Director(s) – Rebecca Comtois (House Guests), Bryan Enk (The Big Bad), Jessi Gotta (Late Nite Local), Matthew Gray, Shannon K. Hall, and Jane Rose (The Horror of H.P. Lovecraft)
Starring – Jessi Gotta, Nat Cassidy (They Will Outlive Us All), and Jesse VanDerveer (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 3.5/5
Its hard for indie horror films to be original. Most want to be successful so they take the safe route creating films that are not unique. Recent trends have been found footage paranormal, 80s inspired slashers, and the post-Walking Dead zombie movie. These movies are a dime a dozen now and for the most part they suck. You can find a few gems here and there in each of these popular subgenres but most are turds in a DVD case. However, that is not always the case.
Some filmmakers want to stand out and make a name for themselves so they create bold movies that stand out. One such movie is The Moose Head Over the Mantel. This was one that was new to me. One of the film’s many directors, Bryan Enk, reached out to me to check it out and I’m glad they did because I really enjoyed myself with this one. Thank you Bryan and company for allowing me to see the film!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a family who has lived in the same house for several generations. The newest generation living in the house has a son with a dark side that has caused the family some severe trauma and grief. While unpacking stuff from storage they uncovered several journals where they learn that the family has a dark past and the moose over the mantel has seen it all unfold for decades.**Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect from The Moose Head Over the Mantel but it looked to be fun especially considering that some of the cast and crew was associated with They Will Outlive Us All. The film had plenty of room for improvement but I really enjoyed it. It is one of my favorite Wild Eye releases.
The acting in this one is solid but a little stiff. We once again get a fantastic performance from Jessi Gotta. She is a very strong actress and this film shows that. She gives an emotional performance. I would love to see her take on a more demanding role. Possibly as a final girl in a brutal slasher or creature feature. The rest of the cast does a great job but there is some scenes where it flows almost like a stage production. The cast is very flamboyant and over-dramatic which isn’t bad but it doesn’t fit the film at times.
The story for this one is great and very unique. I really like the concept but there is a few things I would change to make it more enjoyable. I love how the entire film takes place in one room and centered around the moose’s head. With that being said, I don’t like how it jumps from generation to generation like it does. It gets a little confusing from time to time while the viewer tries to figure out what era they are in. It would have made more sense to have the person reading the journal start from the earliest journal and work their forward. It would have made it more streamlined and the viewer wouldn’t have to get so involved with it.
Finally, this one isn’t a blood and gore show like a good portion of my reviews are. Instead, this is a stylish piece that relies heavily on character development and interaction to get the point across. Overall, The Moose Head Over the Mantel may not be reinventing the genre but it still delivers. It is a unique film that is rather bold and stylish in an age where originality no longer matters. Check it out.