Secrets, everyone has them. The married couple in Art of Deception has a big one. In this thriller from Director Richard Ryan, Joseph Markham and his wife Valentina get caught up in a global conspiracy involving a deadly virus, the cure for the virus, and a microchip. Joseph works for the C.I.A. When he discovers one of the projects he has been working on is actually part of a secret plot of the C.I.A.’s Deputy Director to take over the world, he decides to fight back. The Director has Valentina kidnapped and tries to discredit Joseph in an effort to keep his global domination plan a secret. Little does he know that Joseph and Valentina have a secret of their own that will make it very difficult for the organization to enact their plans.
Art of Deception is an ambitious film that is part Tom Clancy political thriller, part Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and lots of action. Ryan manages to use the concept of secrecy to his advantage. The sets are fairly sparse, using just enough props to let the audience know what the setting is supposed to be. Things are kept inconspicuous, something a secret organization would want. The bad guy’s plot is also pretty straight forward, giving us just enough details to understand the threat they pose. It is in the action scenes where Art of Deception is the strongest. The scenes are tension filled and sharply choreographed. They are not complex but still look really good for a small budget action movie.
The performances of our leads are solid as well. Richard Ryan is pulling double duty by being in front of the camera as Joseph Markahm. He was a believable fighter and held his own in the stunt filled scenes. The relationship between Joseph and wife Valentina also felt like a real loving couple. This connection is helped with the solid performance of Jackie Nova as Valentina. She gets a chance to show off her action skills, and I enjoyed this pairing. I also enjoyed Leon van Wass as Deputy Director Roland Smith. He plays the desperate bad guy to a tee and was fun to watch. Another fun character is the Deputy Director’s sociopath for hire Agent Vaughn, played by Andrew Miller. He was a very formidable and scary character.
The cinematography was sharp. You could see everything going on in the well edited action scenes. There is also a beautifully shot dream sequence that involves Joseph wandering a snow covered field. He is eventually joined by Valentina who is wearing all white. It is a surprisingly surreal moment in an otherwise straight-forward story. It helped give a break from the action and added another layer to the Joseph character. There was also great use of shadows in the opening sequence that helped set the tone of things to come.
There are a few things that I wish would have been handled better with the Joseph character. They set him up as a very intelligent scientist but for as knowledgeable and worldly as his character is, I found it hard to believe he didn’t realize the connection between the three things he had been working on. I also was hoping there would be a better showdown between Joseph and Vaughn than what we got.
Everyone putting their all in both in front and behind the camera helps elevate Art of Deception above other similar films. While there is not much new here, Act of Deception is a fun watch if you enjoy small budget action films.
The new creature feature from Michael Rodriguez is hitting the festival scene. Daisy is about Felix, a veteran soldier turned mechanic who has a unique companion that he brought back from the middle east. Unfortunately, this companion has a taste for human flesh. We watch as the mechanic helps satiate this craving by using the unsuspecting folks passing through town. When two individuals come looking for a missing person, things get complicated for the man who is helping his demonic companion while also dealing with his own inner demons.
Daisy is a bloody, entertaining, and at times disturbing monster film that makes the most of the budget. The design of Daisy is adorably grotesque. I loved the look of the character and how feral, yet emotional, the creature could be. Jamie Krivobok is fantastic as Daisy and I really dug the character, even when Daisy was munching on her victims. Sparkle Soojian shows up at the beginning of the film playing Ginger, a thoroughly dislikable person, and steals the scenes she is in. Felix is played with slimy goodness by Michael Wainwright. You can almost feel sympathy for the trauma he went through. If it wasn’t for the Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre hitchhiker vibe, he could be likable. I did enjoy how over the top scuzzy he played the part. The rest of the cast put in decent performances and they sold the scariness of Daisy well.
I did not expect the subject of PTSD and survivor guilt to show up in a creature feature but it is there in the Felix character. While it does go heavy into these subjects, you can tell it is part of what motivates Felix to do what he does. It was a nice twist to a classic story, giving a layer to our killer besides just someone siccing their animal on people they don’t like. The rural town setting was very fitting to help explain how Felix was able to cover up Daisy’s violent dinners. The practical effects looked great from the blood spurting from Daisy’s victims to the design of Daisy herself. Make-up effects looked amazing on the title character, especially for the head prosthetic. The only thing that I wish had been a bit better designed were the wings, but that is minor. Rodriguez was working on a limited budget and took care to use the money in the right places.
