Written and directed by Eric Daniel Dunn
Shot in the Fergus Falls Kirkbride Complex, this tense and dark psychological thriller will make you shiver.
When Bruce Martin (Danny Lopez) is woken by a phone call in the middle of the night and told to go check out reports of a disturbance at the Kirkbride, he kisses his wife and daughter goodbye completely oblivious to what awaits him there. The carnage which greets him is mind-numbingly horrific. The bodies of murdered children are everywhere – but are they real? Is it a delusion? Or something else? And lurking unseen in the background is the perpetrator known only as The Butcher (Beau Brendmoen) a man possessed by some unutterably evil being. Bruce and The Butcher fight and, in the struggle, The Butcher is killed.
But that was in another time and perhaps another dimension. Moving forward to the present we learn of a plan to send a team of psychic investigators back into the Kirkbride; its mission to try to exorcise the evil presence. They take with them a young woman, Susan Walters (Emily Field-Olsen), the only child to have escaped the clutches of The Butcher some years earlier and Tiffany Martin (Amanda Collins), the daughter of Bruce Martin who never returned home from his fateful investigation.
Are the team aware of just what sacrifices they might be expected to make? They are instructed by Max Warwick (Brian Sterling-Vete) and Arnie Matheson (Steve Nelson) whose mantra “The needs of the many” is a chilling clue to what lengths they are prepared to go to in order to rid the world of the demons loose in the Kirkbride.
This stunning independent movie deserves a wide audience. Writer and director Eric Dunn has created a highly professional film with excellent quality photography and special effects. And given that almost the entire cast had no previous acting experience, or very little, there were some stellar performances: most notably Beau Brendmoen as The Butcher, Emily Field-Olsen as Susan Walters, Amanda Collins as Tyffany Martin, and Tim Long as Jason Thompson. Brian Sterling-Vete is, of course, a very well established actor and brings a touch of stellar magic to the role of Max Warwick.
The screenplay is incredibly well written. In a sequence in which Bruce Martin meets his daughter after 17 years of absence they sit quietly in a corridor and try to catch up a little on what they have both missed. In what amounts to just a few lines of dialogue punctuated by the odd flash-back, we are shown the life of Tyfanny as a young child and, later, as a troubled teenager. So skilfully is this done that by the end of the sequence you might believe you have known her all her life.
At this point I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the performance of Danny Lopez as Bruce Martin. According to his two IMDb entries he has had much more experience in front of the camera than the rest of the cast (Brian Sterling-Vete excluded) but his rendition came across as rather flat and lacklustre. Possibly he was directed to play the character down – to portray an unremarkable man-next-door type. But it is the job of the actor to bring the character to life. We are all unique – ordinary or not – and we all have little idiosyncrasies which give us our individuality. More specifically I felt that the dearth of reaction to some horrific scenes was a mistake. Perhaps Mr. Lopez would benefit by some further development of his interpretation skills. I should say, however, that the version I saw was a pre-release rough cut and I haven’t yet seen the final scenes. Once I have seen the fully edited film I will issue a revised review.
A special mention is owed to the younger cast members playing the child victims of The Butcher. Their performances were exquisite and I have no doubt that some of them have sparkling futures ahead of them should they choose to enter the film industry when they grow up.
I hope to see Geist entered in festivals and it truly does deserve a theatre release too. If you have an opportunity to see it I can recommend that you do.
Hache L Jones
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Trailer #1 “The Butcher” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbdgQEpp_ao
Trailer #2 “Investigate” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT8A40xkrrQ
Trailer #3 “Make them believe that it’s over” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtK32U__HC8
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Geist.The.Movie/?fref=ts
Première in Fergus Falls October 30th at 6:00 and 8:30 in Legacy Hall at the Fergus Falls College.
Call 218-736-1500 to order tickets or stop into the college and buy available tickets.