The Girl In The Photographs delivers moments of absolute horror – but also too many scenes with no point to the story
There are some definite highlights and low points in The Girl In The Photographs and being the kind of person, who prefers to look at things in a “glass half full”-way, I’m going to focus on the good stuff first.
The characters and acting will always be a huge part of any movie, and when it comes to The Girl In The Photographs, I was blown away by every scene featuring Luke Baines (As Night Comes) or Miranda Rae Mayo (True Detective, Pretty Little Liars). These two stole every single scene, they appeared in, and I have to admit, I would’ve loved to see a lot more of them. They brought in an energy and edge that made this the kind of horror movie, where you feel unsure of the progress and outcome, because they keep you guessing.
Another mention has to go to Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps), who is always a great addition. She has pretty much made a career in the horror genre, so if you watch enough horror, you feel like you see her at least once every year or so – or maybe I just watch movies on repeat too much?! Last, but not least, is the joker in this cast: Funny-guy Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar) plays a very serious photographer, who is very full of himself. I liked his portrayal, but he is really balancing right on the edge of being a stereotypical jerk in a comedic sense. To me, he gets away with it, but it’s like Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther in Batman v Superman where you find yourself both impressed by his balls… and you want to slap him back to his senses.
Unfortunately, I can’t get around the fact that I’m not mentioning the lead actress, Claudia Lee (Kick-Ass 2). I just found myself not really caring all that much. The storyline for her was too Nicholas Sparks, which really isn’t a welcomed comparison in the horror genre. I felt like I should care about her, but I just didn’t really. Maybe she didn’t have much to work with, because the script constantly had her running up the stairs, when she should’ve been running out the door. I mean, this is a Wes Craven production… did the Sidney Prescott character in Scream teach you nothing?
This is only the second feature film directing gig for Nick Simon, and I can’t really say if that’s part of the problem since I haven’t seen his first feature film Removal from 2010. But this does bring me to the script, because that certainly is part of the problem. For a horror movie, I found myself getting lost in pseudo love drama scenes instead of the horror whenever one of the aforementioned actors wasn’t featured in a scene. This cannot happen in horror! Way too much coming-of-age dialogue that didn’t really help the story along, which is a real shame. Especially because you should definitely watch this movie for the creeping moments of stalker-horror and great moments – and enjoy every scene with Luke Baines and Miranda Rae Mayo. I would love to see those two in more horror movies!
The Girl In The Photographs premieres in US theaters and on VOD April 1, 2016
Director: Nick Simon
Writer: Robert Morast, Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon
Cast: Claudia Lee, Katharine Isabelle, Kal Penn, Miranda Rae Mayo, Luke Baines
A bored young woman in a sleepy community called Spearfish starts receiving photographs of brutally murdered young women. Are they real or staged? The culprit is either a serial killer or some creep with a sick sense of humor.