Film Review: OCCURRENCE AT MILLS CREEK (2019) (Short Film)

OCCURRENCE AT MILLS CREEK *** USA 2019 Dir: Don Swanson. 18 mins

Currently being expanded into a feature length movie of the same name, writer-director Don Swanson’s well shot, effectively scored short film, like HEREDITARY, finds as much horror in the banal truths of everyday grief as it does with the supernatural. Clara (Ava Psoras) is haunted by her dead mother (Betsy Lynn George) and her recently deceased younger sister (Alexa Mechling). On the day of the latter’s funeral, her absentee Dad (Joe Fishel) returns along with what might be the bonafide ghosts of her next of kin – alongside the non literal ghosts of a childhood marred by adultery and domestics. “You failed us, Clara…” An attractive, credible presence in the lead, Psoras makes for a sympathetic heroine wracked by a lifetime of emotional distress, while flashbacks accounting for how it all went wrong run parallel to the modern-day paranormal activity. It’s a little confusing and under-developed, but there’s enough here to make the prospect of an full length version seem appealing, particularly if it can capture the same morbidly compelling ambience of familial disarray.

Review by Steven West


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