Director: Jim Mickle
Writer: Nick Damici & Jim Mickle
Cinematography: Ryan Samul
by Jon Cvack
Jim Mickle is one of my favorite filmmakers to have discovered during the last few years, offering yet another phenomenal horror film that you would never assume is low budget, which is a visually incredible and highly realistic story about a family who’re a few days out from a traditional cannibalistic dinner, when their mother gets killed coming home from the grocery store. Unfortunately, in the age of trailers and synopsis spoilers you know that the meal is going to be humans. Not knowing this fact would have made it an even better movie, leaving me wondering if these types of twists will ever work again.
Mickle’s recruits his usual gang of players, with Mickle’s first collaborator Nick Damici playing Sheriff Meeks. I really want to know how him and Mickle started working together since they also co-wrote the screenplay. They seem like two totally different people - one from the middle class suburbs who went to a great college, and Damici looking like he hails from the streets of New York; a decade shy of a successful 90s action movie career. The father, Frank Park (Bill Sage), is absolutely terrifying, with an intense and commanding presence in each and every scene. Wyatt Russell plays Deputy Anders and is becoming one of my new favorite actors, even though I’ve only seen him in Mickle’s work (though he is in Linklater’s upcoming Dazed and Confused sequel Everybody Wants Some).
From the trivia you discover that the majority of the film was shot indoors, in the kitchen specifically. You'd never think it as the movie feels so much larger than the low budget demanded. Mickle is a master of composition, transcending the often boring and redundant formulas of horror films and telling similar genre stories with the quality of art film. I can’t wait to see what else this guy makes after checking out his recent expansion beyond horror with Cold in July (2014; one of the most underrated films of the past decade) and seeing his first micro budget film, Mulberry Street (2006), that leaves you gaping with how well made it is for only a $60k budget. He’s one of the most exciting directors to watch and I anticipate he’ll create an absolutely amazing and transformative film some time in the next decade. I just hope he returns to his horror roots between then and now, because I have a feeling he has the ability to the make the next Shining, Exorcist, or Rosemary’s Baby, especially as the art-horror subgenre is starting to thrive with films like It Follows and The Witch. I can't even imagine what he'd be capable of making given a larger budget. He’s already doing something new to the genre that I’ve never seen.
BELOW: Going above and beyond the flat and one-dimensional performances of most horror films, Mickle demonstrates the kind of performances he can get out of his talent
Thoughts on films, old and new
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