Director – Jourdan McClure
Starring – Bill Oberst Jr, Hannah Levien, Whitney Nielsen
UK DVD Release from High Fliers Films – June 8th 2015
Desperate to discover what has become of her sister, Ellen (Hannah Levien) goes undercover in Simon Leach’s (Bill Obert Jr.) cult. The only information that she has is that her sister was last seen joining the group in order to find herself and become a better person. Ellen is welcomed with other visitors into the cult with open arms, and although sceptical and with her sister in mind at first, she finds herself drawn to Simon’s magnetism with messages of self – love and worldly acceptance. Ellen soon discovers herself being manipulated along with the other needy cult members into Simon’s murderous ways.
After Dark original Children of Sorrow is a pretty standard cult flick with an odd found footage quality. If you have seen many cult based horrors they can all quite easily fall into the same formula and unfortunately Children of Sorrow stumbles into this again and again. There are positives to the film but I wont beat around the bush the narrative continually stumbles from place to place making the structure hard to follow. The screenplay by Ryan Finnerty is almost to the point of being schizophrenic. I found myself watching the film but time and time again losing my way with what is going on.
In terms of how the film looks the found footage style did not help either. It feels like director Jourdan McClure added this on just to bring something different to the film, but it ultimately fails, as found footage films must have a reason to be filmed that way and this one unfortunately does not.
With the found footage shooting style you are cutting yourself off to ways in which you can engage the film with the viewer. Now we have the restraint of ‘how is the character shooting that?’ ‘why is the character shooting that, when they are in distress?’. We do not get the answers we are looking for, just more questions.
Cult actor Bill Oberst Jr leads the charge, bringing a strong performance to his character of cult leader Simon. He starts the film with good intentions but slowly takes the film down into a spiral of manipulation and into a very dark place. Other cast members are purely fodder for his devious ways, with great acting across the board, its a shame they don’t have better material to work with.
Being a fan of ‘collective’ films there are some good After Dark Originals, this is a lesser one of the group. Worth a watch but nothing else.