Directed and written by Matthew Goodhue.
Starring Jessie Rabideau, Adam Halferty, Ryan Kattner, James Russo, Jerilyn Armstrong, Russell Becker, DeVaughn LaBon, Flora Rubenhold, Jason Tippet
After the death of their father, siblings Charlie (Adam Halferty) and Betty (Jessie Rabideau) along with her fiancée Benjamin (Ryan Kattner) attempt to deal with the grief in their own ways. While Betty and Benjamin attempt to plan their wedding, they try to reach out to Charlie, who has become reclusive and obsessive over fixing up their father’s home. All the while, a specter of death looms in the shadows haunting them all.
WOE is a deep and somber experiential in grief, sorrow, and loss. It is a dredge of a film, slow and meticulous in attempting to communicate the specific feelings these characters are going through. There are light hearted moments, most of them from the character of Benjamin, but for the most part, this is going to be a tough pill to swallow because of the dark feelings the film communicates so well.
The acting is extremely strong for a “horror” film of this budget. Adam Halferty is distant and obsessed as Charlie. He’s on the brink of something dangerous and he wears it in the unkempt way he looks and erratic way he acts. Halferty plays the part extremely well. Jessie Rabideau is fantastic as Betty. Something about the eccentric way she dresses in mom jeans, her extreme haircut, and the way she squints her eyes when she doesn’t quite understand what is going on is fascinating to watch. She’s an actress I’d love to see more of as she really offers a lot to understanding how her father’s death and Charlie’s breakdown are effecting the world around them. The one bright light of optimism and fun in WOE is Ryan Kattner, who is loyal and good-hearted to a fault as Benjamin. He’s laid back, always attempting to cheer up those around him, and trying his best to stay positive in this world of grief. While his antics may seem out of place among these morose characters, much of the humor and heart provided in WOE rests on his shoulders. If there’s a star in the making in WOE, it’s Kattner, who embodies the good time buddy we all want to have in times of hardship. Lending some acting heft is James Russo, who has a small but poignant role as someone who let grief and loss take over their entire existence and has done so for a long time.
This isn’t the most fun movie to watch. Director/writer Matthew Goodhue really wants the audience to understand these characters and the pain they are going through. There’s not a lot of action and while there are a few scares, the film is more about the overall tone of discomfort in sitting with an emotion for an extended period of time. The hooded death figure that appears to Charlie and Betty does provide some moments of tension, but this isn’t a film that’s going to give the heart a flutter. It’s going to be too much for some, but one can’t deny how thoroughly these feelings are dissected in WOE. The film really understands these feelings and drags you through them well. This is mainly because of the well thought out performances by Halferty, Rabideau, and Kattner—three actors I can’t wait to see in future films. WOE is a half-hearted recommend, mainly for those with the patience and determination to really dive deep into the strong and uncomfortable emotions so well realized on the screen.