I’m torn on how I feel about this movie. I think it’s got a lot going for it — an interesting story, a pretty terrifying antagonist, and familial drama as a backdrop. But the pieces don’t all fit quite right and it frequently feels like there’s more focus on being a dark and mysterious piece of art than there is on telling a scary story. I don’t like films that are artsy for the sake of being artsy (though I’ll admit that may just be personal preference).
And some of the artsy effects work here. The audio distortion and shaky camera effects combined with the weird lighting effects do wonders for heightening the tension and the feeling of heart-pounding dread that really good horror movies instill in you. The frequent cut scenes combined with the black-and-white flashes of imagery make Martin’s paranoia almost a palpable feeling — I caught myself checking the locks on my door more than once while watching.
But the shaky camera doesn’t always make sense and its use is inconsistent. This is most notable (and most out-of-place) in the final scene. (Minor spoilers ahead) That jump scare at the end feels cheap and unnecessary — and the lead up to it is so obvious that I didn’t even flinch. And I jump at almost everything. Overall though, it’s a decent addition to the genre and deserves at least three out of five.
The dialogue isn’t always great, but part of that is believable given the scenario at hand. Awkward family matters are awkward, awkward family matters in the middle of the woods are even more awkward, and awkward family matters in the middle of the woods WITH SOME SCARY AS HELL MURDEROUS CREATURE are probably the most awkward of all. I guess I’m saying that the dialogue isn’t perfect, but I don’t know that I could have done any better.
Luckily, (my hopefully soon-to-be new best friend) Lauren Ashley Carter is a master at communicating without saying a word, and she has some great expressions as Lyla in this one.
As for the rest of the cast? My first thought about Brian Morvant as Martin was that he was crazy good in this — then I cracked myself up about my unintended pun and had to share it with you as well. And I didn’t know Larry Fessenden’s name until last night but apparently I like him a lot too.
Another name I didn’t know until this week? Mickey Keating, the writer and director of this movie (as well as at least one other that I’ll be watching soon). I’m pretty impressed, and if Google’s OneBox is correct about his age I’m only a little mad at myself for not having done something awesome already. But more than that, I’m motivated to keep pushing forward with some of the things I’ve been working on. And maybe someday someone will write a blog post about something I’ve done! (Squad goals?)
This movie got me curious about a lot of little semi-related things as well (and possible conversation starters with LAC!)…like if millions of people watch your movie on Netflix, do you get anything (like royalties) for that or just the street cred? And is it hard to cry on cue (and particularly on camera)? And is there ever really alcohol in that flask?
Tune in tomorrow for more random questions I’d like to ask of movie stars if I ever get the chance…oh yeah, and probably another movie review as well.
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