By Josie Underhill
As children, most people are scared of the monster hiding in their closets, but as we grow up we are told that monsters don’t exist. At the Heartland Film Festival making its premiere, the film Tatterdemalion contracts this belief, as a woman is told that she has brought a demon into her house.
Tatterdemalion is about a woman named Fern returning from her service in the army to her childhood home to help her brother. She stays in her old home in the forest of the Ozarks. One day, Fern finds a boy named Cecil, who is living alone in the forest. Fern takes Cecil home with her and lets him stay for a couple days. The day after Cecil is brought home, Fern becomes quite ill. She is warned by folks in town that Cecil is a demon, the Tatterdemalion. This is a child that lives in the forest and cannot leave unless carried out. It drains the health of a host, gaining power until the host is dead, then returning to the forest. In the film, Fern must deal with the mystery of Cecil’s past, the old mythical stories of the forest, and the lies all around her.
There are many different stories of the Ozarks of demons and mythology. This film deals with mythological themes as well as the theme of lost children, and how people are reluctant to intervene in situations that aren’t “their problem.” One of the producers said that the filmmakers wanted to make a film with these themes to bring more awareness to these issues. The feature was directed by Ramaa Mosley and stars Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, Taylor John Smith, and Landon Edwards in his first feature role. The film portrays the main themes well and keeps a mood of suspense throughout the entire feature. Every plot twist had the audience at the edge of their seats, as the characters uncovered more of the mysteries of the Ozark. It is a mystery on the verge of a thriller.
Overall, I thought that the storyline was intriguing. It reminded me of a psychological horror movie where you don’t know if it’s all in your head or not. Throughout the entire film, my heart was racing and I couldn’t decide if it was all real or lies. My favorite part was the bond between Fern and Cecil on the screen. It seems so real and heartfelt that it makes both characters and the movie stronger. The unique relationship of these two who both fully didn’t trust one another makes for many dramatic scenes. One part of the movie that is not as successful is the action shots. They are overall shaky and unfocused, making them less effective. However, this was not a huge budget production, so for what the producers had, I’d say it is pretty good.