You'll have an eye-poppin' good time with the retro-vibed and frequently funny Old Mrs. Jenkins, a six-minute indie horror collaborative co-written and directed by Taryn Hough and Thomas Norman and the latest film from Hough, whose award-winning short doc The Last Doll Lady continues its way through the indie fest circuit.
Old Mrs. Jenkins is back in familiar territory for Hough, who also co-stars as the more trembly, jittery half of a happily married couple alongside a horror-sharing hubby (Bill Rogers). When hubby tauntingly whispers out "Let me tell you a scary story..." amidst a lights knocked out thunderstorm and the angry pitter patters of rain pouring down over their otherwise seemingly peaceful domestic dwelling, we all know that something ain't gonna' be right by the time this story is done.
Old Mrs. Jenkins is patterned after old school campy horror from the 80's, tales that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up precisely because it was grounded firmly in those little fears that always exist in the back of your mind.
I mean, seriously. Is there anyone who hasn't wondered what's around the corner when the lights go out, the candles are on, and the only light flickers from the fading sparks of a fireplace?
Give me a second. I think I just saw something move.
Anyway, both Hough and Norman have cut their teeth in the low-budget indie horror scene and they clearly understand how to make budget constraints work to their advantage. Old Mrs. Jenkins is a little bit chilling, a whole lotta thrilling, more than a little funny, and a plain ole' good time.
Hough has this natural look about her that says "I could be normal, but I'm probably not." It works perfectly here as the slightly twitchy, amusing bewildered wife of Bill Rogers, whose face you can practically picture peering out over a fog-immersed campfire telling tall tales against the moonlight.
In other words, Hough and Rogers are terrific together.
Then, there's Old Mrs. Jenkins herself, played with devilish delight by Jaclyn Carmichael, who wears this grin on her face that says she might be baking you cookies or she might've just eaten your baby.
One or the other. One never knows.
Old Mrs. Jenkins is a good ole' time, retro scares brought vividly to life and likely made better because of the film's modest budget and the ensemble cast's awareness of just how to bring this story to life. The recently completed film is just getting started on the film festival circuit, but you'll definitely want to watch for it at a festival near you.
Now then...let me tell you a story...
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic