Have you ever felt the urge to love a film, whether it’s because it was made with good intentions, great potential, or the occasional quality moment? Caveat made me feel that.
Damian McCarthy as director and scriptwriter, is clearly talented. Later, with increasing experience and capital, he could be in the ranks of top horror filmmakers. Caveat which is his debut has not brought McCarthy to that position, but it is enough to pave the way as a stepping stone. Best Movie Site
The story centers on Isaac (Jonathan French), who is offered a job by Barret (Ben Caplan), to look after his niece, Olga (Leila Sykes), who lives alone in a remote area. Her mother disappeared, her father committed suicide, while Olga had a mental disorder, which could suddenly put her in a catatonic state.
Arriving at the location, Isaac was surprised because there was some information that Barret had not previously shared. First, Olga’s house is not located in any remote area, but in the middle of an empty island. Second, because Olga was uncomfortable in the presence of other people, Isaac was obliged to wear a vest with chains. The tantalizing payment and compassion for Olga made Isaac finally agree, even though he had doubts.
McCarthy used the early minutes to impart information. What rooms are there? What locations and items have the potential to spread terror? How far would the chains that bound Isaac limit his movement? The tempo is slow, but as the title suggests, it effectively warns the audience. Anticipation arose.
An ugly mechanical bunny doll that often suddenly beats a drum it carries, paintings of hideous women, dark dungeons, unkempt houses, all the provisions needed to produce the typical terror formula of haunted house horror are at hand, and Caveat runs smoothly from the start. Movie Review
Isaac slowly noticed something wrong there. When he (and us) finally got to witness the horrific scene for the first time, Caveat felt like it was going to be the best horror of the year. I will not divulge the details of the scene, of course, McCarthy is good at scaring. He left the camera for a while to highlight an object (longer than most jump scares) so that the audience could clearly see what appeared on the screen. Because the object is indeed terrible. McCarthy doesn’t need to manipulate the viewer’s mind, so that we misinterpret “shock” for “fear.”
Then after a while, the next terror didn’t set in, and I realized how much McCarthy was faced with a budget constraint. He has a lot of brilliant ideas about set-pieces. I can guarantee that. Evidently, every time a jump scare, apparition, or any other form of terror is present, the execution is always scary. But mystical terror, as simple as it sounds, costs money (special effects, makeup, etc.). Without it, like Isaac with his chains, McCarthy seemed to be confined.
This is where the gaming experience comes in. Horror filmmakers with high flying hours will know how to cultivate intensity in the midst of limitations. McCarthy wasn’t a kid yesterday afternoon. Since 2009, he has spawned six short films. But feature-length films are a different medium. There are tens of minutes of duration to fill, and McCarthy is struggling to do it.
Adding an element of mystery is the way he chooses. It made Isaac doubt the truth in the house. Is it true that Olga’s father committed suicide? Is it true that Barrett is an old friend? Is Olga a poor girl as well as a victim, or is she a dangerous person? Attracting the audience’s attention through questions between the pauses of terror is actually the right decision. Unfortunately, Caveat failed to appear attractive, due to the weakness of the script.
The manuscript does not provide adequate investigation. Instead of being invited to be involved in investigating the mystery, the audience is just left waiting, while flashbacks appear periodically, to provide answers. A flashback that takes us out of Olga’s house, thereby stripping the film of the claustrophobic atmosphere. When Caveat tries to appear ambiguous, I don’t care enough to be compelled to think harder, because I’m not involved in the mystery.
The second half takes Caveat into the cat-and-mouse realm, making it feel like he has two different stories forced together. It’s not enriching, it seems to override the main terror. But then again, every time McCarthy shows his mystical face, Caveat always manages to make the hairs on his neck stand on end. Top Movie