Cathedrals will fall, the river will run red... and THE BIRD will be SLAUGHTERED!

REVIEW: Besetment

– By Dave Dubrow

The title of the indie horror flick BESETMENT brings to mind French existentialist films from the 1960’s: long, dreary, bloodless affairs that only people who are paid to like them can say anything nice about. Indeed, whenever I see the title myself I pronounce it “bay-set-MON” in my head to give it that soupcon of elegance.

Unfortunately, I must report that the unusual title and the mouth-sewn-shut movie poster are the best parts of the movie, and they’re not that great, either.

In it, hapless, penniless protagonist Amanda takes a job as a caretaker/maid of a hotel in an out-of-the-way town in rural Oregon, is subjected to horrific tortures, and fights to survive. Sort of. Because the story depends on a combination of idiocy on the part of the characters, amazing coincidence, and a somewhat anticlimactic finale, much of the movie’s events are muddled. Except for the murders. Those were pretty clear.

The first half of the film moves with terrible slowness, making it an excellent cure for insomnia. Once Amanda awakens to find herself tied to the bed things pick up a bit, but the most disturbing scenes are either portrayed as flashbacks or not shown at all, like Amanda’s mouth getting sewn shut. I know this is a low-budget film, but there had to have been a way to show us at least a little bit of it. The aftermath was kind of horrible, but it ended up looking like duck-face, which was a bit of a problem.

Marlyn Mason did a tremendous, scene-chewing job as Millie, the owner of the hotel and the movie’s antagonist. She went from sweet old lady to monstrous harpy in an eyeblink, and managed to make both roles believable, despite some of the things the story made her do. Like sew somebody’s mouth shut. Or demand the local pastor preside over a shotgun wedding for her mentally deficient son, sans shotgun.

The rest of the performances were par for the micro-budget indie course, along with the uneven tone (some moments of comedy like the pastor/plumber pulling a clot of hair from a period blood-clogged shower and a brief scene of Millie running into the bedroom to hit someone in the head with a frying pan) and the occasional crewmember caught on film.

If you’re a fan of movies in which young women are abused and brutalized by older women, Besetment is your film, and I encourage you to go see it. For me, it was a miss. The best thing I can say about it is that the filmmakers tried very hard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Slaughtered Bird Films’ horror short film, BURN, nabs festival awards!
We don’t like to blow our own trumpets here at The Slaughtered Bird but, y’know, FUCK IT – we’re damn proud of our debut film production, BURN, created in collaboration with Dragon Egg Media! Since post-production finished last year, our 15-minute short has received numerous excellent reviews, been busy finding its feet on the festival circuit and gratefully receiving many Official Selection laurels from around the world, and now it’s picked up its first award… or three! Read on...
INTERVIEW: David Naughton
untitled It’s not every day you get to speak to the lead actor in possibly your favourite horror film of all time. Especially on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually rubbish! David Naughton should need no introduction to horror fans. Back in 1981, An American Werewolf In London had unprepared cinema goers laughing heartily one second and jumping out of their seats in terror the next. Its tale of two young American tourists coming face-to-teeth with a legendary lycanthropic beast perfectly married a genuinely funny script with razor sharp editing, groundbreaking special effects and a flawless cast to create a monster movie that is still many people’s benchmark today Read on...
Advertise HERE!
CQJR7SyWwAADBd_ We currently have advertising space available at very reasonable rates, so if you have a product you want to let people know about then please email us at with your needs and we can give you more info. Read on...