Seventeen years ago, Mike Gillis killed a new mother of twin girls and took the babies to a house in the woods, claiming them as his own to appease his wife's desire for kids. After Mike ...
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Mark Boone Junior
Seventeen years ago, Mike Gillis killed a new mother of twin girls and took the babies to a house in the woods, claiming them as his own to appease his wife's desire for kids. After Mike committed multiple murders over seven years to "protect" the growing girls locked in the basement, even finally killing his wife, one day a fire in the house causes it to collapse on Mike and the twins. In present day, Stacy Walker flees to her uncle's old secluded cabin in those same woods to escape her abusive boyfriend. Once there, her head begins to clear and she feels free to be with her thoughts. That first night she is haunted by the ghosts of the little girls crying for their mother. Meanwhile, Detective Black is investigating the 17-year-old case of the twins' disappearance and their mother's murder. The cold trail suddenly turns warm when the case leads to the same secluded mountainous region where Stacy has escaped. As Stacy is beginning to figure out her life, as well as trying to unravel ... Written by
Visible Scars is an indie thriller, which released in the middle of April. This title won "Best Picture" at the 2012 Shockfest and there is a reason why. This multi-genred film builds momentum as it moves through Acts II and III. Beginning slowly, Visible Scars draws the viewer in to a story of abuse, which later turns into murder. This title is a compelling film, with an intriguing conclusion.
The story is dual in nature. The film begins with two sisters, who are kidnapped by a psychopathic man and killer. They are raised in poor conditions, until their new home is destroyed by an accidental fire. The film moves ahead several years. The second half of the story involves a new group of characters. Stacy (Jillian Murray) is a young girl who is looking for peace of mind. She has recently been abused by her boyfriend, Brad (Jonas Fisch). So, she seeks shelter in some local woods. Unfortunately for Stacy, these woods are now ruled by a bloodthirsty tour de force. Let the mayhem begin! Some of that mayhem can be found in the film's wide assortment of characters. Viewers should try and spot the protagonist. Is there one? Instead of a hero or central figure leading the story, there are numerous minor characters introduced and outroduced often and quickly. The minor cast of characters are still multiplying into the third act of the film and even ten minutes before the film ends. This is an unusual way to develop a story. Yet, the narrative works, by keeping events on screen interesting, with all of these diverse personalities.
The film also pulls off a bait and switch, in regards to genres. Visible Scars begins as a crime thriller. An early murder takes place and then a kidnapping. So, viewers might be expecting a simple detective story to take place. But, at the midpoint of the film, the genre changes to horror, unexpectedly. The criminal investigation is mostly forgotten as more and more bodies turn up in some woodland. The gore increases along with the bloodflow and a few viewers might not know who is causing all of the chaos. There are a few surprises to be found in this feature, which is one of the film's more enjoyable elements.
Visible Scars is a compelling and very watchable feature. Richard Turke's first feature film is well shot. There are several great external shots involving natural scenery. The setting is a sight to see. As well, the acting in this feature is well done. Actress Jillian Murray brings a great performance with her character Stacy. Stacy has a few personalities hidden under her beautiful exterior. And, Murray hints at her character's strangeness. Other actors bring equally solid performances. Also, Visible Scars picks up speed as it moves through the film's climax and into the conclusion. Just when you expect the film to keep going, it ends too soon and the open ending might leave some wanting more. These elements and many more make this indie thriller a must-see.
Visible Scars was released, in this critic's opinion, under-the-radar April 6th, 2013 on DVD. This title is available for only a few dollars ($5-6) and this horror film fanatic would recommend this film to fans of indie thrillers. Though, viewers will have to be patient as Visible Scars takes awhile to develop. But, the payoff and ensuing chaos is well worth the wait. Visible Scars is a must-see that most will not forget. And, some viewers will even be expecting a sequel.
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