‘Searching for Sonny’ offers a funny thriller

By James Herd

This scene from “Searching for Sonny” shows group of friends who find themselves wrapped in a murder mystery.
Red Productions

It would seem that Sonny has been found.

There’s still buzz at Baylor about the Texas Independent Film Network’s premiere of “Searching for Sonny” on Sept. 6.

The network is a group of film societies, universities and independent theaters who screen independent Texas films.

“Sonny” was directed by Andrew Disney and stars well-known TV-drama actors Jason Dohring (“Veronica Mars”), Minka Kelly (“Friday Night Lights”) and Masi Oka (“Heroes”).

The film is a unique comedic thriller about a man named Elliot Knight, who hasn’t really done anything of substance with his life. He’s dissatisfied with being a pizza delivery guy and wants to achieve more with his life, so when he gets a postcard from his old friend Sonny Bosco (whom he almost killed in high school) announcing their 10-year reunion, he takes this chance to make amends with Sonny.

But when he gets home, Elliot finds that Sonny has gone inexplicably missing, and the events surrounding Elliot, his brother Calvin and their friend Gary are eerily similar to the events of a high school play that they performed – a play that Sonny wrote.

Overall, the plot is sound. It is a well-written story that offered many surprises upon first viewing.

At first glance, it appears to be classified as a Crime-Thriller. However, while it may have elements from that genre, it is a perfect mixture between thriller and comedy.

The casting choices are what impressed me most of all.

Andrew Disney could have cast the roles to unknown actors, but instead, he chose to cast actors such as Dohring, Kelly and Oka, who have starred in hit TV-shows.

Another interesting casting decision was throwing Internet celebrities into the casting mix. Online sketch comedy group BriTAINick were cast as Calvin and Gary. The duo said it’s an attempt to mix real fame with fake fame.

The DVD/Blu-ray combo pack for the movie is jam-packed with interesting behind-the-scenes features such as Easter Eggs and cast specific videos, such as one aptly titled “How we got Michael Hogan”.

The menu screen, rather than just an image with music, is an actual shot from the film, which gives it a nice flair.

“Searching for Sonny” is now available for sale on its website, https://shop.searchingforsonny.com/. For screening information visit www.austinfilm.org.