17 August 2019 | breakdownthatfilm-blogspot-com
Not exactly what it presents itself to be, in a good way
Horror films that revolve around spiritual entities can be a gamble sometimes. Presentation is everything when it comes to the viewer's perception of the beast in question. However, it also depends on where these apparitions fall in line with the narrative being told. Creatures like these exist in all sorts of cultures and have been depicted in a number of ways. The frustrating part is that many people don't know whether they are foreshadowing upcoming good or bad events. This seems to be the struggle for this one family who is going through a tough time. It's hard to know what's really the cause of these mysterious events, but religion is a path people take in order to try and make a justification for said moments. Which is exactly how this story begins.
The premise is about the Grady family, made up of Roy (Lew Temple), a widower, Sprout (Nicole Moorea Sherman) and Percy (Tate Birchmore) who recently lost another family member Magda (Daniela Leon). Together they move to a remote location where they strive to bond with one another and learn to let go of the past, holding true to their beliefs in Greek mythology. Soon after though, Sprout and Roy begin having strange dreams at night, being visited by ghostly figures. The script and direction was headed by Andres Rovira, in his first feature length film. With that said, this a very strong first outing of his. Being a screenwriter and director at the same time is not always the easiest of tasks to handle. What works best in the screenplay for this film is it's disturbing coming of age plot. Viewers follow Sprout on a journey of self-discovery and growth, not all of which is pleasant.
There are certain rules she is required to abide by, like giving an hour of silence to the gods or not mingling with the opposite gender. Such as in the case for the local park ranger Stella Woodhouse (Danielle Harris) and her son Max (Max Page). Stella enjoys visiting Roy, while Roy wants Max to befriend Percy. Yet, Stella thinks Max should get to know Sprout since they have something in common. Both their parents' partners passed away. Things only get more ominous the more Sprout begins to grow out of her comfort zone. Performance wise, the actors all do a great job. Nicole Moorea Sherman as the main lead is very convincing and its entertaining to see her character develop. Sherman was also in The Queen's Corgi (2019), but this really should be her breakout acting role. Her chemistry with the other actors is well matched too.
Tate Birchmore who has also been in other movies like Peppermint (2018) is believable in his role as a little brother. The only thing that doesn't make sense is his affinity for covering his hands. Whether it be plastic wrap or oven mitts, his hands are covered. Not sure what that's all about. Lew Temple as Roy Grady certainly does his best to be a caring father as well as showing his massive flaws. His interest in pagan religion however, would have been nice to get more background on. Having played in other movies like The Devil's Rejects (2005), Unstoppable (2010) and The Lone Ranger (2013), Temple is competent in his role. The same could be said for Danielle Harris who rose to fame from her days in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989). Harris as Stella Woodhouse plays her roll with sass and is somewhat of a sister figure to that of Sprout.
The visuals to this feature are a decent spectacle too. Being that the horror elements to this feature are more ghostly and psychological, there's very little blood spilled and that's okay. Thankfully there are no jump scares. The camerawork handled by Madeline Kate Kann was well done too. Seeing that this is also her first feature length film, this is great. There are several shots from a bird's eye view and when it comes to the nightmarish creatures, Kann uses the camera to keep what viewers want to see right out of focus to keep their attention. Smart. However, there is a specific location that felt rather random. Almost like there was more to it. A scene being left out maybe? Lastly, the musical score composed by Diego Rojas is fair for what was heard. Much of his music consists of light piano with an occasional string draw. It's simple and that's all that was really needed.
Usually, coming of age films are dramas. This one though. combines family drama with a much darker twist. While there are occasional areas that could have used more explanation, the story of a family struggling to seek emotional closure is definitely an intriguing watch. The cast of actors work well, the music is elementary but effective, and the visuals are competently crafted.