporting a flesh wound, and claiming that a cop tried to run him down. Although Lara believes that they have not seen Church since they left Los Angeles after Justin got his degree, Justin soon confesses that he got bankrupt Church a job for the DA as a runner. Lara has not been so truthful either, revealing to Church when he needs something to calm his nerves that she drinks behind two years sober Justin's back; but she ends up preempting Church's bombshell about their brief affair when he starts feeling as though the couple have made him a scapegoat for all of their own problems. When it becomes apparent that the threat from without is not a product of Church's drug-addled mind, Justin reveals what he knows of the evidence in the briefcase Church was supposed to deliver. The film stumbles in its buildup of tension once the threat becomes more concrete and less ambiguous, but quickly regains it as the trio's attempts to band together are continually hindered by not only the love triangle but the ever unraveling series of lies and resentments compounded by yet new deceptions. The overlapping POVs not only reveal things one character might have missed occurring between the other two (although it does slow down some of the forward momentum later in the film), but the filmmakers also make clever use of reflections that do not expose the placement of the camera on the actor but also seem to force the character to look at themselves while betraying the others. The finale also goes one twist too many to be as clever as it might have been (even if it is logical in retrospect), but the central performances are engaging and dramatically satisfying. Nicholas Gonzalez (THE PURGE: ANARCHY) and Richard Gunn (DARK PLACE) are featured in prominent supporting roles.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 15 January 2016 (USA)

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DVD Review: Filmbuff - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:21:03

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.69 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Filmbuff

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
� none

DVD Release Date: 6 June 2016

Chapters 28





Shipped directly from Amazon, Filmbuff's retail version is a single-layer DVD-R sporting a low constant bitrate (file size: 2.78 GB), progressive, anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer when one takes into consideration that is not always up to the film's low lighting, and murky shadows, and constantly manipulated color correction that sometimes desaturate the image quickly or slowly or other times over-saturates the reds. High motion scenes (the POV shots were done with Black Magic Pocket Cameras worn by the actors and well-hidden from multiple reflective surfaces) are not so clear and sharp, but the POV camerawork is also intentionally unsteady, sometimes jerky, and whipping around with the harried movements of the characters. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track is sufficient to convey all of the film's dialogue, musical accents, source music, atmospheric sounds, and directional effects. There are no menus, but there are twenty-seven chapter marks (the twenty-eighth starts the film over again if you do not let the end credits run all the way through). Fans of the film may actually be better served by a digital download copy from one of the streaming retailers.

  - Eric Cotenas

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Region 0 - NTSC


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