The High Octane Pictures DVD of the 2019 gay-themed psychological thriller "Crisis Hotline" (nee "Shadows in Mind") shows that the fact that that it is not safe to go back in the theater is not a problem at all. This one has edgy fun for all ages and gender identities.
The following official trailer for "Hotline" provides a strong sense of both the style and the substance of this tale of an innocent young farmboy who realizes that he is not in Nebraska anymore.
This neo-modern gay soap opera/fable centers around member of The IT Crowd Danny, who gets a series of rude awakening on relocating to Silicon Valley for a dream job that turns out to be another day at the office.
As we learn throughout the almost film-long telephone conversation between Danny and support center staffer Simon, the reality is that the apparent embarrassment of riches as to the tech. job only allows for living in a shamefully shabby studio apartment and commuting an hour each way each day on the company bus.
The trauma that leads to the drama conveyed in the discussion with Simon begins with desperate times leading to Danny varying his method of his desperate measure of taking things into his own hands by going on either Grind'r or a reasonable facsimile thereof in search of Mr. Right.
This effort leads to meeting fellow keyboard kid Kyle. This pair waiting four dates to seal the deal either is a fairy tale (no pun or offense intended) or shows the new normal in the world of gay dating. It is realistic that waiting makes the intimacy more special.
The rest of the unfolding story is that Danny shares his plan for a murder/suicide with Simon.
The spidey sense of viewers is triggered more quickly than that of Danny as to Kyle being cagey regarding his clients who pay him well enough to live a lifestyle to which Danny would like to become accustomed.
A subsequent "meet the parents" scene has Danny as the man who came to dinner with Kyle to meet 30-something gay couple/pornographers Christian and Lance, who pay the rent for their boy Kyle. The evening starts out creepy and takes a darker turn that reasonably causes Danny to feel uneasy.
Danny becoming increasingly aware of the nature of the dirty business in which his highly significant other is involved proportionately prompts him to encourage Kyle to change professions. Anyone who has seen any film even remotely similar to "Crisis" knows that the odds are not forever in the favor of the young lovers as to their great escape plan. At the same time, that is a chance that they have to take.
The predictable last-minute obstacle to a happy ending comes in the unpredictable form of Kyle bringing his work home that is a Cos for concern. This triggers the events that lead to the call announcing plans to pull the trigger.
Writer/producer/director Mark Schwab pulls off the neat trick of pulling a rabbit out of his hat in the form of an 11th-hour plot twist that puts a completely new perspective on the entire film. The bonus is that it is a clever and realistic development that supports the theory that confession is good for the soul.
Thematically, the bigger picture is that the experience of Danny is relatable across the Kinsey Scale. As addressed early in the marathon call, every first love is almost certain to end in tears and recriminations. Further, in the immortal words of Keith Partridge, doesn't somebody wanted to be wanted like me? This is especially true when you are living a solitary existence in a shabby broom closet thousands of miles from home.
The bigger picture as to "Crisis" itself is that Schwab holds true to the modern style of indie filmmaking by keeping things real and having the performances largely be stoic even in the face of heavy turmoil. On a more narrow note, this film that borderline qualifies for a PG-13 rating reflects the rule in gay cinema that the amount of nudity has an inverse relationship with the quality of the film.
The DVD extras include commentary by Schwab and film expert Tim Sika. We also get DVD exclusive interviews with the cast and the crew.