Directed by David Morwick
Released by Indican Pictures
Making an indie film isn’t easy; ask anyone’s who’s tried it. Making an indie movie that doesn’t involve tons of blood and guts in this day and age is even more of a challenge. But when you factor in a movie that essentially plays out as a whodunit when the audience knows who the killer is from the first few minutes, and to make it actually good, is the biggest challenge of all.
So imagine my surprise when I popped in Little Erin Merryweather, a movie made near my new hometown of Boston, and realized after about 30 minutes that this was a damn good movie.
At a small New England college, a series of brutal killings disrupt the usual quiet life the students are used to. Every killing gets closer and closer to campus, and every victim closer and closer to Peter Bloom (Morwick) and his pair of friends. Bloom is almost immediately convinced that the killings are the work of a serial killer when he overhears the local police telling the grisly details to one of his college professors, who its hinted at used to have some kind of big city job working violent crimes.
Meanwhile we’re introduced to the title character, another student who, instead of a traditional winter coat, wears a large, bright red hood and cape around campus and works in the student library. Bloom can’t help but find her attractive and the two begin a tenuous relationship, both very shy and both hiding something from the other.
The killings continue, each one similar to the last, and the police are at their wits end, seeing no pattern to the victims other than they’re male students. Bloom, his buddies and the professor piece things together eventually and the horrible truth of Erin’s past, and her cloak, finally surfaces.
Very solid performances, a great score and a different take on your standard stalk-n-slash cheapie, Little Erin Merryweather is a true breath of fresh air compared to some of the stuff that shows up at my front door. In fact, it is that very stuff that kept me from giving this a chance for so long, but damn I’m glad I did.
The first thing you’ll likely notice about the film are the illustrations, which are across the board, badass. They’re not your traditional horror art but, as is befitting the story, a darker form of children’s books illus. It took me a while to really notice how good they were but the more they keep coming up in the movie the more impressed by them I was. Apparently the girl responsible for them, Kelly Murphy, has gone on to experience some success in the field of children’s illustrations; well deserved!
No one really spends enough time worrying about how their movie is going to be scored when they’re making it until it’s usually too late. Not so with the folks behind Little Erin Merryweather; they seemed to have a plan from the get go and it makes the overall experience of the film that much richer. Not that it’s a terribly original or memorable chunk of music, but the point is it works in the movie, which is the most important factor anyway. It helps the scenes, the characters and the setting. Never underestimate the power of good music in a film.
Again, credit also has to go to the cast. With the minor exception of a few scenes in which they feel the need to over explain everything going on, all the dialogue seems natural and as real as can be expected, considering the uniqueness of the situation. It’s not often you see an indie with even a halfway decent cast, so when a small film can pull one off I immediately give them more respect.
It’s obvious a lot of thought was put into making sure Little Erin Merryweather was as different form the current indie horror trend as possible and closer to a professional film, so it’s a shame there wasn’t more on the DVD. All we have are some trailers and previews of other releases. Granted, it was an independent release, but it would be nice if a slightly bigger distributor were able to give the DVD a few more features, like a commentary or some making-ofs. But then, maybe I’m spoiled with DVD releases these days.
If you’re in the mood for something different, something that combines traditional slasher movie themes with a dark fairy tale, be sure to give Little Erin Merryweather your time. If you’re hoping for a fast-paced blood bath, look elsewhere; this is more of a slow burn film then anything else and it’s done with just the right of talent and foresight to give the impression that we’ll be seeing more from the team behind it very soon.
Trailers & Still Galleries
4 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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