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Review: DESOLATION (2017)

A young woman swept off her feet by a rich and handsome suitor. Whisked off to his lavish home far from her own, she is suddenly left alone to deal with frightening events. A staple plot since the days of the original Gothic novels. In his directorial debut, DESOLATION, actor David Moscow (BIG, NEWSIES) takes this cliché and gives it a wicked twist.

Katie (Dominik García-Lorido WILD CARD) works at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. When Hollywood star, Jay (Brock Kelly, PITCH PERFECT) stays there, she catches his eye, and he brings her back to Los Angeles with him. Things go well until he’s called off to film on location.

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Left alone, Katie soon has to deal with a break-in and some very hostile cops. She begs Jay to send money or come home, but he does neither. When her hometown paper arrives complete with her obituary, it becomes clear there are evil forces at work.

I have to give major props to DESOLATION, as it set me up perfectly. The apartment building has a dark history, Jay’s apartment doesn’t have a number, his neighbour is a priest, Father Bill (Raymond J. Barry SUDDEN DEATH, MADE IN CHINATOWN), etc.

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I was expecting a traditional ghost story, but this goes in a completely different direction, leading to a last half-hour that had me on the edge of my seat. Writers, Craig Walendziak and Matthew McCarty, have a talent for misdirecting the audience without resorting to implausible twists. The film manages to keep its own logic even while disguising where it’s going; a refreshing thing in a genre filled with unlikely twists.

A film that will keep you guessing until the end, DESOLATION is one of the stronger contenders to get the new year off to a good start for the genre. There will be a theatrical release in New York City and Los Angeles on Jan 26th via Parade Deck Films, with more dates to follow. Gravitas Ventures will bring it to VOD April 28th for those not lucky enough to have it play in their city.

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