Veil of Terror: A Bride’s Nightmare, is the first movie made by Layla Kalani’s production company and marks the actorial debut of the surfing champion. Following in the footsteps of many other celebrities, Layla has decided to dip her toes in the movie-making waters. Unfortunately for her, it is a complete wipe out. More adept at wrestling sharks than convincingly expressing an emotion, Layla has created a film that no parent would want to give away.
I have little doubt that Veil of Terror will become successful but not for the reasons its backers hope. For generations to come, this movie will be watched by people trying to prove their patience and resolve. One can only assume that the film began as a dare that nobody had the sense to decline. The story unfolds like a collection of fever dreams, and the acting is valiant but flat. The decision to shoot the entire movie with handheld cameras to give it an “authentic” look, makes the whole affair feel like a shotgun wedding.
I normally try to avoid giving spoilers during a review, but the idea that anything I could say would “spoil” this summer stinker is ridiculous. Some of you are undoubtedly thinking that I am being overly critical and unfair to Ms. Kalani. Surely, it couldn’t be any worse than the normal straight to streaming fare offered during peak movie months. That’s where you’re wrong. Let me try and explain what you’re in for should you choose to pay for Veil. Spoliers ahead!
Layla plays the lead character, a marine biologist and surfing enthusiast named Brandy Boudreau. Brandy spends long portions of her day staring silently out at the ocean. What she is thinking, if anything at all, is anyone’s guess. Her high school sweetheart Luis Laraoux, played by Mitch Carson, works in environmental clean-up. He specializes in cleaning oil off birds. When he doesn’t have the look of a pet that knows he’s made a mess in the house and is waiting to be scolded, Luis spends his time scrubbing pelicans and lamenting the decline of oil spills. Seriously!
You see, Laraoux comes from a long line of bird cleaners. His father washed off wildlife as did his father’s father. The world is changing for Luis and he doesn’t like it. In addition to the world, his relationship is in flux as well. Brandy doesn’t think that the technological advances that are putting her boyfriend out of business are a bad thing. In fact, she transports endangered turtles to remote locations across the globe with veil technology and is something of an expert in it (a plot point that will become important later in the movie.)
The increasingly agitated Luis and the staring obsessed Brandy begin to drift apart. Eventually she decides to leave Louisiana and Luis himself. The next 30 mins are a collection of unlikely chase scenarios. Brandy veils with her research to numerous locals to avoid him, only to find that Luis has followed her, and she must run away. He chases her in cars, on foot, on bicycles, along the beach, in the water, through all manner of stores, and finally straight into a police station, where he is arrested. Carson does an admirable job of trying to carry this gigantic mess across the threshold of decency during these segments but is unable to preserve his honor.
Fast forward 5 years and we find ourselves in Lahaina. We see Brandy running towards a man on the beach and jumping into his arms. When he lifts her off the ground and spins we see it is Luis but with facial hair. While you’re still scratching your head, it is revealed that this isn’t Luis after all, but her fiancee Tim. He only looks like Luis. He looks like Luis because he is played by the same actor, Mitch Carson. I can’t begin to understand the decision behind casting the same actor to play both male leads. I considered for a moment that it served as some sort of story telling device or allegory that was simply beyond my understanding, but there is so much about this movie that I don’t understand, that I gave up.
A number of improbable events occur leading up to Brandy’s wedding, including a new neighbor moving next door who happens to look like Luis with dreadlocks. At this point there was an audible groan in the theater. As you may have already guessed the guy turns out to be her stalker ex with different hair. For someone who spends so much time in the movie silently staring at things, Brandy’s facial recognition skills are exceedingly poor.
A number of creepy or inappropriate interactions between the new neighbor and Brandy take place, including the discovery of an old picture of her in Louisiana. She never quite seems to recognize Louis underneath his corded hair though. Much to the joy of everyone who has sat through the previous 90 minutes, Brandy’s wedding day finally arrives. Luis reveals to her what has been painfully obvious to everyone and attempts to kidnap her.
Another long chase sequence ensues. This time the audience is treated to a run through some of Lahaina’s most recognizable spots including an almost 3 minute long zipline scene. I don’t think I have the language to properly describe the thrill of watching 100 nauseating seconds of straight line, harnessed pursuit. You might ask yourself why in the world someone would take the time to get into a harness if they are running for their lives, but that is only because you didn’t write Veil of Terror.
The movie mercifully ends at just under 2 hours after Brandy tricks Luis and sends him through the veil after doing something to his DNA profile. What comes out the other end is a perfect metaphor for the movie. Watching a sports legend being chased around in a wedding dress was more painful than sitting through a drunk uncle’s toast about how attractive a new bride is. Veil of Terror is a bouquet of bad writing, feckless acting, and poor decisions that nobody would want to catch.