BETHANY *** U.S.A. 2017 Dir: James Cullen Bressack 90 mins
Married couple Claire (Stefanie Estes) and Aaron (Zack Ward) move into Claire’s childhood home after the passing of her mother. An already mentally fragile Claire is forced to deal with painful memories of her overbearing mum and her uncomfortable upbringing; bringing to the forefront of this her imaginary friend she once had called Bethany who kept her company as a lonely only child. Could Bethany be responsible for causing all manner of disturbing images to welcome Claire back? Will their marriage survive this or will the house and its memories break them completely? Is Bethany really a figment of Claire’s imagination?
This is another promising movie from director James Cullen Bressack who gave us HATE CRIME and PERNICIOUS amongst others. I am always intrigued by his offerings and BETHANY does not disappoint for the most part. I did however feel the acting of Stefanie Estes and Zack Ward a bit strained and as a couple didn’t really gel with each other so in parts were rather hammy, same has to be said of Tom Green as Dr. Brown, it was just a little off. This also casts Shannen Doherty as Claire’s mum and to be honest she is no worse than the rest of them. The story is a little slow paced to start with but picks up nicely and in a fair few places did succeed in creeping me out quite a bit! It falls back on some familiar horror clichés but briefly touches on them so they’re not too tedious. It does take a twist that leads you to warm to the characters more and did leave me a bit emotional. I wasn’t thrilled with the effects at times, some of them weren’t all that well done and there was some below par CGI going on but I think they realised this as well and redeemed themselves in time with some more effective practical effects. It features a great soundtrack that really enhances the suspense and added to the creepiness no end. An enjoyable flick that I recommend a watch of, with a bit more conviction from the cast this could’ve been a great movie rather then just a good one.
Review by Sarah Budd