Directed and written by Armand Petri
Starring Madeleine Heil, Garrett Morosky,Andres Mejia Vallejo,
Armand Petri, Eric Saleh, Hailey Chown
The story follows a group of friends reuniting to help make the student film of one, Christian after his release from drug rehab, to ensure his graduation thus keeping him on the straight and narrow path of success. The crew set about making a horror film as the first ever to get permission to film in the antique victorian home of the Goodwin Witches of local lore. The Goodwin women disappeared years ago after many in the local community began speaking in hushed whispers of the them being involved in the black arts. And as you may expect it doesn't take long before the production runs into some snags, bloody ones at that!
I'm somewhat torn on this film. One on hand I appreciate many things about it on a whole. The story is well crafted, and doesn't pander to easy tricks of the trade like gratuitous nudity, language or extreme violence. It relies on the strength of the story and performances of the actors to compel the story forward and involve the viewers. The setting is visually stunning, and helps pull the pieces together making everything feel very cohesive, and adding a level of believability to the production. The performances by the crew on as a whole work but I definitely thought that Armand Petri was a standout amongst the cast. He just came across a bit more organic and in the moment and honestly I would have liked to have seen him take on a larger role in the film. I really enjoyed the practical fx in the film and was impressed with the choices made in the look of the witches. Their appearance adds a layer to the film in both style and substance, adding a bit of visual variety. The flash back section of the film was one of my favorite segments, fleshing out the back story and giving the viewer reason to empathize with the witches. In fact i thought it was so strongly done I would have liked to have seen more done with that segment.
On the other hand it had some areas that I didn't feel quite as much the biggest of which for me was the pacing of the film. Its just not balanced to me. There are so many great visual cues around in the film that could be played with to increase the tension build up, and add more jump scare which are always fun. I wasn't a big fan of the digital effects used either. They only really come into play a couple of times but they tend to be in big moments, which for me mentally pulled me out of the moment and back into my living room.
So all in all the film has got some real strengths and I do believe it will find a good audience especially with family horror fans looking for cleaner horror to share with younger fans. It shows some real promise for director/writer/actor Armand Petri, and I will definitely be looking for more from him in the future.
Check it out tonight for yourself and tell us what you think! Reel Nightmare is available on various VOD platforms including Amazon (and is included in Amazon Pime memberships) as well as available for purchase on DVD or BluRay.