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The Burned Over District

USA 2022
produced by
James Coleman, Vincent Coleman, Paul Kudela (executive), Jason Berardi (executive), Michael Del Rossa (executive), Alessandro Korlou (executive), Michael Ciesla (executive), Cade Garrett (executive), Martin Medina (executive) for Coleman Brothers Films, White Lion Studios
directed by James Coleman, Vincent Coleman
starring John Harvey Sheedy, Amy Zubieta, Michael Ciesla, Robert Lindquist, Connie Neer, Sarah Santizo, Caitlyn Stephenson, Jamie Burrows, PJ Ryan, Kaylin Cervini, Tim O'Hearn, Lauren MacDonough, Cryss Marie, Kimber Lee, Eve Hovey, Bill Kennedy, Baird Hageman, Rosalie Van Derlike
written by James Coleman, music by Mike Chibante, special makeup effects & prosthetics by Michael Del Rossa

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Somewhere in rural New York State: Will (John Harvey Sheedy) is trying to come to terms with the death of his wife (Sarah Santizo) in an accident which he caused, but instead he's more and more losing himself - so much so that his sister Katie (Amy Zubieta) comes looking after him ... and has to actually pick him up at the police station, drunk as a skunk. Back at Will's home, Katie is lured out of the house by some noises and walks right into some pagan ritual, with a human sacrifice - who turns out to be none other than her and Will's mother (Connie Neer). Katie makes an escape, but only manage to lure the cultists to Will's house where they are quick to take the two of them captive, to make them part of ever more humiliating rituals which do damage on both their soul and sanity. Problem is, the cultists, who seem to be by and large all the locals, are not just a group of crazy people, but there's actually something sinister going on, much more evil than just a mob gone insane ...

 

Now what immediately strikes one about The Burned Over District, a cross of American gothic and folk horror, is its strong and evocative imagery. And as impressive as its pictures are in themselves, what really makes the film though is that they're not used as an end to their own, let alone smother the story, but really serve as a narrative device, and thus the film wastes very little time on explanations, is at times almost dialogue free, and yet gets its key points across rather effortlessly - and impressively so. And despite its powerful visuals the film still gives its actors enough space to get their characters across and carry the film, to make for a pretty awesome piece of genre cinema.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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