Tracey Ann Wood, Ryan Wichert, Robert Blackwood
The first feature film from U.K.-based filmmaker Brian Barnes, The Redeeming will have its world premiere on January 28th, 2018 at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival before rolling out on VOD in 12 countries the very next day.
The film centers around a single mother, Joyce Hadley (Tracey Ann Wood), whose home is "visited" by a mysterious stranger, John Simons (Ryan Wichert), amidst an incredible storm. Seemingly disturbed herself, Joyce enters into what feels like a suspenseful, unpredictable psychological game of sorts with her undesired guest, who is ultimately invited to stay because he is obviously injured and the weather outside frightful.
Before long, the weather inside is just as frightful.
The Redeeming benefits from two fine performances by its co-leads, both of whom carry the vast majority of the film themselves. Kudos to Barnes and screenwriter Roger Thomas for telling a tale that leaves the moviegoer questioning exactly what's going on for much of the film and never quite certainly exactly who between Joyce and John might qualify as some semblance of healthy. As Joyce, Tracey Ann Wood absolutely keeps us guessing with a performance that is emotionally bursting at the seams and unpredictable throughout much of the film's nearly 90-minute running time. It's a terrific performance that may even benefit from the film's being a lower-budgeted film.
The same is true for Ryan Wichert as John, serving up a less histrionic performance yet an edgy one that keeps the suspense amped up from early on. While the performances are different, they're calibrated together into perfect rhythm.
Matt Aucott's lensing is dark and suspenseful in all the right ways, frequently capturing the unpredictable back-and-forth between these two characters in not just words but also in their unspoken body language.
While there are certainly times when The Redeeming's low budget comes into play, Barnes is an obviously gifted filmmaker who has crafted a slow burning, psychologically involving dramatic thriller that is light on actual gore yet intense with the actual suspense. Working from Thomas's intelligent, involving script, Barnes and his cast and crew have crafted a winner that should have a long life on the home video market.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic