Director(s) – Sean Blau (Clay) and Adam Petke (The Soil’s Soft Horizon)
Starring – Ryan Finnerty (Children of Sorrow), Dylan O’Brien (A Killer of Men), and Katie Reed (Yellow Sky)
Release Date – 2013
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “And so she fertilized the soil with Her blessed Children”
In January 2013 I saw a post on the Horror Society Facebook page where they were looking for new writers. I had been writing reviews on my blog for about a year at that point and jumped at the offer. I emailed Mitch and within a few days he responded and offered me the spot. Since then I have had a lot of filmmakers reach out to me to check their films out and write about what I thought about them. However, I still sometimes come across a film I have never heard of before and I have to check it out. That is what I love about indie horror. The pool for indie horror is so vast and deep that it is impossible to see them all.
One night I was browsing Facebook when I cam across a Facebook page for a small reviews blog. The page, whose name eludes me, was really impressive. The blog had a lot of reviews for films I had reviewed before but it also had a great deal of films that I have never heard of. However, one really stuck out to me. That film, The Sunderland Experiment, looked incredible. I had to see it so I reached out to the Facebook page for the film and they were nice enough to hook me up with a link to the screener and for that I am very thankful.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a small group of teenagers who live in a small desert outpost away from others. These teenagers attend a makeshift school where they learn about the “angels.” The small settlement is watched over by a tentacled being they refer to as an angel. Those that welcome the angel get to be planted in the desert where they can be reborn and those that reject it are forced to leave.
Several of the teenagers are forced out because they do not accept the angel but things turn real shitty for the teenagers when one of the young girls becomes pregnant which is something that does not happen under the angels watch forcing the young girl, her friend, and a crazy outcast to fight the angel.**Spoiler Alert**
Very rarely does a film live up to the expectation set by other horror fans. I don’t know how many times a friend has told me a movie was amazing only to be completely let down. The same can be said about your very own expectations. Sometimes I will see a film’s poster art and set an extremely high expectation that is almost impossible to reach. With that being said, The Sunderland Experiment blew my expectations completely out of the water. In fact, the film was nothing like I expected at all. From the title I assumed this one was going to be a solid sci-fi flick but the film was able to be a successful horror hybrid.
The acting in this one is spot on by the entire cast. The cast delivers the story flawlessly while keeping the film entertaining and fun. The entire cast really needs a round of applause. The story for this one is complex as hell and detailed to the fullest. In fact, the story is so detailed that I am sure my story segment (above) is probably wrong. Very few indie horror flicks go to the lengths that this one does and it definitely pays off in the end.
Finally, the film does have some great gore. The special effects in this one is hit and miss. The practical effects and gore look great. However, the CGI and visual effects are very weak. I enjoyed the look of the creature (lifelong Lovecraft fan) but the CGI just did not fit the look and flow of the film. Better visual effects would have went a long way. Overall, The Sunderland Experiment is a film that has to be seen. It truly is a cinematic gem that needs to be in any film collector’s collection. Check it out if you get the chance.