I’m a fan of Griff Furst, and I find he brings more value to the entertainment industry outside of being the son of the late comedic legend Stephen Furst of Animal House fame. Not only did Griff bring a terrific slasher to life with 2011’s Mask Maker, but he’s also become Lord of the Sharks by creating CGI monster hits like Swamp Shark, Ghost Shark and the recently released Trailer Park Shark. When I saw that he was the mastermind behind Cold Moon, I was excited to see him scale back the craziness in return for a rich, slow-burn story. Cold Moon is a less in your face, house in the woods type of horror that genre buffs can relax while watching. It’s a cross between My Soul to Take and Wild Things; a southern ghost story, murder mystery with a slight slasher element at its edges. And if you can’t tell by now, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The acting is so believable and realistic, and the cinematography is exquisite. Cold Moon is absolutely flawless and movie cinema ready, and yet I think it’s going to be a miss for casual viewers. I think the current crop of casual horror viewers are looking for fast paced, gore infested, shitfests where instant gratification and repetition is in place to hold their attention. That is certainly not the case with Cold Moon. Its story is deep-rooted in traditional storytelling and allowing its progression to happen at a moderate pace. The twists and turns are more minor than shock-and-awe, but they’re there and it took me back to a better time in cinema. I was so impressed with Griff Furst’s screenplay, which was adapted from Michael McDowell’s novel Cold Moon Over Babylon, that its purity and rarity is deserving of an Oscar nomination. I only wish more horror films were written with such depth, precision and room to grow.
That’s not to say that the horror takes a backseat to the drama and character building. There are two very effective jump scares that’ll shake you as long as you allow yourself to get engrossed in this movie. The appearance of the ghost is unnerving because of its mystery; you don’t know why she’s appearing and what her goal is. She’s creepy and has an innovative way of moving around. But, I think the visuals are what’s going to put a smile across all of your faces. Again, the cinematography and camera work is phenomenal and highlight some pretty unnerving scenes. The first appearance of the ghost and the graveyard scene are breathtaking, scary, and picture perfect horror moments that are well worth the wait. Cold Moon also contains slight slasher material, so I can confirm that this movie has a small body count and a couple of blood splatters. I guess you can say this movie has a little something for everybody!
Cold Moon is written by Griff Furst and Jack Snyder. It was directed and edited by Furst with cinematographer Thomas L. Callaway. Furst also produced the movie with Stephen Furst, Isaiah Laborde, and executive producers Arthur Scanlan, Lee C. Rogers, Ross Hebert, Miguel Sandoval, Smokey Scanlan and Tonya Bellamy. Lead and supporting cast members include Josh Stewart (The Collection, “Criminal Minds”), Candy Clark (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cherry Falls), Robbie Kay (“Once Upon A Time”), Frank Whaley (“The Dead Zone”), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Rachele Brooke Smith (Atomic Shark), Chester Rushing (“Stranger Things”) and Jaiden Kaine (“The Vampire Diaries”). I know this review might seem kind of vague, but I wanted to keep this as spoiler free as possible, especially because it follows a side of the story you’d never expect. Is the ghostly happenings drunken hallucinations fueled by a guilty conscious or something else? No surprise here that a novel-to-film adaption from the mind behind Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas was so well done.
This is a great addition to your October horror movie line up. Save it for a quiet, peaceful night and get lost in this enchantingly dark horror-drama. Final Score: 8 out of 10.