A mother must discover why her daughter and she are seeing strange things in this psychological supernatural thriller.
After the death of her husband, a soldier killed in Afghanistan, Liz Charles and her daughter Audrey have left San Diego for a small town. They are greeted by Liz’s college friend Sandra, who sold Liz the house. Audrey, unhappy with the move, goes to a Catholic school. At first, Liz feels a bit at ease. That is, until something very strange happens to Audrey when she meets Caleb, a young boy at school who is like her. When Liz sees Caleb and Audrey, Caleb accidentally kicks a ball in the boiler room and Liz finds herself confronted by the hulking mute janitor.
When Liz is confronted by the school authorities, she slowly discovers something isn’t right. She learns Caleb is not a student at the school and the only janitor at the school is not the one she saw in the boiler room. One night, she looks outside and sees Sister Beatrice, who Audrey has mentioned seeing a few times. When Liz tells the school principal, she surprises Liz by telling her Sister Beatrice had died over 50 years ago. With the help of local priest Father Felix, Liz must soon learn why Beatrice is haunting both she and Audrey and discover the secret that has plagued this mother and daughter.
The marketing for the film makes the film look like a straight out religious horror film. However, what it actually is is a smart supernatural/psychological thriller about a mother with PTSD from reeling from her husband’s death and her move to a new town with her teen daughter. Screenwriter Todd Downing had written this film with friend and lead star Angela DiMarco in mind. DiMarco’s husband David S. Hogan does a good job helming the vision and showcasing the scares and drama aspects of the film.
DiMarco does a great job as Liz, a woman who tries to move on from her husband’s passing and finds it extremely hard on numerous occasions. She has constant nightmares involving seeing her late husband. However, in an interesting twist, she soon discovers there is a reason why her husband is constantly there for her. Sanae Loutsis is also great as Audrey, Liz’s rebellious daughter who becomes a major key in the events that transpire. It is she who mentions seeing Caleb and Sister Beatrice, who are the key players in the supernatural sense as they are part of a very crazy mystery that becomes the plot of the film as nightmares are amped up.
Horror veteran Bill Oberst Jr. is excited as Father Felix, the priest who becomes a mentor to Liz as she seeks answers. In a funny scene, Felix sees himself as a “spiritual kung fu master”. Gin Hammond is very haunting as the evil Sister Beatrice while Ray Tagavilla is great in the dream sequences and a flashback that is funny as he tells a joke as Jason, Liz’s late husband. Lucas Otkay makes the most of his screen time as Caleb, Audrey’s new “friend” who is not who he seems to be.
The Parish is not exactly a horror movie as there is no body count, but more of a supernatural psychological thriller that churns out some nice intricate twists. Which in turn, brings out great performances by Angela DiMarco, Sanae Loutsis, and Bill Oberst Jr. especially.
WFG RATING: B+
Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Mighty Tripod Productions film in association with Cyfuno Ventures. Director: David S. Hogan. Producers: Todd Downing and David S. Hogan. Writer: Todd Downing. Cinematography: Domenic Barbero. Editing: Tony Tibbetts.
Cast: Angela DiMarco, Sanae Loutsis, Bill Oberst Jr., Sara Coates, Gin Hammond, Lucas Otkay, Jonathan Holbrook, Amber Wolfe, Ray Tagavilla, Ryan Sanders, Obadiah Freeman.