16th Feb2021

‘Amber’s Descent’ Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Kayla Stanton, Michael Mitton, Don Knodel, Nathaniel Vossen, Dione Russell, Colm Hill, Destiny Millns | Written by Micheal Bafaro, Michael Mitton | Directed by Micheal Bafaro

Amber’s Descent kicks off with some Rosemary’s Baby style music and a too long to read quote from Beethoven (not the dog, the other one)… Which puts one on edge straight away, as I am here to be entertained by a thriller, not get an eye test.

Our glamourous and aspirational Amber is visiting an enormous home in the mountains. Amber is a composer, and somehow earns enough, in her twenties to afford this enormous home with panoramic views. As Amber is being shown the home, by the estate agent, the home is already curiously inhabited with books, a piano that all seems very suited to Amber. She is told that anything in the house can be included in the asking price.

We get flashes of a trauma that Amber has suffered, presumably back at her old home in Seattle. Soon enough, Amber is alone in the huge house and running around, getting paranoid. The sound design is good, it builds the sense of isolation and the key theme of music works extremely well. Amber is trying to escape her past, and at the same time, come up with a new composition. She is alone in the house, except for a cat and the handyman (“Jim”) who rather comes and goes, and Amber has latched onto for companionship.

Kayla Stanton stands out as the titular Amber, she is a good actress and gives a great performance. Meanwhile Michael Mitton, as Jim, is a bit more mediocre but his character is likeable. In that, very sinister kind of way…

Spooky doings start to build up, but the 90-minute run time feels long for such a simple story. The central performance is good, but the plot feels predictable and tired. It is only the last 20 minutes when things start to warm up a bit, but an hour and ten minutes of predictable tension – building at a glacial pace – is a lot to sit through for such a mediocre and rushed pay off. It is a common theme among low-budget horror thrillers where whole scenes go by, failing to add anything to the story before the sudden dash at the end is left too late to provide a satisfying conclusion.

The overall film making competence is good, which isn’t something anyone can take for granted with low-budget film making! It is just that Amber’s Descent is not quite interesting enough to hold the attention. With a bit more work, a few more memorable scenes, this might well have been a little gem of a film. Sadly, it is just a little too thin to recommend. A film in a similar vein to this was The Luring which I thought had rather more to say and said it in a more interesting and entertaining way (I still remember the excellent bowling alley scene).

Though saying all that, I do look forward to seeing more of Kayla Stanton in future roles. Plus, keep an eye out for the priest’s brilliant fake hair and beard!

Unfortunately, as far as thrillers go, Amber’s Descent was less than arresting.


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