BENNIGHT BROTHERS is a sci-fi/paranormal web series that is a little reminiscent of the popular television show, Supernatural. It is a unique series that can be described as an eye opening experience as it gives another perspective on what we know about psychological disorders.
What if we were born with the power to see beyond what people could normally see in our world? What if we could see another side of our modern world that is full of ethereal energy, monsters and secrets? BENNIGHT BROTHERS is an interesting show that reminds me a little of what I know of Supernatural. As mentioned in the previous article on this show, I recommend reading Chris Hadley’s article on the creation of this show for those that are unfamiliar with it.
BENNIGHT BROTHERS is a sci-fi/paranormal web series created and written by Robert L. Lopez that centers on three brothers. They live in a world that is a lot like the modern world we live in except their world intertwines magic and technology. Brice Bennight (Curtis Reid), Carter Bennight (Joseph Marketos) and Warner Bennight (Marcos David) are united through adversity of facing mental illness and a moment that will transform their lives forever.
These characters have been isolated from the rest of the world due to the fact that they each battle a particular mental illness. Carter, the oldest of the brothers, battles bipolar disorder and his temper often gets the best of him as he takes his anger out on his siblings. Brice, the middle brother, battles OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and has his own set of skills when it comes to technology. While being the middle sibling, Brice also has the responsibility of keeping the peace between his brothers when they fight. Warner, the youngest of the brothers, battles schizophrenia while trying to establish his own identity and abilities aside from his brothers. The death of their father, John Bennight, (Robert L. Lopez) changes their lives forever. They discover that he left a secret behind through thirteen keys. They must work together in order to find these keys before anyone else to unlock the mysterious treasure left behind for them.
The brothers have another challenge ahead of them. While attempting to uncover all of these keys, someone else shares the same goal. We soon meet another character, a mysterious man named Rey Kaylan, (Adam Hohler) who is fighting what appears to be a multiple personality disorder. The difference is that Rey possesses sinister intentions and that the three brothers are the target.
After watching the whole first season, I really had to sit back and think about it. The story is very strange and a lot feels missing from the plot. It comes across as random fragments of a story with no connection in between. It has potential to be a really cool show. It was just difficult to piece all of the information together even to the point of figuring out where some characters came from. For example, I found myself wondering where the character Dharma (Ellen Levenson) came into the picture. She appears at the beginning of episode 4 running away with Warner with no sign of how she met him before that episode.
It would have been nice to see a direct connection to each episode or at least a continuation of a plot. One of the only similarities in each episode are these dark shadow figures. There are some interesting story choices going on in each episode as the show keeps growing and improving. It will be nice to see where future episodes go.
There were a lot of issues with sound. It looked like most of the dialogue was ADR (automated dialogue replacement). It should be difficult to pick up on it, but most of the time while watching the first season, the dialogue didn’t match up with mouth movements. It can be very difficult to record and then match up voices with stuff that’s already been filmed. There were moments where it was hard to hear dialogue especially when important information was being revealed. The sound sometimes was muffled or at a low volume.
There were many issues with acting. It was hard at times to believe certain performances. In episode 1, the dialogue seemed like ADR. It didn’t match up with the movements of the actors’ mouths. ADR proved to be a problem with performances because sometimes the performances vocally were more intense than what the actors were portraying physically. One of the best performances of the series was by Sammy Silverwatch as young Carter in episode 2. I believed his performance even though the exchange between young Carter and his father seemed unnatural. It felt like it was an obvious opportunity to insert a lot of information for the audience because there weren’t other convenient places. It felt odd to me that young Carter would be asking these kinds of questions or would understand the entire conversation due to his age. Children are really curious, but maybe not to that point. Corey Spencer delivered a good performance in episode 6 as Jimmie Vaillant. The seizure toward the end of the episode was kind of hard to watch. It looked a little bit like a fountain filled with soapsuds. Don’t get me started on the sound of it. Ewww! Gross!
The visual effects featured in this series were odd. Some of them were pretty cool when executed. The one effect that comes to mind was when Kaylan morphs back into his original form from a man with glasses. This show uses a lot of visual effects which can make for a really neat show, but sometimes less is more. The quality of the effects matters more than the quantity. There were some that looked believable and some that didn’t. There were people with messed up eyes. There was a light blue monster that was beating up on the brothers. Kaylan can shoot black stuff from the palm of his hand.
There were quite a bit of stunts performed in this show. There were characters fighting each other, characters being flown backwards and invisible creatures being fought. These were all super cool ideas to bring to the screen, but that adds a challenge of executing them in a believable way. Sometimes sound became an issue in these stunts by delivering unrealistic sound effects with punches or crashing backwards after being hit. There were moments where fights were sped up and sometimes this caused the fight to not look real. This could easily be fixed in the editing if there were different shots with different angles of the fight. The editor could just cut between those different shots to make the fight more engaging and more believable. In the first episode, it was awesome to see the invisible monster slam into the wall and the impression that it left in the wall.
The scoring was interesting. It seemed to fit the strangeness of the show. The music featured in some of the scenes made everything feel weird and uneasy. It seemed intentional.
When I read the backstory behind this production, things started to click. The series was developed by a real life experience from Lopez. It is a neat idea. It will be interesting to see what direction the next season takes.
Like I said before, I don’t know much about Supernatural, but what I do know of the show, is a little similar to this show when it comes to fighting these types of monsters and that the plot revolves around brothers. Viewers should be sure to read up on the backstory behind this series before watching as there are elements at play that only make sense with a bit of background. After reading about it, BENNIGHT BROTHERS is definitely a unique work and worth the watch. There is some question raised as to just how much of the ‘strangeness’ and technical problems have been introduced on purpose in order to highlight the real life struggles of those living with mental illness. Ultimately taken as a whole the show is really an eye opening experience, giving another perspective on what we know about psychological disorders.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.bennightbrothers.com