06th Jun2014

‘The Pit’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Kaitlin Cullum, Larry Fessenden, Sean Young | Written and Directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle

jug-face-cast

Ada, her family and a small isolated backwoods community worship a mysterious pit. The pit has the power to heal and protect all who honor it but at a deadly price…it demands an occasional sacrifice. The pit communicates through the local potter who, while in a trance, crafts ceramic jugs that carry the face of a person to be sacrificed to the entity that lives within it. Ada has a secret about the latest jug face that she’s determined to keep hidden but the pit demands a sacrifice and unleashes an evil onto the community until it gets who it really wants.

Modernciné, the studio behind the likes of Headspace, The Girl Next Door and The Woman, delve deep into the backwoods of America once again for The Pit, a supernatural horror that turns traditional backwoods horror convention on its head in its tale of the (literal) evils of religion, which also reunites two of the stars of The Woman – Sean Bridgers and Lauren Ashley Carter. I say turns traditional backwoods horror convention on its head as, unlike many of its ilk, this film sees the yokels of this particular uber-religious community turn on each other NOT your usual city-slicking outsiders.

The epitomy of a slow-burner, The Pit is not really a “scary movie”, in fact the film (beyond the “backwoods” tag) is hard to pigeon hole. Instead of all-out shocks and frights, writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle goes for an unsettling atmosphere and makes spectacular use of the films setting, with a vibe similar to the likes of Children of the Corn and Deadly Blessing, yet run through the same Jack Ketchum-style vision that made The Girl Next Door and The Woman so effective. And much like those movies, there’s also plenty of brutality on show – although Kinkle knows exactly how much to so and how much to leave to the imagination, which is a rare thing these days!

The Pit is one hell of a debut feature. With solid direction backed by a fantastic script and superb performances throughout, it’s sincerely hard to believe this is Kinkle’s first feature-length film (and is in fact only his second movie following the short Organ Grinder). Yes, the ghostly “shunned” and its appearance is a bit of a mis-step but that can no doubt be put down to the films small budget and the fact that the rest of the film, despite the supernatural elements of ‘the pit’, seem so real.

In The Pit Kinkle has built a well-crafted universe, especially given that the film runs a mere 80 minutes – a true culmination of plotting acting and locale that have come together to make something truly special.

The Pit is released on DVD on June 9th courtesy of 101 Films.

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