Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Mitch McLeod's Silhouette

Cody takes a look at Silhouette, which is currently making the festival rounds.

Writer/director Mitch McLeod's movie Silhouette is a fascinating drama about a married couple struggling to endure the worst time in their lives. The young daughter of Amanda and Jack Harms recently passed away, and in an effort to get beyond that tragedy they move into a different, fully furnished home at the beginning of the film. It's clear that Jack has hope for the future, while Amanda's mind is stuck in a very dark place.

April Hartman is given a lot of emotions to convey in the role of Amanda, and she plays those emotions perfectly. She does an incredible job of bringing this deeply damaged woman to life on the screen, and I imagine it must have been exhausting to play this character. Jack is played by Tom Zembrod, an actor I'm not very familiar with but whose name I feel like I see regularly when looking for movie news to write up on - and even when I'm not working, as Zembrod also turned up in Brett Bentman's 90 Feet from Home. I can see why he gets mentioned so often, because he turns in a great performance here as a husband who feels a bit too disconnected from his wife.

In fact, Jack is so disconnected from Amanda that he clearly starts plotting a hook-up with new neighbor Dawn (Jessica Dawn Willis) from the moment she shows up at the Harms' front door to introduce herself. This doesn't reflect well on Jack as a person; I don't think there are going to be many viewers siding with him. The ideal time to cheat on your wife is never, but if you're going to do it you really shouldn't be letting your eye wander when your wife seems to be having such an extreme mental breakdown that she's seeing visions of your deceased child.

Amanda does see their daughter Sarah (Savannah Solsbery) around their new home, but these aren't pleasant visions allowing her to reunite with a lost loved one. These are terrifying visitations, because Silhouette isn't just an engaging drama. It also happens to be a mind-bending horror film that will keep you wondering what's really going on while Amanda makes her way through what appears to be a ghost story... But is it? It has scenes like the average haunted house movie, there's even the cliché "being dragged across the floor by an unseen force" shot, but at the same time Amanda is clearly unbalanced. Could this all just be in her head?

Maybe the "dragged across the floor" shot was included here to mess with our heads and get us thinking, "She seems crazy, but she can't just be imagining this because she got dragged across the floor like that person in that other ghost story," but in general I think there should be a moratorium on those.

This is an interesting movie, well made and exceptionally well acted. It was produced on a budget of just $25,000, but it doesn't have an overly low budget look to it. There are even some very stylish moments that serve as some nice eye candy.

My only issue with it is one that I seem to have with a lot of movies these days - it feels like it goes on a little long. It moves at a deliberate pace to reach a running time of about 115 minutes, and I felt like some minutes could have been trimmed along the way. It works, but it might work a bit better if it was a little shorter.

Silhouette has been showing at festivals and winning awards, and it's worth checking out if it crosses your path.

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