Daisy is a fun indie monster movie that I think fans of the genre will enjoy. The cast is into it and that helps keep the audience into it. While there are some noticeable small budget aesthetics, it makes up for it with the story and characters. If you are a fan of Michael Rodriguez’s other works then you are sure to enjoy this one. Casual indie film watchers will also find a lot to enjoy. Daisy is making a festival run but keep an eye out for when it hits V.O.D.
Driving into the Slamdance 2024 film festival is a new film from director Trygve Luktvasslimo called The Bitcoin Car. Lukas, the son of goat farmers, takes a trip to visit his sister Gloria who has been taking care of the farm since the passing of their parents. When he arrives, he discovers that a Bitcoin “mine” has been built on top of the graves of his parents. All of the residents of the town and surrounding area were given money for the land by the company who built the mine. Gloria is not only morally conflicted for accepting the money, which she used to gold plate her car, but also worries that the Bitcoin “mine” is having a dangerous effect on the people, animals, and land around it. Meanwhile the owner of the Bitcoin “mine”, Rita, has her own personal reason for creating the mine that has little to do with crypto currency, a fact that only those closest to her know. With the help of her brother, a utility worker, and gospel priest, Gloria sets out on a mission to find out the truth. In between singing numbers, farming, and working on getting her grandma's species of garlic into the scientific book of botany.
The Bitcoin Car is a delightful, upbeat, fever dream that reminded me of an abstract watercolor painting with streaks of gold in it. While the story Trygve Luktvasslimo wrote touches on a variety of subjects including global warming, capitalism, government control, and euthenasia, at its core it is a story about old vs new. Old is represented by Gloria who is into organic everything, keeping with traditions, and a defender of nature. Her protest of the Bitcoin Mine is not just because they built it over her parents grave, but because she also sees the effect it has on her goats and the surrounding fauna. New is represented by the Bitcoin “mine” and her more scientific brother. Sunniva Birkeland Johansen brings a massive amount of positive energy to Gloria. Even when she is upset, it comes off in a positive way. She gets multiple chances to demonstrate her talent as a singer over the course of the story. I particularly enjoyed her song “Gloria”. She has a great connection with Henrik Paus, who plays Gloria’s brother Lukas. Lukas is the more scientific minded of the two, and the more modern. The debates between them feel like authentic discussions that will give the audience food for thought. Rita is the person behind the Bitcoin “mine”. Zoe Winther-Hansen gives Rita more layers than just the big, bad rich person. She brings a sympathetic layer in her performance. She gets her own musical number where she sings with three floating electrons. Her voice brings beauty to a song that is tragic.
The visuals of The Bitcoin Car help give this story its own identity, especially the use of gold. Whenever anyone bursts into song, a golden light manages to shine from behind them and it is very effective. There is a moment when Gloria justifies why she gold-plated her car; it is because it was her most valuable possession. After that we see other characters from town with their own gold plated items. Thanks to the scene with Gloria, it suddenly gives these items more meaning than simply being a cool visual. There are a variety of different languages used by all of the cast; English, Estonian, Latin, Norwegian, and French. It kept conversations unique and the diversity in the language fit the story. There is even a song that involves the difference in dialects.
There are not many films like The Bitcoin Car out there. It does feel a bit random at times with not all the pieces fitting together in a linear narrative which may be a turnoff for some. I loved the imaginative story and the chances they took with it, though I would have liked the ending to be a little less abrupt. If you are looking for something refreshingly different and quirky then this is definitely for you. I would recommend you watch it with someone so you have someone to talk to about it when the credits roll because there is a lot to unpack from the trunk of The Bitcoin Car.
The number of pandemic-themed films has been growing in the indie film scene over the past couple of years, for obvious reasons. While most seem to be zombie-themed or straight graphic horror films, some have taken a different approach. One such film is Happy Birthday from directors Joseph A. Mauro and Ezekiel N. Drews, which takes place two years after a major viral outbreak. We follow the daily routine of John, a man living in a remote cabin in the middle of the woods. He lost his entire family to the virus on his daughter’s birthday. Having never been able to let go of the events of that day, John repeats the same actions of wearing the same clothing, eating the same food and baking the same birthday cake. When another human shows up at his door step, John is forced to face that day and deal with the feelings he has been trying to avoid. But is this stranger a savior or a threat?
