Director – Rich Rule (No Knock List, Khange Tha Game)
Starring – Kristen Mitchem (The Axeman of Henderson County, The Last Witch Hunter), Toni Marie Perry (Khange Tha Game), and Maria Olsen (Paranormal Activity 3, Neighbors)
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “The monsters are inside us”
I always look forward to checking out a movie that has something to do with my state. West Virginia doesn’t give a lot of love to independent filmmakers. It is a real struggle for them due to a number of reasons. Lack of support is usually the biggest obstacle they will face.
I recently received No Knock List and Marrtown from West Virginia filmmaker Rich Rule. I’ll be completely honest. I was not expecting to like No Knock List but I couldn’t wait to see Marrtown. The poster sold me on the film while No Knock List looked like a film I would typically skip. I was wrong and actually enjoyed No Knock List and couldn’t wait to toss in Marrtown. Thank You Rich for sending these two films my way.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Theo (Mitchem) who has returned home so she can finish college. Her father recently passed away and her mother has turned to the bottle to cope. Theo is struggling as well. She is about to flunk out of college and now something strange is starting to happen to her. She suspects she is part of a cursed bloodline and may actually be a witch. He lives takes an even darker turn when she is given a locket which may be the cause for all her bad luck…or is it?**Spoiler Alert**
I really wanted to like Marrtown. No Knock List really shocked me by how well it was done and how solid the cast was. The artwork had me sold on Marrtown but it just did not go the distance. It has tremendous potential but fell short.
The acting in this one is extremely uneven. Kristen Mitchem can carry a scene. She is a very strong lead with some fantastic acting chops and easy on the eyes. It would be a damn shame if we don’t see her more in indie horror. Sadly, her supporting cast just doesn’t offer up as an entertaining performance. Most of the cast struggles with volume control and spend most of the screen screaming at the viewer. At first I found this funny but as the film progressed I became a little agitated with turning the volume up and down. Most of the characters are easily excitable and struggle to keep a calm demeanor even among scenes that don’t call for it.
The story for this one has so much potential. I fucking love stories centered around witches and the occult. We don’t see that a lot now but when one of these movies crosses my desk I sure as shit get excited. Marrtown had a bold and ambitious concept but it was unable to pull all the elements together into an effective supernatural horror film. The film moves painfully slow and then when the story hits an interesting turn we are then given something extremely predictable. There is no real consistency as the film progresses.
Finally, gorehounds will not be satisfied with this one. We get some decent practical effects early on and some very questionable visual effects here and there but nothing that stands out. Overall, Marrtown had all the makings to be an unforgettable indie production but the pieced together story and inexperienced cast held it back. After watching Rule’s newest film I’m confident to say that if he ever wanted to tackle this film again it would be something that fans would want in their collection.