Directed By Shane Ryan
Written By Shane Ryan
Starring Katie Marsh, Demi Baumann,
Teona Dolnikova, Alex Damiano,
Running Time 90 minutes
Where does one even start with a film such as this? I guess the first business at hand is this is not the typical horror film, although it is horrific at points in its own way. This is not a "for fun" film, you wont be popping up some corn and plopping down in your favorite chair and settling in for a good time. Instead you will be drawn into a strange dreamy harsh experience, that will captivate and move you, sometimes in ways you may not like. And one more word to the wise this is not a film that impressionable children need to be around, I was warned and appreciated the heads up once I watched so I extend the same to you.
Shane Ryan's film is loosely based on an actual murder case, involving the death of 9 year old Elizabeth Olten, at the hands of her neighbor (also a child of 15 when she murdered Elizabeth) Alyssa Bustamante. That being said this film is not the typical "based on" movie, it doesn't try to follow the the "facts" of the crime per se, it includes a few points but the film isn't a direct interpretation of the crime itself, more of a slice of life look at the society that may have helped create the situation internally that led to the act.
The film follows Bustamante and "The Sidekick", as they torment her little brother, video tape themselves in various angry teen-aged moments, including scenes of self mutilation in the form of "cutting". However they are not the only characters we watch. There are a several other key players including "The Angst" and "The Performer". It is at times almost difficult to watch but yet stunningly beautiful all at once. It is a film filled with a sad stark reality of mental illness, cruelty, bulimia, isolation, despair, rape and murder. There are moments when the reality of the film is so gripping its hard not to turn away. on occasion I felt almost as though I was peeking through someones window watching their pained lives unfold, which is a credit to both the acting and the directing of this film.
Please do not get me wrong, I think this is a BRILLIANT film. It does what it is meant to, it makes you think, it creates a conversation, and it most definitely stays with you. Shane Ryan creates a beautifully haunting film. The cinematography is stunning, Shane Ryan finds a sad strange beauty in a very morose macabre subject. Its dreamy, and ethereal, in a nightmare sort of way. The score is absolutely amazing, and lends itself to the very strong mood to the film. Whatever budget Mr. Ryan had he used extremely well, as the film looks and feels much more produced than I am sure the budget would suggest.
This is a film that will haunt you with its realism, if you feel nothing while watching this then someone needs to call 911 because you are dead inside. I highly recommend this film if you are looking for something outside the normal horror genre to watch, or if you are a fan of "arthouse" films. It truly is a work of ART, a film of macabre beauty, hats off to you Shane Ryan! For a second review on this film check out what our sister site has to say by pressing the Button below.