Contrary to what you might think, this is not a horror movie. This is a dramatic exploration into dealing with loss, survivor’s guilt, and post traumatic stress. Ezekiel Drews wrote a story that is sure to hit home for many people who lost someone close to them. John is a fairly relatable character whose repeated routine doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility. I could see myself doing something similar if I was in that situation. Ezekiel Drews plays the character of John, and you can feel the weight of the loss on him. There is an extra layer of guilt as John had a major position with the CDC and saw the pandemic coming. It unfortunately falls on the deaf ears of the President, played with wondrous pompousness by veteran actor Dan Davies. When Samael shows up on John’s doorstep, we can see John change and realize he needs to move on. Samael is a great representation of hope, showing John what he has lost. I loved the introduction of the Samael character. Joseph A Mauro plays him with just the right amount of mystery to where you are not quite sure of his intentions.
There is an equal balance of the story taking place between John’s cabin and flashbacks to the events that led him there. The transition is smooth and there is a variation in the colors to help convey when you are watching a past event. There are some beautiful cinematic shots that portrayed the isolation that John has put himself in. Usually, a solitary cabin in the woods is associated with horrors from the outside. In this case, it is the horrors John carries within that he is trying to survive. I also appreciate the scope that Mauro and John were able to convey while working on a limited budget. Multiple locations, camera angles, and news breaks help create the feeling of a global pandemic.
Happy Birthday is a classic example of how real world events can influence artists. It is a heartbreaking exploration into themes that we have all had to deal with in recent years. That familiarity helps create a connection that elevates this story above just a basic indie drama. I think there is a lot here to appreciate and it is worth a watch for those who enjoy well crafted and dramatic indie films.
Happy Birthday is not out for public viewing yet but you can keep updated by visiting the Lucid Films Ltd website here
There is a new independent action film coming out that combines elements of burlesque, cosplay, and action along with a flare of revenge called Lost Cos. We follow Eni, a dental assistant, who has suffered major childhood trauma and the recent violent death of the person she loved. To escape the harsh realities and her pain, she frequents an underground nightclub where cosplay and burlesque are woven into a safe place for those wishing to express themselves artistically and emotionally. One night Eni begins receiving mysterious DMs that taunt her, while at the same time a club regular who dresses up as “Merman” is found dead. Eni soon realizes she must face the trauma and pain she has been carrying in order to become a force to be reckoned with.
Lost Cos is a visually stunning, surreal, dark humor story that works in comic book elements to tell a tale of loss and revenge. The Cosplay club was an excellent representation of a place where people can either show their true selves or choose to be someone else. I loved all of the cosplay on display. From Roxie the Bartender from Borderlands, to Chappie, to the original designs; all of them looked fantastic. The artistry on display gives Lost Cos its own identity. The club seemed like a natural place for Eni to gravitate to try and escape the memories of her traumatic experiences. There are also some fantastic comic book panel animations done by Adriano Moraes that added more artistic flare, humor, and uniqueness. I also found Siraj Huda’s Rudra and Sha Gupta’s Dalip, the people running the food truck outside the club, to be quite funny. They helped give a breather between the darker scenes.
Eni is played by Evgeniya Railova. Not only is she able to convey the weight she is carrying from her past but she also gets to be a badass. At one point she is wielding whips that are on fire. Eni’s fighting skills felt authentic. The brutal fights Eni that is involved in were well choreographed and shot. Railova got to show a more emotional side to Eni with her scenes with Lia, played by Zoe Vnak. Zoe doesn’t get a lot of screen time but the scenes she has with Railova are touching and you can feel the love between the two. Later in the film, the rather scary character of Viktor shows up, played by Tony Naumovski. Thanks to Naumovski’s performance, Viktor was fun to watch even though he was a bad guy. Adding more humor are our detectives investigating the death of Merman. They are played by Mark McCullough Thomas and Ross Degraw. Their back and forth felt authentic and had me laughing quite a bit. I enjoyed the wide variety of characters although it did make it challenging at times to keep track of them all. They do all eventually connect, but there were a few times I felt removed from Eni and her story.
Lost Cos is not perfect. The narrative is messy, the lighting in some scenes makes it hard to tell what is going on, and some of the editing could have been better. It makes up for these weaknesses with a strong main character and artistic identity that makes it more than just a basic action/revenge story. If you enjoy comic book films and cosplay, then you should check it out.
