31 Days Of Horror: “Cold Moon”

 

 
Overview
 

Title: Cold Moon
 
Director:
 
Writer:
 
Actors: , , , , ,
 
Genre: ,
 
Rating:
 
Runtime:
 
Reviewed By:
 
Direction
6.0


 
Acting
5.0


 
Plot
5.0


 
Execution
5.0


 
Total Score
5.3


User Rating
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Posted October 18, 2017 by

 
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I may just be going soft in my old age, but after reading a lot of bad reviews for this movie, I settled in and got ready to tear it apart. Instead, it ended up holding my interest (for the most part) and turned out to be pretty good for an independent horror movie. “Cold Moon” is far from perfect — a script that could have used some tightening it’s most glaring issue — but when you get relatively unknown actors, sprinkle in some familiar faces, and kill some people in brutal ways, it turns out I will, at the very least, not get the urge to turn your movie off.

It’s the end of 1989 and the Larkin family is about to lose their estate and their blueberry farm if they don’t turn a profit soon and start paying off their debts to the bank. While it is all hands on deck at the farm, the youngest child, Margaret (Sara Catherine Bellamy), goes missing and eventually her body surfaces in the river below the family’s bridge. Her grandmother, Evelyn (Candy Clark), suspects her murder was committed by Nathan Redfield (Josh Stewart) — the banker who took over his father’s business and is also the one breathing down the necks of the Larkins for their money. With no proof, local sheriff Ted Hale (Frank Whaley) cannot act on any of Evelyn’s suspicions, yet it doesn’t help his credibility that his daughter Belinda (Rachele Brooke Smith) is a caretaker and nanny of sorts for the Redfield family and actually lives in their house with them. Someone killed Margaret. Someone has to pay. 

There are multiple small stories taking place in this film that all get fleshed out and addressed, but it may have helped if they narrowed their vision down and really focused on perfecting one story line. They let the audience know who killed Margaret pretty early on (it was Redfield, though I don’t know how the Grandma decided that other than a fever dream she had telling her so) and then the rest of the film seems to shift focus to him and what he’s dealing with, what his motives were, and then trying not to get killed by Margaret’s spirit which seems to want revenge. Like I mentioned, if they would have just tightened things up when it came to the script, this film could have ranked pretty high up their on good horror films because what they were able to accomplish with a small budget was actually quite impressive.

There is one major thing I take issue with when it comes to this movie and it has to do with borderline false advertising. Tommy Wiseau gets billing on this movie and he’s barely in the thing. In fact, I’m not sure why they got him at all since his character is simply a background one that dances around with a snake in the middle of what can only be described as a “town fair”. The same goes for Christopher Lloyd. He is in the film for a total of ten minutes and just plays a doddering old man that apparently likes hitting on high schooler Belinda (although, to be fair, the actress who plays Belinda is clearly in her 30’s). I was afraid it was going to be much of the same for Frank Whaley since he’s not in the first third of the film. I assumed maybe his character just drove by in a car, or perhaps I missed him in that earlier mentioned street fair. Fortunately he was actually in the movie so they didn’t mislead with his casting.

Another thing is they advertise this film as being written by Michael McDowell (Beetlejuice, Thinner, The Nightmare Before Christmas) when in actuality he wrote the book from which they adapted into a film. He didn’t write the script and, as far as I can tell, didn’t have anything to do with the film. In fact, if I was Griff Furst (who not only wrote but also directed this movie) I would be quite annoyed they advertised it that way. It’s a shame that they felt they had to be dishonest with the advertising of this movie seeing as how the film would could have stood on its own merits. Instead, it’s going to annoy a lot of people when they figure out what’s really going on and that the reason they watched the film in the first place may not really be a part of it (I will admit, I initially decided to watch this movie for Tommy Wiseau).

Despite the dishonest advertising, the script seeming weak in places, and the fact that they thought I wouldn’t notice Belinda is clearly not in high school, “Cold Moon” is a decent independent horror film. I’ve seen much worse with bigger budgets. What they were able to do, for the most part, was cut down on the “what the hell” scenes. The scenes that are in almost every commercial horror movie that doesn’t make sense and almost takes you out of the movie completely. I could have done without Grandma Evelyn screaming so much; I will say that. I was impressed at the tonal shift of the movie, however, going from a “whodunnit” to more of a psychological thriller. It was an unexpected turn that I was pleasantly surprised by.

Do yourself a favor and watch this movie knowing it’s an independent flick, knowing that the writer of Beetlejuice didn’t actually write the script, that Tommy Wiseau isn’t really in the movie, and that Christopher Lloyd is far removed from his Doc Brown character. If you can go into it with that mindset, you might actually quite enjoy what “Cold Moon” has to offer.


DavidRyanM

 


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