Ginger Nuts of Horror
by Stewart Horn
Jon Randall's life sucks. He's a middle-aged divorcee who can't seem to find a job or a girlfriend. He doesn't get on with his teenage daughters or his successful brother, and he has to look after his elderly father, in a house that seems to be haunted. It's almost as if he's cursed.
It transpires that, centuries ago when his ancestors arrived in America, the family made a deal with The Devil, who now lives in their barn, and they have to keep the deal going by sacrificing family members.
On this flimsy frame hangs an almost plotless muddle of scenes that really don't cohere well enough to move the narrative along. There are some good moments, like some of the family scenes and Jon's comically catastrophic dates, but it's all a bit leaden and lacks structure and drive.
A lot of what's wrong with it is down to budget. Anything potentially expensive, or that required the hiring of somebody who would want paid, happens off screen. So the girls do a lot of screaming and the men make shocked faces, but I get the feeling they don't know what they're supposed to be looking at. And neither does the writer.
It was never clear what the devil in the barn wanted, what the deal was, or why anybody did anything. And that uncertainty came across in the performances, whereby actors are delivering lines or running off somewhere just because that what the script says, with no reference to what the character wanted or what the consequences might be.
I notice in the credits that the film is "written, directed, shot and cut by F. C. Rabbath". That's probably why it doesn't quite work: a director can spot holes in a script and tighten things up, and an editor can take flabby scenes and make them lean and dramatic. One person doing everything has no critical input from anyone else.
However, the photography is nice. The shots are well set up on obviously decent cameras, and there is some nice slow motion drone footage in the establishing shots. The sound is well recorded and clear so we can hear every irrelevant and confusing word, and I liked the music.
So, really not recommended, but some bits worth looking at. Perhaps F. C. Rabbath will go on to collaborate with professionals on something better.