Looking to take a break from the bleakness of current world events? Need something that will not only make you smile but put you in a good mood? Then there is a movie out on Tubi that I think may be just what you need! Wild Boys is the story of a reclusive woman named Kate who never leaves her house. Her father helps take care of any needs she may have had that require going out to public places. When he passes away, Kate is forced out of her comfort zone to take part in a treasure hunt as a condition of her dad’s will. The hunt takes her into the wilderness where she soon meets two individuals who will end up taking her on a wild adventure that includes traversing the wilderness, secret clues, and a conspiracy theorist government agent. Along the way she discovers a strength in herself she didn’t realize was there.
Wild Boys is a light, funny, and poignant film that reminded me of the absurdist adventure comedies of the late 80s, and I mean that in a good way. Director Morten Forland moves things along at a breezy straight-forward pace. The main theme of growth and discovery of one’s self is definitely present but the importance of friendship, grief, responsibility and politics are also touched on in a positive way. While not all of the jokes and gimmicks made me laugh out loud, they did make me smile. Outside of the wild boys, most of the characters Kate runs into are caricatures we have seen before; from moonshine making rednecks, to the sympathetic sheriff, to the slightly off-his-rocker schoolmate whose feelings towards Kate turn into obsession. The treasure hunt adventure felt like a realistic thing for Kate’s dad to plan. The clues and locations were creative and believable.
Kate is played wonderfully by Kate Frampton Davis. The story hinges on the audience rooting for her, and you will. You feel her growth from the socially awkward recluse who just wants to play video games to the adventurous, strong, and risk taking person she is by the end. We see her push past her comfort zone, motivated by the need to protect and take care of her new friends, the Wild Boys. Kate is an endearing character thanks to Davis’ performance. The Wild Boys are Red, played by Vincent Catalina, and Johndeer, played by Jordan Laemmlen. I loved these two characters. Catalina and Laemmlen play off each other well. These are characters with more depth than I thought they would have. While we are not given their origins, we do get the impression these two may have chosen to live their life out in the wild when they were younger and never left it. You can feel the very strong friendship these two memorable characters have for each other. I loved their interaction with Kate; the difference between the pair and Kate made for some hilarious and heartfelt moments.
Wild Boys is a family friendly, positively charged comedy that has a lot of entertainment value. Some viewers may be turned off by the lack of explanation for where the Wild Boys came from but, as the film shows, the beauty is more in the journey than the destination. Speaking of the destination, the ending of the film did not take as a predictable path as you might think. It was a refreshing resolution that fit the story. One of the many reasons why I think this is worth a watch, especially during the season of celebration of family and friends.
You can learn more about the film by visiting the Wild Boys’ website, https://wildboys.film/
and see the film for yourself on Tubi https://bit.ly/wildboys-tubi.
When It comes to the COVID pandemic, it is very easy to focus on the negative impacts it had on everyone's lives. As time moves on, we are hearing more stories of inspiration that came from adversity. One such story is covered in the new documentary Drive to Sing from Director Bryce Denney. As COVID cases increased at an alarming rate, social distancing and lock downs prevented people from gathering in groups. This made it impossible for choir group singers to do what they loved to do, sing with their group. Not only did this impact them artistically but mentally as well. Through the innovation of a number of individuals and the power of the internet, choir groups found a new way to do what they loved while staying safe, by singing in their cars.
Drive to Sing is a heart warming, inspiring story about parking lot choirs. It showed how one concept can spread like wildfire and evolve. Over the course of the film we see how the different choir groups had separately come up with a similar idea of group members singing in cars but did not have the know-how to do it efficiently. Thanks to the Denneys and others sharing demonstrations of their concept online along with detailed instructions, choirs across America were able to do something they loved safely. Some of the choirs took the ideas and tailored them for their own groups, building off the foundation of creativity laid out by the Denneys. For all the stories we see of a nation divided, it is wonderful to see an example of people coming together over their love of singing. Even better is the demonstration on how everyone was open to different suggestions to improve on the concept, without pride getting in the way of making a great idea even better.
There are interviews with directors and members from all different types of choirs, each one describing what they missed most about performing together for an audience. You can see the light in their eyes when they are able to do what they love thanks to the parking lot choir concept. A number of choir members from various groups share how being able to sing with their group helped them through the tough times and kept their spirits up. We also get to hear many examples of the wonderful voices that make up the choirs. When I heard these songs sung by these talented groups, I understood why they were so driven to get back together. The Denneys eventually take their setup on the road, offering to bring their setup to choir groups who may not have the equipment or the means to get the equipment. This allowed those groups to still practice and perform. Though it soon consumed all their free time, the Denneys never speak negatively about doing the work. You see the love they had to be able to help others, even if it meant traveling to 8 different places over the course of two weeks and still juggling the day job.
