AMBER’S DESCENT (2020)
Starring Kayla Stanton, Michael Mitton, Don Knodel, Nathaniel Vossen, Dione Russell, Colm Hill, Destiny Millns, Kirsten Khorsand, Sheron Russell, Jayden Shannon, Craig Paynton, Graham Daley, Sarah Seibert and Izzy the cat.
Screenplay by The Michaels (Micheal Bafaro and Michael Mitton).
Directed by Micheal Bafaro.
Distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures. 92 minutes. Not Rated.
If you have read many of my film reviews, you may have noticed that by far my favorite kind of horror film are ghost stories. I tend to get goosebumps in ways that slasher and zombie films never raise, and I usually mostly enjoy even relatively bad ones (I’m looking at you The Haunting and Winchester and many, many more…).
Therefore, I was excited when I heard the storyline of the Canadian indie fright film Amber’s Descent. A woman moves to a secluded manor in Montana after a mysterious incident in Seattle and finds herself being troubled by mysterious sounds and occurrences in the house and a strange woman who seems to be lurking around the grounds of the estate. It sounded like it was right in my wheelhouse.
Technically, it turns out that Amber’s Descent is not exactly a ghost story, at least not in the traditional sense. Fairly early on you start to question how much of what is going on is really happening, and how much of it is all in Amber’s head.
Honestly, the further Amber’s Descent goes along and the more you learn about the hauntings, the less interesting the film becomes. Also, most people watching will have figured out the trick ending long before the movie arrives there.
On the plus side – a very big plus – the mostly-unknown lead actress Kayla Stanton [her biggest previous film or TV credits were guest spots in two episodes of Supernatural] does a very fine job of carrying this film. This is particularly impressive because she is onscreen almost the entire running time of Amber’s Descent, and she runs through an emotional gamut and is never less than intriguing and usually highly sympathetic in the tricky title role.
The movie itself does not really live up to its fine central performance, though it is well made, slickly shot and does have some significant scares scattered through the running time.
Amber’s Descent falls into a trap that all too many modern fright films do. Not everything needs a logical explanation. Horror stories actually often work best when there is no real logic behind what is happening, just unexplained evil. By trying to put a neat bow on the storyline and tie up all the loose ends, Amber’s Descent somewhat neuters most of what was making it good in the first place.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 22, 2021.