Damnationland 2016: White Drift Review
Bonfire Films, led by husband and wife team Corey and Haley Norman have established themselves as quality horror filmmakers in recent years. Known for ghostly feature The Hanover House, 80’s inspired, urban legend Tickle and more recently for adapting Stephen King’s short story Suffer The Little Children to the screen, the award-winning Maine based duo offer up a different kind of beast for this year’s Damnationland Festival with White Drift.
White Drift centres on Peter (Sean Carmichael) an ex-army recruit passing through a small town in Maine to seek out an old friend and fellow soldier. The locals immediately notice something isn’t quite right with the ambiguous drifter as he experiences strange withdrawal symptoms. Intrigued by the mysterious Peter is waitress Abby (Kristi Ray- Pieces of Talent) who offers him her kindness and appears genuinely concerned. Unbeknown to her Peter harbours a dark secret and faces a moral dilemma that inevitably will result in devastating consequences.
There’s always a fascinating aspect to the werewolf as a monster in the moral sense and the concept is executed well in this short. With heightened sound effects, Norman establishes a sense of what Peter is experiencing and how the physical changes are affecting him. It’s a real build up of slow burning tension before the wolf is unleashed on the audience, allowing a sense of gut-wrenching dread.
A melancholic tone is presented throughout, aided by grey visuals within the cinematography. It’s certainly a brave move portraying the werewolf concept as a metaphor for PTSD after army life especially as it’s such a raw subject that holds such relevance in our society. However, the subject matter does work creating a powerful and dramatic narrative.
Both Sean Carmichael and Kristi Ray are impressive in their roles. We’re only experiencing their story for a short time but they manage to draw us in with their naturalistic performances. Carmichael portrays Peter as troubled, confused and frightened as he searches for the only person in the world who can help him. Kristi Ray plays Abby as sympathetic and genuine but also curious as to what’s wrong with the mysterious stranger.
Funds for the special effects were achieved through Bonfire Films IndieGoGo Campaign which allowed the team to animate a ferocious looking werewolf for the pinnacle moment in the movie. The appearance of the Wolf brings in an 80’s B-Movie vibe to it and is more impressive that some werewolf guises that have been created on a bigger budget. White Drift is an example of a crowd-funding movie that is of a high standard and exceptional quality.
White Drift will be screening at Damnationland 2016 this October. Damnationland takes place annually in Portland, Maine and supports local filmmakers in the Horror and Thriller genres. Check out their website for more information and all that cool stuff! http://www.damnationland.com/
Hayley Alice Roberts.