Bethany, A Terrifying Treat Combining Mental, and Supernatural Horror
Bethany Earns DecayMag Premier Award
Achievements in visual composition and in-depth narrative contribute to a successful production. Bethany cements itself as a prime candidate in psychological Horror cinema.
Director: James Cullen Bressack
Release Date: April 7th, 2017
Release Format: Cinemas
MPAA Rating: N/A
Claire and her husband find themselves moving back into Claire’s childhood home only to have the abusive and traumatic memories of her mother come back to haunt her. As her husband starts to get more work, Claire finds herself mixed up in a fog of past and present with a mysterious figure haunting her memories. What is this small figure that is trying to reach out to her, and what does it want?
In script writing combining themes of psychology and the supernatural is an art form. For the screenwriter drawing a convincing parallel between science and the paranormal becomes critical. A failure to execute either theme corrupts the narrative. The end result would corrupt the viewing experience for audiences.
The upcoming Horror film Bethany delivers a glimpse into the paranormal. Yet, the end product does not center on a mere traditional ghost story. By infusing elements of psychosis, the film becomes a unique entity. In fact, James Cullen Bressack brings a much-needed retelling in a genre plagued with regurgitated themes.
James Cullen Bressack and Zack Ward collaborated on the script for Bethany. From Act I to Act III its evident the duo invested a great deal in creating an innovative and engaging story. Bressack and Ward’s offering is part psychological Thriller, part supernatural Horror. As a whole Bethany becomes a complex venture into madness and vengeance.
Between scenes of psychosis and the supernatural its hard to say which is most horrific. The film becomes that engrossing!
Originality / Redefining
The characters and the portrayals thereof near excellence. Actress Stefanie Estes and actor Zack Ward offer the majority of screen time. Their chemistry is profound and impacts the viewer. Strife and the afflictions of a strained marriage become heartfelt.
Each character has a solid backstory that matures over the course of the narrative. This includes secondary figures and the antagonizing force. Shannen Doherty and Tom Green’s caliber contribution silenced premature doubts from this critic. As an MMA enthusiast, Keith Jardine’s cameo becomes an added bonus.
Director, James Cullen Bressack and cinematographer John DeFazio emphasized tension and tone. Unorthodox visual narration conveys the concept of a deteriorating sanity. Fish-eyed lens effect and extreme close-ups are Hitchcockian.
Bressack also used clever ploys to deliver the dreaded jump scares. This is a rare instance that cheap scare tactics actually work in favor of the content. Here’s a comedic thought, because of Bressack viewers may not see a bowl of cereal the same way again.
The CGI contributions to the film were unsatisfactory. The titular character’s concept design also had execution flaws. The antagonist’s mask is unoriginal and void of emotional impact. This diffuses any connection between her and the audience. The build throughout the film channels into Bethany only to have her veiled behind a Papier-mâché mask.
Bethany is a solid contribution to the haunted house theme. Psychological and the supernatural merge with flawlessness. The narrative gives the viewer a tension-filled Horror experience. While the antagonist may lack impact with concept design the story makes her iconic.
Click for information on rating metric: 0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40 Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive