Archive for June 16th, 2010

American Gothic

by on Jun.16, 2010, under Daily Review

A group of young friends head off on a camping holiday to a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. They find themselves in an old rundown house with ancient clothes and items about the place, but this house is not deserted. A crazy cute family who live a simple life live there and offer the friends food and a room for the night, only these people are a bit strange. Well, you know what those country folk are like and we’ve all seen Deliverance and Hill Have Eyes.

This is a serious oddity. It works very well with good characters, mostly unknown actors, although a few veterans fill in the gaps whilst the plot runs smooth and simple with some terrifying moments. Director, John Hough has a way of shooting films which look simple. They look like you are there with the characters who are all so naturally normal, just like your neighbours, and when he hits you with some horror, yikes it’s good. His camera work is also very dramatic. Some stunning inferior angles and twisted shots really add tension.

Ultimate creepy moments. A 30 year old woman who thinks she’s only 11, and has a mummified baby in a cot: A hideous moment. Another great scene has a bloke forced to play on a rope swing, whilst the odd country folk push it harder and faster, swinging out over the sea and the craggy rocks below. These scenes, you just can’t make them up. Brilliant scenes of cinema.

Rod Steiger, Yvonne De Carlo and Michael J Pollard are the real stars of the film, classic veterans who eagerly encourage the rest of the cast, and through characterisation, haunt the rest of the characters with a terrifying country hospitality.

Keep your eye on Cynthia (Sarah Torgov) though. Here character is amazing and deep and goes through all the emotions. A scene late on between Cynthia and Fanny (Janet Wright) is brilliant, captivating and engrossing and soon we the viewer are questioning who are the crazy folk.

This is a great twist on the typical creepy inbreed families which we’ve seen many of in the cinema. Here, we see that these people are normal everyday people, just living a bit different. They don’t have lampshades made out of skin, or anything else to that extreme, but an embalmed baby, that’s just something else.

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