Head Count is a new horror movie with both mystery and thriller elements. The indie film has a basic plot that’s pretty damn brilliant in its simplicity. Still, it would have been better with a tighter runtime. Read more in our Head Count review here!
Head Count is a new indie horror mystery out now. I absolutely love it when a horror movie comes out with a premise that’s super simple from a filmmaker that knows how to work with creepiness.
That’s definitely something you get with Head Count. If the script and runtime had been just 10% tighter, this could have been a movie along the lines of It Follows or Get Out. Or maybe even one of the brilliant movies from the Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson trilogy.
Recommended reading: Check out our review of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s The Endless here >
As it stands, this indie horror, mystery, thriller hybrid is not as strong as it could have been. But it definitely does have its moments. Read more in our Head Count review below!
A young cast with some familiar faces
The cast of Head Count is quite big since we follow 10 characters for most of the movie. Obviously, some of them take on more of a supporting role while others have a lot more screen time. Overall, I enjoyed every character and all performances. They all did exactly what they needed to at the right time.
Isaac Jay plays the main protagonist, Evan. I honestly found him pretty annoying throughout most of the movie. He was being a real jerk to his brother. We do get a feeling that the brother isn’t very reliable but still. I don’t care for people who don’t care for others. I don’t think I’ve seen Isaac Jay in anything before, but he did a good job here – even if I didn’t like his character much.
His brother, Peyton, who isn’t in the movie that much, is played by Cooper Rowe who I really like. Both in this and in other movies – especially a little indie LGBT movie called Heartland (2017).
My favorite character was Camille, but that’s probably because I enjoyed watching actress Bevin Bru perform. She had an energy and intensity that lifted every scene she was in. She was a bit off in all the right ways, so she keeps you guessing. Again, I don’t think I’ve seen Bevin Bru in anything before, but I do hope to watch her in something again soon.
The ending of Head Count
No, this isn’t one of those “ending explained” pieces. The ending of Head Count is very straight forward. Well, it is if you’ve been paying attention anyway.
However, I have to talk about the ending of Head Count since it would have been greatly improved if the last 5-10 minutes had been cut. Now, I realize this may be a somewhat controversial opinion since it would have left the ending a bit open. However, I thought it was so badass when I believed I was watching the ending.
The last bit probably does need to be there for the Head Count ending to be explained to everyone watching. But a strong shock ending would have been stronger. And a damn bold move.
Also, with those last scenes included, I can see how it ties in perfectly with the opening scene of the movie. It’s almost like a foreshadowing of the Head Count ending without giving away too much.
A very strong feature film debut for Elle Callahan
Head Count was directed by Elle Callahan and it marks her debut as a feature film director. She also came up with the story for Head Count while the script was written by first-time screenwriter, Michel Nader.
Back in 2009, she made the short film Happy Deathday and she already has a next feature film in pre-production. It’s called Witch Hunt and will (once again) be in the horror genre. However, while Elle Callahan is a first-time feature film director, she has worked on some rather big films in the past.
She was the editorial assistant on the director’s cut of Wonder Woman and she was a post-production assistant on Krampus. Also, she worked on stereo production for both Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron. In other words, she’s used to working in this business which explains the impressive production value of Head Count.
If you like a good horror mystery with a simple but solid plot, then check out Head Count. It is so much better than the current 4.8 rating it has on IMDb as I write this.
Head Count is out in theaters and on digital and On Demand from June 14, 2019.
Director: Elle Callahan
Writers: Elle Callahan, Michael Nader
Stars: Ashleigh Morghan, Isaac Jay, Sam Marra, Bevin Bru, Cooper Rowe
Newcomer Evan joins a group of teens on a getaway in Joshua Tree. While exchanging ghost stories around the campfire, Evan reads aloud a mysterious chant from an internet site. From that moment, someone–or something–is among them. As unsettling, inexplicable events become more frequent, Evan realizes this summoned shape-shifting creature is targeting them to fulfill a deadly ritual.