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Yogurt, gore and a DIY cremation collide in inarticulate 'Uncle John'

John Ashton plays the titular "Uncle John," a rural Wisconsin carpenter who inexplicably drives Dutch Miller (Laurent Soucie) to his death and promptly covers it up with a DIY cremation. Distraught by Dutch's disappearance, his brother, Danny (Ronnie Gene Blevins), is out for blood.

Ben (Alex Moffat), a nephew whom John reared from age 10, now lives a couple of hours away in Chicago and works at a hipster advertising agency. He's instantly smitten with the newly arrived-from-New-York colleague, Kate (Jenna Lyng), with whom he collaborates on a yogurt campaign. They begin a tentative courtship.

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The parallel narratives of the uncle and the nephew intersect only briefly, when Kate and Ben make an impromptu visit. Otherwise, the narratives almost resist comparison and contrast, as Ben's story proves trivial and distracting at every turn. The vernal friends with benefits remain clueless to the thriller unfolding elsewhere.

Perhaps the vapid existence of millennials is precisely the point that co-writers Erik Crary and Steven Piet (who also directs) are driving at, but the film itself proves inarticulate and unsubstantial. The two mostly unrelated stories culminate in a climactic crosscutting of sex and violence that borders on farcical.

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"Uncle John"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 54 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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