(director: Simon Ross; screenwriter: David Griffiths; cinematographer: Luke Hanlein; editor: Simon Ross; cast: Mark Paul Gosselaar (Brookes), Virginia Madsen (Mags), Isidora Goreshter (Officer Bartlett), Ryan Kwanten (Alex), Sharon Gardner (Collector), Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Sofia Dubose), Emree Franklin (The Young Woman), Steffie Baik (Esther), Santiago Segura (Deputy Alvarez), Barry Ratcliffe (auctioneer), Chuck Van Lawson (Business Party Goer), Tensaye Yosef (Liv); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: R; producers: David Griffiths, Christian de Gallegos; Saban Films; 2023-UK/USA)

“A slow moving dark Gothic film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Simon Ross, in his feature film debut, is the competent Brit director of this horror/mystery thriller. It’s scripted by David Griffiths. It reminds one of “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”

Sofia Dubose (Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Mexican actress) goes to the old Dubose estate to care for her catatonic husband Alex (Ryan Kwanten) after a tragic accident. While in the attic, she’s startled to find a self-portrait of Alex’s great-grandfather Calvin that looks exactly like Alex.

The guilt-ridden Sofia hides that she was the one responsible for Alex’s brain injury in an accident during a violent marital spat, and has brought him here so he can recover.

When Sofia asks about the man in the portrait, she’s told he was a violent and cruel man whose wealth kept the law away.

Her contacts at the estate are with the hard-working, reformed bad boy, the gardener Brookes (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and her hubby’s scheming cousin and family matriarch, Mags (Virginia Madsen).

Things take a supernatural turn, as she suspects the eyes of her doppelganger husband on her. There’s a hint of violence in the air, and there are noises and strange movements indicating the house is haunted.
It’s a slow moving dark Gothic film, with understated chills that has the heroine Sofia think she’s cracking up. It would have been more effective as an hour TV show, like The Twilight Zone. Though classy it doesn’t have enough material for a feature film. But Cordova-Buckley’s outstanding performance keeps the psychodrama unnerving and a good watch.


REVIEWED ON 12/16/2023  GRADE: B-