Kind words for Last Kind Words

Lynching_of_Bennie_SimmonsAlthough the official trailer for 2012’s Last Kind Words is misleading, it’s not nearly as bad as the movie’s cover.

The trailer follows a lot of common horror genre formula creating an image of a much more violent and action-packed film while the movie’s cover harkens to a low-quality death-porn.

Instead, in Last Kind Words, director and screenwriter Kevin Barker, weaves a moody tale about loneliness, secrets, and giving up everything for the one you love. He chooses a slower path to the climax in favor of character and story development, relying only briefly on a cheep scare here or there. There is little need for special effects beyond the magical combination of good lighting, sparse sound effects, and skillful acting. It covers the very real and very dark themes of murder, racism, lynching, incest, sexual abuse, physical abuse, alcoholism, suicide, rape, religion and sin.

As always, Brad Douriff is superb, knowing perfectly how to create a character you want to trust, even when you feel shouldn’t, and then throwing that out the window for creep and scare tied to emotional context.

The younger cast members – Alexia Frost, Spencer Daniels, and Sarah Steele – do a very good job. I hope to see more of Spencer Daniels. He has a lot of talent and, if they ever need someone to play a young version of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Sherlock, Daniels would be perfect.

Despite Daniels being the true lead with Alexia, Steele had perhaps the most difficult role of the three. I really wanted to know more about her character and how she survives after the movie, because she had the most courage out of any of the characters as the best friend trapped in an abusive household and no one – not even her best friend – to turn to.

As I all too often am, I was disappointed by the end of Last Kind Words. There was too much the feeling that they felt they had to wrap the story back to the beginning, in a way, which wasn’t necessary. And I also didn’t feel that Daniels’ character was to the point of doing what he did. But again, it was subtle but clear that Steele’s character – in running away – made the bravest decisions.

In short, Last Kind Words is a wonderful ghost story with some unexpected points making it feel all the more real. An enjoyable way to spend a quiet morning or maybe a spooky late night. I just never did figure out how the movie’s title really fit in.

Other than the cover, I think the only other real recommendation I’d have would be to use Ryan Bingham‘s “Until I’m One With You” as the theme song.

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