(director/writer: Chris Skotchdopole; screenwriters: story by Skotchdopole, Larry Fessenden and Rigo Garay; cinematographer: Adam Carboni; editor: Chris Skotchdopole; cast: Rigo Garay (Shane), Ella Rae Peck (Leah), John Speredakos (John Spinelli), Lorraine Farris (Rose), David Macke (Garry); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: James Skotchdopole, Larry Fessenden, Brian Devine, Chadd Harbold, Bonnie Timmermann; Glass Eye Pix; 2023)

“The quirky story makes totally for an odd watch.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Chris Skotchdopole makes his home invasion feature film debut a distorted character study. It’s written and directed by him, and is based on a story by him, Larry Fessenden and Rigo Garay.

The insecure up-and-coming Latino author Shane (Rigo Garay), from working-class roots and with a strained relationship with his father, has just written his debut novel and has just been married to the problematic Leah (Ella Rae Peck), who works as an agent in the publishing house for his book. The bride is already miserable her mother talked her into this unlikely marriage of convenience, which is off to a bad start. Absent from the wedding is the groom’s father, who did not get an invite to the big bash from the bride.

After driving to their remote woodsy honeymoon retreat, a borrowed gift from the editor in her publishing house, their sleazy wedding caterer, a smiling John Spinelli (
John Speredakos), and his angry-looking wife Rose (Lorraine Farris), are at their door. When they make their way inside, even when not welcomed, they mention they brought the wedding cake left behind at the reception hall. John again tries his pitch for his get-rich-quick scheme, for him to invest in his useless Crumb Catcher invention.

The unwelcome guests won’t leave, as the cringe-worthy hustlers try to force their will on the newlyweds. Things will turn mysteriously dark, as during the night the farce turns uncomfortably to tragicomedy, and ends in an absurd car chase.

The script is clever. The newlyweds are deliciously unappetizing, and don’t deserve any of our sympathy. And the quirky story makes totally for an odd watch, whereby all the characters are both creepy and funny. It’s an indie film as original as it ought to be.

It played at the Brooklyn Horror Film Fest.

REVIEWED ON 12/17/2023  GRADE: B+