Spoilers follow ...
- Cassadaga review by NP
Beginning with the self-castration of a young boy who has just been chastised by his mother for dressing up as a girl, attention then focuses on Lily (Kelen Coleman). Lily is deaf, and currently grieving over the death of her sister Michele (Sarah Sculco). Teaching art classes at Cassadaga University, Florida, Lily happens upon Mike (Kevin Alejandro), the father of one of her pupils. Naturally, the two attractive characters begin a relationship as Lily takes steps to contact her dead sister.
When creepy and unpleasant things start happening to Lily, (often involving maggots), people have a difficult time believing her. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? By this time, though, she very much has our sympathy.
Considering how sensitively all the characters are introduced and built-up (Lily is very appealing, Mike is a decent man, little Michelle avoids completely any trace of brattish-ness troubled juvenile characters are often prone to), I was surprised how horrific certain scenes were here. The most interesting of these however, involves the young cross-dresser having grown up to be a murderer who turns his victims into marionettes. With this being one of a two-strand story – the other involving Lily’s spectral encounters – it isn’t developed as much as it might be. Having said that, events are never predictable, like a great many horror hauntings are, and for that, I love it.
The pay-off at the end is very satisfying, with twists built upon twists in a very carefully built-up way, and elements featured throughout coming together well (don’t miss the post-end-credits sequence also). I hope we hear more from Director Anthony DiBlasi, who makes such a good job of Bruce Wood & Scott Poiley’s story (unsurprising to hear in the extras that the project was originally two separate ideas melded together). From Coleman too, who puts in a terrific performance and is thoroughly watchable throughout. A word too, for Lee Grimes astonishing make-up effects. Really enjoyed this.
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