Saturday, 24 January 2015

Indie Horror: I Fall Down (2013)

I Fall Down (2013)
Director: Christopher White
Starring: Emma Houghton, Tom Antoni, and Tom Beddow
Running Time: 82 min

 I should really watch more of these independent horror movies and going forward, I'm going to try and review at least one a month.  This is film is from Edmonton and is currently hitting the festival circuit.

  A woman sneaks past some abortion activists and gets into the clinic.  When she sees the doctor, he tells her that she is too late and that he cannot legally abort the child.  She begs the doctor and he eventually agrees to perform the abortion after hours.  She comes back later in the night and he removes the fetus from her womb.  She thanks him and leaves but before the doctor can throw out the fetus, it makes some noise and the doctor has second thoughts about what he has done.
  A few years later, the doctor is gunned down behind the abortion clinic and his house goes up for sale.  Months go by but nobody wants to have anything to do with the doctors house, except for the parents of a little girl named Annessa, whose dad is on the way to the top in the business world and thinks that the house is a steal.  While doing the walk through, the realtor and Annessa's family are surprised to find a child's room furnished with the name Charlie painted on the floor.  The realtor didn't think the doctor had any children but it doesn't matter because Annessa's father is buying the house. Ha-zah!
  A few months/years go by and Annessa's dad is not doing so hot.  He's on the verge of getting fired, he's drinking, and his wife wants to leave him.  This sounds like an old country song.  Worst of all, he may be molesting little Annessa when he tucks her in at night.
  More years go by and it's now only drunk old dad, out of work and looking to get his loans extended and Annessa, who is in school with a bunch of shitty kids who hate her, except for one guy in her class that likes her, kinda of.  Anyway, her life's miserable and while wandering out behind her house she finds a run down, cobbled together shack and a really creepy dude who lives in it.  He calls himself Charlie and Annessa realizes that he must be the boy for the house.  Although he looks monstrous, Charlie is very gentle with Annessa and wants to run away with her from their shitty lives.  Will the friendship between Charlie & Annessa blossom and find a way to save them both or will this friendship turn into a nightmare that they will lead down a darker path?

  I liked this, it reminded me of a modern "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and to some degrees "Frankenstein".  The film has a lot of heart and Tom Antoni's portrayal of the character, Charlie is very touching at times.  It's not a romantic relationship that brings him and Emma Houghton, who plays Annessa together but a need for love and acceptance that is unconditional.  These are two misfits who have been dealt a crappy hand and when they find each other, it finally gives them some hope.  I think writer/director Christopher White does a very good job putting these emotions across on film.
  Also, I like the look of the film, it's shot beautifully on Super 16mm Black & White and it gives the picture a Lynchesque look to it, which is reminiscent to "Eraserhead at times.

  I think this is a great first film, the only thing I'd be more careful with is time (months/years/days) changes at the beginning.  There are a number of years that happen quickly at the beginning of the film and it's a little hard to follow the time line but once the film focuses on teenage Annessa, its full steam ahead.
  Also, I would have like to see a conclusion or confrontation about Annessa's child abuse issues.  It seems to slip into the background or is forgotten as the film moves ahead.  If this is one of the reasons that Annessa is the way she is, then it should have been addressed by the end of the film.

 Overall, this is a great first time feature by Christopher White and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for this young director.  This a very moving modern Gothic story, it has some scenes that people will find disturbing and the film has a lot of heart.  If you get a chance, this is good film to check out.

Willl be playing at  the Censured in Canada Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario on Sunday, January 25th at 4:00 pm in the CineCycle Underground Cinema (129 Spadina Ave)


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