In the early 1990s, some Hart High School students became friends in the Santa Clarita Valley. Years later, they would reunite to form a film crew and release a low-budget film in theaters.
Jared Bentley, a content producer at Rotten Tomatoes who grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley, directed the film, “Intensive Care,” with the production help of fellow Hart High graduates Eric Storlie, Scott Anderson, Peter Rimac and Jonathan LaCroix.
“Intensive Care” revolves around three small-time criminals who plan to rob a dying elderly woman, only to find her caregiver is a former special-ops soldier who has plans of her own for the senior’s money.
Bentley called it a “‘Home Alone’ meets Jason Bourne,” concept. The film was released this year after being in production since summer 2015.
“That summer (in 2015) was when my partners and I started having the conversation of, ‘Let’s do a feature film,’” Bentley said. “We’d done commercials, music videos, shorts and other stuff here and there. But we had always wanted to get feature projects off the ground since we were kids, so we decided to not wait for permission. We went and funded our own low-budget film, finished the script in fall 2015 and began shooting it in January 2016.”
The film’s storyline took budgeting limitations into consideration — it was shot in one location — but also touched on different genres the crew liked.
“We are all fans of thrillers, horror, action movies and comedy, so we wanted to mix all those together,” Bentley said. “So we made a bloody-nosed, (Quentin) Tarantino-esque ‘Home Alone,’ where you watch some people get punched, and that’s it. It’s not terribly deep.”
The production, starring actress, martial arts expert and stunt double Tara Macken, was shot over two weeks and be found on Amazon, iTunes, Fandango and other platforms. On Jan. 9, it will also be released directly to DVD and available at Target and Walmart.
Upon graduating from Hart High in 1993, Bentley became a producer, director and editor and has spent his career working on feature films. He was also the video director and videographer for the Jackson 5 for many years.
“I knew when I was 8 years old, after seeing ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ that I wanted to do film,” he said. “My father Gary Bentley was a special effects man, so I grew up on movie sets. I fell in love with movies and for me, it was natural to be in that environment. So when I was 12, my parents got me a video camera, and I started making silly movies with my friends.”
As for his Hart High School friends, Bentley is grateful he kept in touch.
“We all were in school together 30 years ago, and it’s very rare that people keep in touch with their childhood friends enough to work with them,” he said. “So our group of filmmaking friends is something special.”