Connect with us

Film Festivals

FrightFest 2014: Faults Review

FaultsDirector: Riley Stearns.

Cast: Leland Orser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jon Gries, Lance Reddick, Beth Grant.

Certificate: TBC.

Running Time: 89 minutes.

Synopsis: Expert on cults Ansel (Orser) is hired to deprogramme a young woman (Winstead). He sets about an intense 5 day session, but soon finds himself questioning exactly what is going on and what is to be believed.

One of FrightFest’s more surprising slow burners is this dialogue heavy exploration of the mind from first time director Riley Stearns. Unlike many of the slasher/zombie/out and out horror films, FAULTS relies on its fear coming from the audience’s involvement and its ability to provoke thoughts. Approached by two parents, Ansel, a disgraced expert of cults and mind manipulation, is hired to deprogramme a young woman. The rest of the film takes place in a motel room as the Ansel and the young woman Claire, discuss their beliefs and opinions on life.

Orse captures a great range of pathetic dark humour and desperate power, as a man looking to restore his reputation while also making enough money to pay back his agent for helping self-publish a book. The opening scene is a funny one in which Ansel tries to pass off an already used coupon in the hopes of obtaining a free meal. His motivations at first are all focused on the money, but he gradually builds a connection with Claire and starts to feel as though perhaps aren’t as they seem. When he displays power and tries to control situations, he often left looking weaker than before, but Orser always retains a sense that power and credibility was once part of Ansel’s character.

Winstead may very well be married to director Stearns, but she has most definitely not been let off easy, and she is certainly perfect for the part. Winstead is able to use her looks and those big eyes to establish an innocence lost for her character, but whenever she turns the tables she becomes a dominant force. In a single scene she transforms from a weak girl in need of rescuing to a controlled and intelligent adversary ready to challenge Ansel’s views.

A film focusing on the views and beliefs of two people may not sound terrifying, but it’s a real skin crawling affair as we see how people can become brainwashed by certain cults. You’ll find yourself agreeing and following each character’s point of view at least once during the course of the movie, and then realise exactly what you’re agreeing with. It’s the true definition of a psychological horror, making you question whether or not the world would be better if we all lived in these non-materialistic cults.

The dialogue is both well written and excellently executed with each word crafted and set-up the same way as in a choreographed martial arts fight sequence. The motel rooms act as representation of the brain wherein two ideals fight for dominance. Stearns allows for scenes to play out with long takes, showing a great sense of comfort when dealing with the material. This is by no means an easy watch, but it is one that stays with you long after.

FAULTS will hopefully open doors for all involved, as well as showing people that horror can often come from internal forces. With a dark wit which often releases the tension, FAULTS is a quiet little gem of a movie that gets louder the more you think about it.


Check Out More From London’s FrightFest Right Here!

Luke likes many things, films and penguins being among them. He's loved films since the age of 9, when STARGATE and BATMAN FOREVER changed the landscape of modern cinema as we know it. His love of film extends to all aspects of his life, with trips abroad being planned around film locations and only buying products featured in Will Smith movies. His favourite films include SEVEN SAMURAI, PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, IN BRUGES, LONE STAR, GODZILLA, and a thousand others.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Posts


More in Film Festivals