11th Jun2020

‘Lost Child’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, Taylor John Smith, Landon Edwards, Toni Chritton Johnson, Debbie Sutcliffe, Kip Duane Collins, Nicole Parnell, Shane Davis, Donald Fisher | Written by Tim Macy, Ramaa Mosley | Directed by Ramaa Mosley

In Lost Child (aka Tatterdemalion, which is a much cooler title) an Army veteran suffering from PTSD returns home to see her brother but before she does she discovers a young boy living in the woods. From this she discovers local town folklore about monsters and demons which make her question taking the child in.

The story sounds like a typical low budget horror but thankfully Lost Child never really heads down that route despite constantly teasing to. And I’m still not sure whether I would have preferred it to or not. Instead it takes a much more serious tone with hints of horror but a more real-life horror. The demons are both real and imaginary.

Lost Child does have a slow pace to it. That slow burn style of film but it never really picks up,not even for a dramatic final ten minutes. Even with its big conclusion, proceedings are kind of subdued.

On top of this, almost everyone and everything is dreary. The characters are depressed, beat down and even emotionless at times (particularly the lost child) – this is not a movie to cheer you up. The only break we get from this is Jim Parrack (True Blood) as Mike. Playing a social worker, he seems to be the only character who looks on the bright side of things but it’s an uphill task for him to keep the whole town smiling! Parrack is really enjoyable in the role, there’s something infinitely likeable about him as an actor and it shows here. All the performances are good, with Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games) doing well in the lead as Fern. It’s a subtle but good performance in which she shows her versatility as an actress.

The choice to play the child as almost entirely emotionless does make sense storyline wise but didn’t help when it comes to the viewer caring about him and the people around him. Without going down the typical horror movie route,the director chooses to focus everything on the relationships of the characters and I just wasn’t as emotionally involved as I should have been, meaning that any big moments weren’t as impactful as they could have been.

Some of the script doesn’t quite work. The triangle of nails above your door to keep away an evil spirit of sorts seems a bit ridiculous even in a movie where the locals believe the demon called Tatterdemalion is real. And although it is constantly referred to that the lead has PTSD, it never seems to add anything worthwhile to the film. Lost Child does do well to keep you guessing at where it is heading and who’s good and bad, literally right up until its final seconds.

Would it have been a better movie if we had seem monsters and blood and gore? Maybe more fun but that’s definitely not what the filmmakers are going for so I think it was the right choice to make the kind of film they did. But the gritty, hard-hitting tone just didn’t draw me in enough, so while Lost Child was decent enough, I was left feeling very little as the end credits rolled.

*** 3/5

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