Friday, November 28, 2014
B.I.T.S.14 Film Review - Berkshire County
Kylie Winters (Alysa King) is an outsider at school and her own hardest critic. When a popular boy Marcus (Aaron Chartrand) pays attention to her at a Halloween party she engages in out of character behaviour bringing her unwanted attention amongst her high school peers. Kylie does not have time to reflect on the situation as she has a babysitting job at the Harrison's Halloween night in Berkshire the next county over.
The Harrison's own a huge sprawling home featuring clashing elements of wood, brick and stone. Staircases, landings, closets and crawl spaces are scattered liberally throughout the home. Kylie meets junior grade school charges Phoebe (Madison Ferguson) and Sam (Christophe Gallander) who engage her in repeated games of hide and go seek until day turns to night and their nine p.m. bedtime arrives. The film reeves up the main plot line 15 minutes later when a young boy in a pig mask appears to trick or treat while an adult sporting a similar mask stands back on the driveway. Kylie goes to give the boy candy starting events in motion.
Director Audrey Cummings presents a story that is a little different to killer comes a knocking stories of the past. There is not a house full of expected targets, the Heroine does not make a series of horror film standard ill fated moves and the goal of the villains is different as well.
The Harrison home is a character itself in the film. The home is highlighted in Kylie initial tour. It's also the driver in the early games of hide and go seek and due to its multiple levels, open concept landings and multiple designs it's a great tool for building visual tension as Kylie can be in the same spaces as her hunters but not be scene. The production, set and art direction teams did notable work on the production. Jim McGrath takes a different approach with the music for the film. It is more understated than the normal horror film with quick breezy up tones and lots of elements of natural sound and the main characters hide in the shadows while the stalkers roam the home.
Alysa King is believable as Kylie the naive, self doubting high schooler that could under the right circumstances step forward to handle a big situation. Madison Ferguson is also strong as Phoebe quickly grasping the severity of the situation and reacting very well for someone so young. Samora Smallwood in solid as Roberta the helpful voice on the phone that is uncannily always on the other end of Kylie's frequent calls to the police whenever her iPhone is in reach.
Berkshire County is a fresh take on the teen scream genre. It has its signatory kills but the targets are much different that the normal booze fuelled hormonal crazed high school set. It features a heroine that you can truly root for plus villains that are not necessarily looking to kill victims on the spot.
*** out of 4.
Berkshire County | Audrey Cummings | Canada| 2014 | 83 Minutes.
Tags: Loner, New Kid, Self Loathe, Cell Phone Video, Bullying, Babysitting, Kidnapping, 911 Call, Pigs, Child Welfare.