Moondog Media unleashes The Horror on April 1st, no foolin', on digital VHX and limited edition VHS, yep an actual VHS release!, and you should definitely be excited for this indie horror.
Now then, before you get your panties all bunched up thinking this is one slammin' gore-o-rama or another of your stereotypical indie horror types of films, rest assured that first-time helmer Jerry J. White III has crafted a mighty unique and compelling vision that doesn't fit neatly within that indie horror genre and should be approached with an open mind.
If you do approach it with an open mind? Get ready. This one will grab you and it will stay with you.
The film follows two freshly orphaned twins, Malcolm (Raymond Creamer) and Isabell (Callie Ott), who are forced to fight for their survival long after the actual violence has ended. The Horror, which premiered to acclaim at Dances With Films, is in many ways a quieter film than one might be used to within the indie horror film, though it's a film that creeps into your mind and stays bubbling underneath your skin long after the closing credits have rolled.
In what is incredibly unique within the indie horror world, The Horror is a horror film that is actually very much about its characters and Creamer, who also wrote the script, has crafted one of the year's most compelling and unforgettable indie horror characters in Malcolm, a man trying and essentially failing to move on with life after his tragic losses. The brilliance of setting a good majority of the film in a psychiatrist's office inhabited by Isabelle is not immediately obvious, yet as the film unfolds it becomes increasingly obvious how incredibly smooth and brilliant this move is within the context of the story.
The relationship between Isabell and Malcolm is unnerving and jarring and creepy and oddly normal. All of these things are brought convincingly to life by Creamer and Ott, whose performances are emotionally transparent and unnervingly intimate. Ott's Isabell seems as if she's the strong one, though Ott plays Isabell so closed in that it's readily apparent that there's a myriad of thoughts and feeling she's not allowing us to see.
I'm telling you now. Beautiful performances.
I tend to be an old school horror fan. You know the type? It emphasized creepies and crawlies more than gore and skin. It emphasized the reality of horror rather than the fantasy. It new that the truly horrifying things in life are the things that stab us deep inside repeatedly then just sort of giggle within our psyche'.
That's The Horror, a film that spends less time worrying about telling you everything and more time creating characters and an atmosphere that will make your imagination run wild.
It's effective. Really.
White's direction is assured yet decidedly non-showy - he clearly trusts the material here and he sure seems to be working with a cast that he trusts, as well. The result is a film that is more horrifying because it feels incredibly real. At a running time right around 75 minutes or so, The Horror could have possibly gone on for another 10-15 minutes but, in all honesty, I can't really think of a better way to present the material. So, perhaps it's just perfect the way it is.
Tristan Noelle's lensing is intimate and unsettled and mesmerizing, while Brandon K. Verrett's original music beautifully companions the film's emotional waves. For a lower-budgeted indie, The Horror is a film that won't be pulling you in/out of the action with production issues. Instead, you'll just stay immersed in this internalized horror of psychological trauma and heartbreaking and horrifying disintegration.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic