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Anthem of a Teenage Prophet

Canada 2018
produced by
Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Michel Shane (executive), Darren Benning (executive), Sharon Young (executive) for Sepia Films, Honalee Entertainment
directed by Robin Hays
starring Cameron Monaghan, Grayson Gabriel, Peyton List, Juliette Lewis, Aaron Pearl, Richard de Klerk, Alex MacNicoll, Spencer List, Judah Hunter, Alex McKenna, Patti Allan, Beau Daniels, Sebastian Greaves, Joshua Close, Jasmine Sky Sarin, Danny Woodburn, Nels Lennarson, Raj Lal, Malcolm Craig, Jaden Rain, Jody Hays, Michael Hays
written by Elisha Matic, Andy Matic, Joshua Close, based on the novel by Joanne Proulx, music by Andrew Harris

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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One day, at a drug-filled party, teenaged Luke (Cameron Monaghan) foresees his best friend Stan's (Alex MacNicoll) death by accident, which leaves him more than a little disturbed - and much more so when Stan actually dies exactly like he predicted it. Somehow, that story makes it even onto TV, which first makes Luke a bit of a local celebrity against his will, but soon people start to think he's a freak. Then Luke foresees the death of somebody else, an elderly neighbour (Beau Daniels), and he really tries anything in his power to avert the situation under which that man is predicted to die - but ultimately dies. This pushes Luke over the edge a bit, he starts ditching school on a regular basis, gets heavily into weed and drinking, and while his parents (Juliette Lewis, Aaron Pearl) start to worry, there's really little they can do, as Luke's at an age where he's beyond the reach of his parents. The only people who he can really relate to are his other best friend Fang (Grayson Gabriel) and Stan's girlfriend Faith (Peyton List) - but then Fang goes off the deep end more and more as his drug addiction becomes self destructive, and his relationship turns from first slightly awkward to then almost romantic - until he feels pushed away by her, thinking she only wants him as a substitute for Stan. Luke only finds reason in life again when he has a premonition of Fang dying, and he would never forgive himself if he wouldn't try anything in his power to prevent that ...

 

Given the basic story of Anthem of a Teenage Prophet, this could have been an immensely cheesy and clichéed movieb that tries to drive home its message with a sledgehammer - but this film is the opposite, as it doesn't try to deliver a "message" at all but just gives its story and characters time to unfold, thanks to a deliberately slot pace, an intentional avoidance of spectacle, and characters that are actually relatable and act believable, that have their good and bad sides, and that are wrong as often as they are right - just like in real life. And of course, a strong ensemble cast also helps to make this a very watchable movie!

 

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Tales to Chill
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