Cold Moon (2017) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper).

October 6, 2017 | By | Reply More

In a small backwater town in Florida a teen-ager has gone missing. She lives with her grandmother who is deeply worried about the lost girl. Griff Furst directs this adaption by Jack Snyder of Michael McDowell’s novel, ‘Cold Moon Over Babylon’. The story is either a psychological or a supernatural thriller. You can take your pick. Furst takes advantage of the Deep South setting where giving a feel of gothic to the proceedings. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

For a genuine Southern Gothic feel to a film, you really need to see some swamp or some kudzu. Somehow you need the feel of ‘Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte’ or ‘Suddenly Last Summer’. Somehow ‘Cold Moon’ is missing that, but it does have some gothic feel.

Our film takes place in Babylon, Florida in 1989, though the film is based on ‘Cold Moon Over Babylon’ by Michael McDowell, which was written in 1980.McDowell is noted for writing the stories of ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. This is a somewhat more serious plot than either of those films had.

Cold Moon (2017) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper).

Cold Moon (2017) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper).

The film starts with a missing-person mystery. High-schooler Margaret Larkin was on an errand on her bicycle when she completely disappeared. Her grandmother Evelyn (Candy Clark) wants her found in no uncertain terms. Early on. we are sure she will not show up alive.

At about the half-way point of the film, we find who the culprit is and move into the killer’s mind as he is tormented by ghosts of the dead who may or may not be all in his mind. Actual ghosts or imaginary, they are real enough to torment him.

The mystery plot is little that is new to the mystery genre. The film’s strongest point is the visual imagery of the dead returning to avenge the murder. I am not an easy scare for a horror film, but the make-up effects had me on edge. In a flashback, we see a man with his head hidden in a black hood murder her. No doubt the Deep South texture enhances the chills for the viewer. The uncertainty whether the ghosts are real or not is familiar to most horror audiences since ‘The Innocents’ or its source in the Henry James story ‘A Turn Of The Screw’.

Main character Sheriff Ted Hale is played by familiar face Frank Whaley. Horror film veteran Candy Clark plays Evelyn. Christopher Lloyd of the ‘Back To The Future’ series, nice to see him still working, is along in a small but effective part.

‘Cold Moon’ has the feel of a horror novel and makes for a few unexpected chills. I rate it a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

Mark R. Leeper

© Mark R. Leeper 2017

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Category: Films, Horror, MEDIA

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