Directed by Jerry J. White III
The first thing one notices about The Horror is what impressive acting performances director Jerry J. White III gets out of his main characters, most notably Isabel (played by Callie Ott) and Malcolm (Raymond Creamer, who also wrote the film). White takes what should be a typical indie horror film experience and gives viewers what feels like a much larger movie because of the stellar performances of the two lead performers.
The Horror is a bit of a misleading title. One would automatically assume that there is some ever-present threat or feeling of impending doom over a film entitled The Horror, and (although the doom is certainly felt at points throughout the movie) The Horror doesn’t come across as too terribly threatening until everything begins to unravel at the end.
The movie opens with a found footage segment. If you’re like me, you’ll greet this with a huge sigh, throw your hands up in the air, and huff, “Another found footage movie?! Are you fucking kidding me?!” But fear not; the found footage is just in the first few moments of the movie, and then it thankfully transitions back into traditional filmmaking. But to the credit of The Horror, the found footage segment is actually very effective and adds a lot to the movie. Hell, it turns out to be a crucial part of the film. And director White was wise to incorporate the alternate moviemaking technique but then get away from it when it was no longer necessary.
The Horror centers around the Rademacher twins, Isabel and Malcolm, two young adults who lost their parents and are dealing with adulthood as well as ownership of everything bequeathed to them by their parents, which includes a lake house with a very heavy past. Isabel and Malcolm recruit some friends to accompany them to shut down the lake house for the winter, but through an unexpected series of circumstances, a routine weekend road trip turns into something much more devious.
For the most part The Horror looks pretty slick; however, a few indie filmmaking warts can be seen from time to time. A camera a bit out of focus for a moment here, an extremely long and seemingly unnecessary driving scene there, a moving camera, overly rapid cuts. There are a few issues here, but the storytelling and the acting make up for the indie shortcomings.
Another issue audiences may have with The Horror is the fact that its story is complex, but it’s told in a bit of a vague fashion. The ending of the movie is thrilling but somewhat confusing. Viewers may certainly experience a bit of head-scratching when it comes to the final few moments of the movie. There’s a fantastic little twist that audiences are sure to love, but the whole climax is a bit foggy.
Overall, The Horror is a great effort for an indie on a limited budget. Most of the movie is shot very slickly, and the acting performances, especially by Ott and Creamer, are spot-on. Director White brings to life a story that is punctuated by impressive acting, cool visuals and a surprise ending that will make viewers slap themselves in the head (I could have had a V-8 style) and wonder how they could have missed the clues they’re given in the opening frames. Fans of indies will dig this one.