Drive To Sing shows how art and technology can make beautiful music together. Innovation through adversity thanks to a shared passion for music. While I feel it runs a little long, it is still an uplifting story that is a perfect watch for the holiday season.
We live in the most documented time in all of human history. Hundreds of thousands of pictures and videos are made every day documenting the ups, downs and in-between of people’s lives. Many times we take for granted or even forget the power those recorded events have. Well, there is a new documentary out that reminds us of the power of a picture. Bancoco is the story of Brad King and his journey to reconnect with the indigenous tribe that he stayed with twenty years ago. During his initial stay he photographed and video recorded many members of the tribe. Now he heads back to the Darien Gap of Panama in the hope of reconnecting with the tribe to share with them his collection of captured memories.
Bancoco is an amazingly heartfelt and moving documentary. Brad King keeps the story focused on the group of people he fell in love with. He shares a little of himself as well, showing how a childhood picture unlocked a memory between him and his friend that sparks an energetic conversation. Later on we see that same energy sparked in the members of the Embera tribe when King shows them pictures of themselves. Instilling the message that no matter what the culture, pictures have power.
Finding the Embera tribe was not an easy feat nor was there a guarantee he would find the actual village he was at two decades ago. We get to see how the journey takes King through security checkpoints, the possibility of being kidnaped, and other challenges, including almost losing all the photos at the beginning of his trip. Never once though do we see King give up or get frustrated during his search; a little scared but not frustrated. Once he does find the Embera Tribe, joy and love just fill the screen and the audience. I never got a feeling of exploitation or negativity during the entire run time. Bancoco is one of the most positive documentaries I have seen in a while.
One of the most touching things about Bancoco is how the villagers react to seeing pictures of themselves from twenty years ago, with most having never seen a picture of themselves until King arrived. A couple of people were embarrassed, some you could tell were trying to search for the moment in their memory, but all of them had a genuine smile on their faces. There is a bittersweet story that unfolds about a daughter of one family that was unexpected. King handles telling this story with care and delicacy. It was a moment that also reinforced the theme of Bancoco. Brad King’s motivation always felt very genuine with nothing played up for the camera, which I very much appreciated and apparently so did the tribe. In a show of appreciation, the Embera people made King a member of the tribe and gave him a name, Bancoco. The meaning of the name is hilarious and sincere.
Bancoco made my eyes misty more than a few times. The feeling of nostalgia hit at the heart and it made me want to look at the many old pictures and videos of my family and friends. In today’s world, we take for granted the pictures we take. This documentary helped me rediscover an appreciation for what a single image can do. If you are feeling down and need a pick-me-up, I suggest you check out Bancoco, not only will it get you to think, but also to reflect. Maybe in twenty years Brad King will make another documentary of him watching his original documentary and see what memories it unlocks for him.
Just in time for horror season comes a new indie psychological horror film from a mother-daughter duo. Uncanny marks the directorial debut of Clara Gabrielle, who co-wrote the film with her mother Marie Laurin. Laurin plays an art therapist named ZouZou who, after experiencing a serious traumatic event, stops practicing as a therapist and chooses to focus on an art career. She moves into a new house with the hope that the change will not only help her creativity but also with handling the trauma that she faced. Little does she know that the house she has moved into has a dark secret. The more she tries to avoid dealing with her grief, the more she gets pulled into that secret. Will she be able to come to terms and move on before her inner turmoil and the house consume her?
On the surface, Uncanny may seem like just a story of a cursed house preying on an emotionally vulnerable woman but underneath the surface there is a lot to unpack. Gabriellle weaves a tale about grief, trauma, beauty ideals, and mental health into fantastical paranormal tapestry. We get glimpses of some of the past residents of the house; each one showing a different type of emotional, social, and mental struggle. Then we see how the spirit in the house helps push them over the edge. It represents either the crutch or the catalyst for its target to “give in” rather than get out. In ZouZou’s case, the crutch is her friendship with a little girl who is part of the house, which helps her avoid having to deal with the traumatic event she suffered. This avoidance strains her attempt to have a relationship, art career, or even get to know her menagerie of neighbors. I never got the feeling that the motivation of the house was malevolent but rather more like a child who wants its friends to stay awhile.
