Title: Cassadaga

Directed by: Anthony DiBlasi

Starring: Kelen Coleman, Kevin Alejandro, Louise Fletcher, Rus Blackwell, Avis-Marie Barnes, Lucas Beck

Running time: 102 minutes, Rated R,

Special Features: None

Lily Morel (Kelen Coleman) is a post-lingually deaf artist/teacher who has plans to take her bullied younger sister Michelle to Paris as soon as she graduates. When an accident takes her sister’s life, she moves to a spiritualist community (“Psychic Capital of the World”) called Cassadaga in Florida after being awarded a scholarship. She meets a divorcee EMT (Kevin Alejandro) who shows some interest and introduces her to some friends who want to participate in a séance. Lily contacts her dead sister, but the encounter brings forth the ghost of a woman seeking revenge against her murderer and continues to haunt Lily, causing bodily harm until she helps find what the media has dubbed “Gepetto,” because he dismembers his victims and turns them into marionettes.

The Negative: A post lingually deaf person with perfect diction. I’ve known a few that come close, but never like Kelen Coleman portrayed. Her character apparently lost her hearing as a child, so her speech would be more impaired than someone who lost it as an adult; even with speech therapy. Hey, I’m a nitpicker when it comes to stuff like that. Lily telling her sister that it’s okay to bring a weapon to school and use on her bullies was not cool.  I didn’t get the back story of the killer. He’s a transgender child who mutilates himself after his mother destroys his dress and marionette. I’m not a psychologist, but the M.O. for his murders doesn’t really flow for me. The mind of a maniac isn’t supposed to make sense, but the storytelling is a bit jagged.

The Positive: Louise Fletcher and Kelen Coleman sharing a joint…alright. That one got a smile from me because it was just such a random moment.  The dismembered body effects were well done.  The little bit during the credits showing that the ghosts are not done with Lily was a little bit helpful to the story, but also kind of a Hail Mary since the ending fell short.

I almost passed over this film mainly because of the title. It’s like at IHOP when you don’t want to order the Rooty Tooty because the name feels like mouth diarrhea. Films re-use titles all the time. Hear No Evil hasn’t been used in awhile, why not recycle that old hat? The horror element is good, the jump-scares are well placed and the shock-value alone is worth a one time look.

Total Rating: C-

Reviewed by: JM Willis

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