written by Andres Eloy Sereno Hernandez
edited by Koushik Paul
In the middle of nowhere, Ted (Jared Breeze) and his father John (David Morse), run a decaying motel which visitors only arrive by accident, which conveys their monotonous life. Ted is as curious as any other kid but without any moral compass to guide him; this is reflected on his peculiar interaction with the few guests of the motel. He seems unaware of other people’s boundaries and privacy, stretching his curiosity to the point of getting in their rooms while they sleep. The most outstanding of Ted’s eccentricities is his obsessive fixation with death, collecting dead animals off the road, but also attracting them there to be killed by passing cars. His father is an aloof man that tries to do what he thinks is best for his kid, raising him alone but not dealing with actual parenting. Also, his drinking problem makes it unbearable to manage his situation.
The story takes a turn when Ted provokes an accident, leading to William Colby (Rainn Wilson) arriving to the scene with a mysterious and shady behavior. This secretive man stablishes an odd connection with Ted, becoming his only “friend”, enraging Ted’s father in the process. As the movie progresses, Ted’s conduct become more and more disturbing, reflecting an evolution towards evil; which is very much expected, but nevertheless fascinating.
Craig Macneill’s debut feature film is consistently inciting a mesmerizing yet unsettling set of emotions that keeps the audience interested. The score is completely perplexing, frightening and unpleasant which resonates extremely well with the theme of the movie; it definitely plays a part by itself. Overall this film is disturbing and provoking. The audience will definitely leave the theater immensely agitated; which after all, is the objective of an “artsy” film like this.
Every single character was portrayed impressively well by the actors, although Jared Breeze produced the most outstanding performance in the film, by far. He is completely natural on screen; his facial expressions are completely calculated and believable. It is definitely unsettling how well he acted in this movie, this young boy is superb at playing the classic creepy kid without coming across too strong or too cartoonish.
This film is not for everyone, this is for the seekers of something that stimulates emotions, whether good or bad. We observe how a young boy is appealed by his own curiosity to life and death and how he deals with his sociopathy surrounded by a vast lack of morals and concern. Macneill takes an approach more realistic in evil, creating an intense yet slow paced thriller that will leave no one calmed.