The emotional heart of the film is Marie Laurin. Her performance as ZouZou is moving and heartbreaking. She does an expert job of portraying a person who is unraveling not just because of the house’s influences but also in her refusal to seek help. She seems to ignore her own inner strength. We get to see that strength when she has to deal with a neighbor who continues to randomly show up in her house. We can see her experiences as a therapist immediately kick in and rather than be upset or scared, she remains calm when confronting the young man. The audience sees her ability to deal with others who have mental issues, while struggling to deal with her own.
There is no gore or excessive use of jump scares in Uncanny. Instead, the horror is in the downward spiral of its main character. Through excellent editing and use of lighting, there is always a feeling of uneasiness. As you near the climax of the film, the creepiness factor does increase quite a bit, culminating in a particularly disturbing dinner scene that I loved. Makeup effects, when used, are very effective and look great.
If you are looking for a scare-a-minute type of horror film, Uncanny is not going to be for you. This is multi-layered slow-burn psychological horror that will give many a lot to talk about after the credits start to roll. It is my favorite type of horror film, one that uses the genre to explore real-world issues while not being heavy handed or holding your hand to explain everything. If you are looking for horror that makes you think, this is definitely one to see.
First it was fairy tale horror, then the drug-fueled animal horror and now it appears the next trend in horror will be…nursery rhymes? Director Jason Arber and Uncork’d Entertainment bring us Mary Had a Little Lamb, the first of two nursery rhyme horror films to be released this month. In Mary Had a Little Lamb, Carla, the host of a cold case crime radio show, is faced with possible cancellation due to dwindling numbers. In a desperate attempt to keep her job and the jobs of those who work for her, she sets out with her team to investigate a series of disappearances. The trail leads them to a remote location in the woods where they discover the home of Mary, an elderly woman who lives with her son. Thinking they may have a story that is bigger than the disappearances, Carla decides the team should stay the night. Little do they know that Mary’s “Lamb” is not what they think and soon they find themselves trying to escape the real-life nightmare they have stumbled into.
Mary Had a Little Lamb, is as if A24’s Lamb and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a child. The film has a solid tension-filled opening sequence that lets you know what kind of ride you’re on. Arbor delivers on the creepiness, and the concept puts a nice little twist on your standard backwoods slasher story. It does follow many of the same tropes and it wears its Texas Chainsaw Massacre influences on its sleeve, especially in a particular dinner scene late and at the ending. I didn’t mind these homages because they did not feel forced. Once the group enters Mary’s house, there is a consistently maintained creepy atmosphere. Add to it the excellent lighting and camera work and Mary’s house is a legit scary horror setting.
May Kelly puts in a solid performance as Carla. You feel her desperation and the unfair position she has been put in. Kelly helps you feel some sympathy, along with frustration with the character due to some rash decisions. Thanks to Kelly’s acting, you see her energy change from desperation to obsession with Mary‘s story. Kelly is no stranger to being in movies with an animal theme. She was in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey recently as well as other monster films. This experience helped her sell the terror she faces at the hands of Mary’s “Lamb”. The rest of the cast do well, though most are your standard slasher fodder characters. The stand out performance for me was Christine Ann Nyland. Nyland’s Mary is a sweetly sinister individual who will make your skin crawl while enjoying her delicious tea. There is a reason behind her madness that, while cliche, does bring another layer to what could have been a one note character. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where it was just Carla and Mary. Kelly and Nyland brought real tension to their scenes together.
One of the things that could use improvement was the editing. It could have been tighter to have less confusion and distraction within some of the scenes, and to improve continuity perception. The audio could have also been better. Normally for indie films the audio is too quiet but in this case, the dialog in particular was too prominent and you could tell it was re-recorded in a studio. The overall look of the film is sharp. It does not show its budget and visually it was well done. Especially in the production design of the house, where the attic almost resembles a barn aesthetic.
Mary Had a Little Lamb was far better than expected. At its core it is a basic backwoods slasher film but given the unusual slasher and the character of Mary, it helps it stand out a bit more than most gimmicky horror. I think if you are looking for something unusual to put on your 31 Days of Horror list, you will want to check it out. Mary Had a Little Lamb hits VOD October 3rd.
I have been reviewing films since high school. I love discussing films with those who share my passion for them. I also do video reviews on YouTube and on my podcast.