Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Dementer

My notes on Dementer

Writer-director Chad Crawford Kinkle, who made the excellent rural horror Jugface, crafted this creepy little picture in order to give his sister Stephanie, who has Downs Syndrome, an acting role.  Along with other developmentally disabled adults and care-workers in a group home, Stephanie comes across as if this were a documentary – suggesting that Kinkle has very cannily assembled his story around the real people he needs to appear in it.  Something viewers almost never have to consider when watching a movie is how the process of making it might have been of benefit to the people involved.  For Kinkle, the production might have been more important as a fun activity for his sister and her friends than as an addition to his own filmography.The actual plot concerns Katie (Katie Groshong), a young woman who has fled a backwoods cult which has left her with devil sign branding on her body and persistent flashbacks of a ranting cult elder (Larry Fessenden).  Maybe to atone for her past, maybe to make connections in the real world and maybe just to earn a crust, Katie gets a job at the care facility.  She becomes close with the residents – especially Stephanie – though of course things go awry as Stephanie falls ill and Katie surrenders to perhaps terrible compulsions.  Groshong initially underplays the protagonist, matching her tone to players who are essentially going about their business with the camera rolling, but manages a ferocious intensity as the film detours back into the macabre.

Here’s the Frightfest listing.




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