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The Crickets Dance

USA 2020
produced by
Christiana Cross, Veronica Robledo, Alex Hernandez (executive), Buck Meeks (executive) for V Awaken Production
directed by Veronica Robledo
starring Kristen Renton, Maurice Johnson, KateLynn E. Newberry, Jamie Butler, Bill Oberst jr, William Mark McCullough, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Bobbie Eakes, Ashley Robillard, Darius L. Francis, Randall Franks, Virgil Moore, Anthony Paderewski, Elizabeth Noelle Japhet, Todd Maynor, John J. O'Neill jr, Megan Ashley Whited, Kevin Mikal Curry, Marquies Wilson, Evans Colin jr
screenplay by Veronica Robledo, based on the novel by Deborah Robillard, music by Tasos Eliopoulos

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Somewhere in Georgia, USA: Rather unexpectedly, lawyer Angie (Kristen Renton) inherits the mansion of an old lady (Sandra Ellis Lafferty) she has helped taking care of, and exploring the house finds a diary that might tell the story of the ancestors of her colleague Andrew (Maurice Johnson) she has only recently found herself forced to share an office with.

The diary, dating back to the 1800s, before the Civil War, tells the story of slave Ophelia (Jamie Butler), who has become best friends with her mistress Emmaline (KareLynn E. Newberry), who's not a slave holder by nature, she's just been married off into this culture, and is almost as oppressed by her husband Jackson (William Mark McCullough) as his slaves are. So when Ophelia gets pregnant, Emmaline, knowing her husband will probably kill the offspring, lets him impregnate her, just to force him to use Ophelia as wet nurse. That plan works out, but Jackson never forgives Emmaline for giving birth to a daughter rather than a son. And when the son she bears him eventually shows signs he might not be his but one of his slave's, he has his brutal foreman David (Bill Oberst jr) kill him on the spot.

Ophelia's son Isaiah (Marquies Wilson) and Emmaline's daughter Annabeth (Ashley Robillard) grow up as best friends, as if the then ubiquitous racial divide didn't exist, and thus it's only natural that they got intimate with a certain age, and eventually Annabeth gets pregnant, and Emmaline does the best to hide her away from her husband - but to no avail, he stumbles in at childbirth - and tragedy ensues ...

Now back in the heare and now, Andrew has saved Angie's life at one occasion, but what really draws the two towards each other is the story the diary chronicles, so much so that they start to do some (actual) digging together to fill in the blanks ...


Now I will say that much, have some tissues ready for this one, as it's a bit of a tearjerker - not totally throughout, but there are spots you get through better with shedding a tear. That's not to say this is just some sappy feelgood story that tries to solve everything regarding racism with a bit of romance. Quite the contrary, the film's at time quite hard-hitting and cruel, and doesn't show over-simplified solutions to complex problems, but it's nuanced in its storytelling, and its two narrative levels give it some extra depth, while the script still puts story over message. And add to that a rather strong cast, and you've got yourself a pretty good film, really.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD