Oh hi friends, how’s it going?
So, a while ago we were on a real tear about the new James Cullen Bressack film “Bethany”. We even did a podcast episode where we talked about watching it. Since I actually really dug the film, I figured I would pop on here to write a little something about it.
Now, James Cullen Bressack is no stranger to the crew at the graveyard. He was previously interviewed here by our now deceased correspondent Wicked, and we remain faithful fans of his work. James has a very distinct and selfless dedication to what he is trying to accomplish with his films and further, James is a wonderful person who has always been supportive of us.
When we first heard about Bethany, we were definitely intrigued. Mostly because of James, but further because of the inclusion of Shannon Doherty, Tom Green and rising genre actress Stephanie Estes.
Bethany tells the story of Claire (played by Stephanie Estes) who returns to her childhood home with her husband following the death of her mother (Shannon Doherty). Claire is very obviously a very broken person, still recovering from the emotional and physical scars of her abusive childhood with her mother. Claire also is recovering from the loss of a child, and a suicide attempt that followed this loss.
Claire seems to be a very fragile woman, and her relationship with her husband is strained.
Moving into her childhood home isn’t necessarily a welcome experience and is a strange type of home coming. Within less then a day of moving into the home, Claire begins to experience strange hallucinations, flashbacks, and appears to be haunted by a strange ghostly presence.
Theres a lot of really great body horror in this film.
And James has definitely mastered the art of beautiful transition shot. The cinematography is also quite brilliant in this film. I can assume, probably safely and accurately, that the funding for this film was limited, but a lot was done in order to make it look as good as it did, and that boils down to a lot of raw talent from James and from the actors. Stephanie Estes as Claire did a wonderful job portraying someone adrift in grief and mental illness, haunted by her past with her frightening mother.
Shannon Doherty was genuinely fucking creepy as Mommy Dearest. I think what makes her especially creepy is her kind face which twists into this hellish mask of emotions when she is playing up the anger of the mother.
She really portrayed everyone’s momma from hell, and it was nice to see her in something like this (I’m a Charmed fan).
As the haunting of Claire seems to increase in both prevalence and severity, Claire drifts further into the grips of mental illness and possession, with lines often seeming to blur between the two. She hallucinates and attempts suicide, and ends up in the hospital.
Tom Green also shows up in this film as a family friend and holy moly, I dunno if it was just me, but he was looking spicy as hell and definitely fuckable.
He also potentially looked like he could front an Irish drinking punk band like the Dropkick Murphys or something.
Super babely and bearded. WOULD BANG 10/10.
Unfortunately, like many babely dudes before him, Tom Green ends up getting killed pretty quickly.
Following her suicide attempt, Claire does some wandering in the local hospital and begins to uncover some rather disturbing information about her mother, including that Claire had a twin sister, who was deformed and locked away in the basement.
A real Bart and Hugo situation, if you will.
Turns out that when Claire and her mum went away for the week on a camping trip, her deformed sister died and now the ghost of said creepy ass girl is haunting the shit out of the house.
As Claire begins to understand the reality of what happened to her twin, she enters the crawl space to the basement and finds the skeletal remains of her sister and releases her spirit (or so she thinks).
Just before the credits roll, Claire looks into the mirror and sees the image of her sister, suggesting that perhaps the two have become one.
So, in terms of this film doing anything brand new, it really didn’t. It was a very familiar standard haunted house kind of story, with and obvious twist. I think what set it apart was the brilliant cinematography and the fact that it was entertaining.
It didn’t really cut into any new ground, but I liked it just the same. Strong performances and the story was genuinely creepy with a good dose of gross out body horror.
I really recommend this one, and wish to offer a sincere thanks to October Coast for hooking us up with this one, and we look very much forward to seeing future performances from Stephanie Estes..