Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Jerry J. White III
Cast: Raymond Creamer, Callie Ott, Schell M. Peterson
Jerry J. White III’s latest, The Horror isn’t your run-of-the-mill genre installment. In fact, it comes very close to not even qualifying as a horror film. But, it does boast some disconcerting moments, and there is an engaging story here. It’s going to draw viewers in like moths to fluorescents and the performances are going to have you smiling in relief and enjoyment. It’s a damn solid film that deserves a lot more attention than it’s been pulling down.
What immediately struck me about The Horror was the honesty of it all. The organic nature. The relatability. The picture introduces very real people. With real things to say. We’re talking meaningful shit, not just nonsense, or filler for the flick’s runtime. No, we get plausible dialogue from four radically different personalities who jive as one because they’re all open to listening and learning. It’s a really, really charming quality that wins big points right out of the gate for me. There is literally not one single cliché abused in the movie. Bra-friggin-vo!
What’s interesting is that half of the picture isn’t even horror. It’s a confessional, as Isabell Rademacher spills her guts to her shrink, contemplating and weighing everything that’s happened in her life. These scenes pull from the taut sequences, but they’re every bit as compelling because we the viewer feel as though we’re getting a look through a hole in the wall at an intimate exchange of dialogue. It’s another atypical aspect of filmmaking, and it’s working for me.
One of the aspects that you’ve got to appreciate about the film are the assortment of scenic shots. We get more than a single wide, showcasing lush and thriving foliage while inserting opposing but equally breathtaking shots of white upon white, broad shots of deep and heavy snowfall. We’re not talking light drops, we’re talking a full on stick. These images look beautiful and they give off the idea that the cast and crew likely respected their work surroundings, chilly or not.
There’s no point in axing the twist for you, though I will say this, if you’ve been paying attention to the shrink sessions, you’ve likely caught a clue that will certainly lead you down the appropriate path. It’s not a spin that will shock you, but it has an effect, most certainly.
If you’re on the hunt for an action packed, constantly bloody and ultra-violent film, you’re going to want to look elsewhere. The truth of the matter is The Horror is extremely light on violence, or blood, or… well, any of the hollow visual goods that shallow or younger genre viewers tend to look out for. There are no shiny, sparkling vampires here. No conflicted werewolves. No vengeful serial killer in a mask. None of the things you’d expect from another indie chiller are present here. And that’s what makes The Horror such a special flick.
There’s real substance here, and everyone shines. If you pass on this one, you pass on something that breaks the mold and stimulates the mind. On a deep level. Not a miniscule attention span level. Watch it, no matter what you do.