Cold Moon (2017) Review
Cold Moon is a 2017 crime/horror film about an ancient evil that has come to a small Southern town seeking terrible revenge.
Let me throw some names at you. Christopher Lloyd. Josh Stewart. Frank Whaley. Tommy Wiseau. Heck, I’ll even toss in Rachele Brooke Smith, a young actress who’s been turning up a lot lately in big budget movies. You’re probably thinking one of those names doesn’t make sense, that being Wiseau, who is most famous for his now legendary bad movie The Room in which he has been endlessly lampooned for his awkward performance and more. Well, he’s only in Griff Furst‘s latest quais-horror film Cold Moon for a moment, but it would seem his influence on the project is boundless. A curiously off-center, badly-acted, and yet diabolically entertaining work of madness, Cold Moon takes a bit to really ‘get,’ but if you’re willing to embrace its lunacy, it has its charms.
Set in Babylon, Florida in 1989, a girl named Margaret Larkin (Sara Catherine Bellamy) rides off to high school on her bicycle, but when she doesn’t return, it sends her brother Jerry (Chester Rushing) and their grandmother Evelyn (Candy Clark) into a panic and accusing local bigwig Nathan Redfield (Josh Stewart) of murder. Seems “Red” and his father James (Lloyd) are making a squeeze on Evelyn’s land. Meanwhile, local sheriff Ted Hale (Whaley) has another suspect in mind, a teacher at school named Walter Perry (Marcus Lyle Brown). As evidence mounts and more bodies pile up, an evil presence seems behind the whole affair, looking to take revenge on the real killer.
So, by the sounds of it, Cold Moon has all the right parts in place to load up a standard horror thriller, and indeed, there’s a few well-made bits that offer interesting imagery as the hauntings escalate. Floating coffins, ghosts on invisible bikes and plenty of spooky jump scares pop up, however, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a legit horror film as it’s far from it. This is camp from frame one, and with Michael McDowell, the writer of the The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice stories serving as source material, his 1980 novel Cold Moon Over Babylon the basis for the film, there’s a little precedent already in place, though Cold Moon is not a quirky Tim Burton film.
The larger problem with Cold Moon though is its excess. Too many characters, too many unnecessary deaths, too many repetitive jump scares of the same ghosts, and too many really bad accents. There’s a theme at play, a loose one, but linkable throughout and yet it’s never as weighted as it should be, the filmmakers more interested in the ghouls that enforce it than the impact on its victim. Still, the commitment Furst seems to have gotten from his actors to color outside the lines of his already campy experiment almost elevate this to the next level. Lloyd, barely on screen for a few minutes is cantankerously over the top, as is Stewart who stumbles about as if drugged (an acting choice that is all too briefly touched on in the movie). Smith spends nearly the entire production in skimpy bikinis and states of (non-nude) undress, bouncing about spouting corny dialogue that keeps her oddly chipper and out of touch. Whaley tries on what seems like a purposefully caricaturized Southern drawl and countrified sheriff that is the most entertaining and Robbie Kay as the youngest Redfield is like a 1950s B-movie exposition artist. Wiseau is gone in a blink. Then there’s Clark, who takes every line she has and turns it up to twelve.
To be sure, Cold Moon knows what it’s doing and everything I just mentioned is surely a conscious choice by Furst, meant to give his film a pulpy feel. There’s a good story here and while it certainly is never boring, it remains an offbeat genre film that should have played more into either its horror or its camp, not both.
Cold Moon is in theaters and VOD October 6.
Cold Moon (2017) Review
Movie description: Cold Moon is a 2017 crime/horror film about an ancient evil that has come to a small Southern town seeking terrible revenge.
Director(s): Griff Furst
Actor(s): Christopher Lloyd, Tommy Wiseau, Josh Stewart