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Devastated by the death of her younger sister, Lily Morel seeks solace at the spiritualist community of Cassadaga. But instead of finding closure, she contacts something else - the vengeful ghost of a murdered young woman. With her life crumbling all-around her, Lily races to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding the woman's death - a task that will bring her face-to-face with a sadistic serial killer known only as "Geppetto". Written by
"Dread", Anthony DiBlasi's first movie is among my favorites, so I was quite thrilled seeing his second movie being ready. I was a little bummed when seeing it basically is a restless ghost story but hats of to the writing. They really made this word by incorporating several Slasher and Giallo influences (pretty obvious from the Italian influenced poster artwork) and writing a stone solid script.
"Cassadaga" deals with a deaf girl who loses her beloved little sister in a car crash and heads of for an off-time in a psychic community (the title-giving Cassadaga) to clear her head. After a séance gone wrong she is haunted by visions of a ghost-zombie-girl who won't leave her alone before she clears the story of her death. So up to here this is some really worn out story material but the girls deafness is incorporated in a pretty creative way and the lead character works perfect. Also the story of the nice guy falling for he after she gives his daughter painting lessons is kind of different with him being torn between a girl seeing ghosts and having regular breakdowns and fighting to keep custody for his daughter. Now when the killer is introduced it gets pretty messy since "Gepetto" is obsessed with puppets and tries to build human marionettes by severing limbs and reattaching them to the living dolls in a pretty bizarre way.
The movie manages to serve you some disturbing imagery, staying close to the basic ghost story and yet throwing you curve balls from the beginning on and mixing things up in a puzzling thriller-type of way that keeps you guessing all the time. With all that "Cassadaga" manages to be a creative and kind of different ghost movie that will also satisfy the gore hounds. The whole movie has a pretty romantic feel with the girls relationships to her sister and the nice guy and I think they went a little heavy on the music which along with some wooden acting was the weakest point in the movie and often came across rather cheesy. But besides these flaws its still a really solid movie and among the few better horror movies of last year.
Like in "Dread" DiBlasi manages to tell interesting and different stories with a strong focus on the story telling and right amount of sledgehammer to the head. I'll definitely be looking out for his future movies.
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