mother and son

Besetment (2017)

besetment usa-icon

2017, Uncork’d Entertainment/Barbed Wire Films

Director:
Brad Douglas
Producer:
Brad Douglas
Writer:
Brad Douglas
Cinematography:
Chuck Greenwood
Editing:
Greg James

Cast:
Abby Wathen (Amanda Millard)
Marlyn Mason (Mildred Colvin)
Michael Meyer (Billy Colvin)
Max Gutfreund (Brad)
Greg James (Sheriff Joe Palin)
Hannah Barefoot (Deputy Julie Nelson)
Lindsae Klein (Amanda’s Mother)
Sonya Davis (Brittany)
Douglas Rowe (Pastor Ben Hastings)

A young woman’s new job turns into a nightmare in this indie horror film from filmmaker Brad Douglas.

Amanda Millard is a struggling young woman. She has been trying hard to find a job so she can avoid her alcoholic mother, who has the tendency to berate her on a daily basis. When a major opportunity arises eighty miles away, she decides to give it a chance. The journey takes her to work as a position as an assistant at a motel in a very small town.

There, she meets the elderly Mildred Colvin, the owner of the hotel. She accepts the job but when her car dies in the middle of the night, she is startled but saved by Billy, Mildred’s son. After a night of drinking, Amanda passes out and wakes up the next day. However, when Amanda meets Brad, the town’s local chef, she slowly discovers that her new boss may not be exactly whom she seems to be. To make matters worse, after passing out and discovering something very shocking, Amanda soon learns she about to find herself in the biggest fight of her life.

Indie filmmaker Brad Douglas crafted a very disturbing tale of one young woman’s fight for survival that smoothly runs at 74 minutes. The film truly takes a three-act method where the first act involves our heroine, Amanda, having to struggle with her alcoholic mother’s berating and getting the opportunity to get a job. The second act involves the Colvins, a mother and son duo who operate the motel in town, which suspiciously doesn’t seem to have any customers and their involvement with Amanda and the mother’s going to extremes. The third and final act takes quite a page that meshes both what to expect in a horror film with a dash of something seen in a Lifetime movie.

No matter if one will like or dislike that notion, it is the performances of the cast that truly makes the film watchable and make one want more. One can only feel for lead actress Abby Wathen, whose central character of Amanda already endures quite a lot only to have to amp up that endurance when she is held captive by her new boss. The struggles she must go through in a day where people may have Saw or Hostel come to mind thankfully does not go to that level of extreme, but to see how everything is played out in two pivotal flashbacks just show nothing but sympathy for her.

One can perhaps think of the film Misery where the antagonist starts out as sweet but soon has those sinister motives and veteran actress Marlyn Mason truly delivers in the nice elderly lady turned crazed motherly figure of Mildred. Michael Meyer’s Billy brings to the mind the kind of son who doesn’t agree with his mother’s dastardly deeds, but is forced to obey Mommy. And in one flashback, that obedience is taken to a level that may bring to mind the stereotypes of a small town like the one depicted here, but still proves to be very disturbing nonetheless.

Besetment is quite a harrowing yet very disturbing horror film that shows the struggle of one young woman, all driven with great performances, especially from Marlyn Mason as the crazed owner of the hotel. If you like indie horror, add this one to your list.

WFG RATING: B+

Uncork’d Entertainment will premiere this film on VOD platforms on June 6th with a DVD release date of September 5th locked down.

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REVIEW: Pieta (2012)

pieta southkorea-icon

2012, NEW Entertainment

Director:
Kim Ki-Duk
Producer:
Kim Soon-Mo
Writer:
Kim Ki-Duk
Cinematography:
Cho Young-Jik
Editing:
Kim Ki-Duk

Cast:
Cho Min-Soo (Jang Mi-Son)
Lee Jung-Jin (Lee Kang-Do)
Woo Ki-Hong (Hoon-Chul)
Kang Eun-Jin (Myeong-Ja)
Cho Jae-Ryong (Tae-Seung)
Heo Jun-Seok (Suicidal Man)
Kwon Se-In (Machinist)

Director Kim Ki-Duk’s latest is a very brilliant film that becomes a story of redemption, but one that takes tragic turns at every corner.

Kang-Do is an underling for a local owner in a steel mining town. He spends his days going after people who owe debts. If they do not pay back their debts, he cripples them to get their insurance claims to pay back the debts. However, his life is about to change when the mysterious Mi-Son arrives.

Mi-Son claims to be the mother of Kang-Do. At first, Kang-Do refuses to believe Mi-Son. However, as time passes, he becomes convinced that Mi-Son is his mother. Kang-Do actually begins to feel remorse for those he has hurt. However, a dark secret will truly change the lives of Kang-Do and Mi-Son forever.

It is apparent that Kim Ki-Duk is Korea’s answer to Takashi Miike. He delves into both sides of the spectrum, from the extreme The Isle to the calm and collected Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring. His latest film belongs in the middle of the spectrum. Named after Michelangelo’s famous drawing of Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion, the film follows a similar theme, a story of tragedy and redemption.

Cho Min-Soo and Lee Jung-Jin give great performances as Mi-Son and Kang-Do. Kang-Do is the true focus of the story, as he is the one who seeks redemption. Believed to have lived a life without love, Kang-Do has wet dreams and spends his time beating people and crippling them so they can claim their insurance to pay the debts. As for Mi-Son, she is seen as a woman who also yearns for love towards Kang-Do.  However, their relationship does take its share of obstacles, at times quite disturbing.

With the title and its theme, there are some religious images depicted in the film. From a sign that reads “Hallelujah Forever” to Kang-Do overlooking the city where a red-lighted cross can be seen, the film’s religious imagery proves to be both a juxtaposition and a counteraction to some of the disturbing images and the theme of the film.

Pieta is truly a masterpiece from director Kim Ki-Duk. From the religious subtext of its theme to the exciting performances of its lead stars, this is truly a film worth seeing.

WFG RATING: A

DVD/BLU-RAY