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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Review: The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom

Director: Mark Dossett
Guion: Mark Dossett
Año: 2020

“The Torment of Laurie Ann Collum” has been roaming the world of cinema since the year 2014 where it got presented on some film festivals and it isn't until now, a few years later, that Terror Films acquires the rights for it and makes it available for a wide audience in digital platforms. Although the title “The Torment of Laurie Ann Collum” can make you think that this is a possession movie, it has nothing to do with this and rather dwells in the home invasion and slasher horror genres

Laurie Ann Cullom is a young woman that suffers from agoraphobia, the reason why she rarely leaves her home. Strange events start happening in her house which leads her to suspect someone is stalking her and aggravates her condition. Once the reason for these events is revealed, Laurie must face her fears as her house becomes more terrifying than the outside.

The first act of the movie is dedicated to presenting Laurie Ann Cullom and how she manages her day to day suffering from agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder where the person sees its surroundings as unsafe and can cause panic attacks. The character created by screenwriter and director Mark Dossett and wonderfully interpreted by Shannon Scott, both debuting in their roles, spends most of her time inside her house where we can get to know her without inhibitions and what leads to several humorous moments and offers some foreshadowing for the events that will take place later. At the same time that her psychological state is presented, Laurie starts to experience unusual events in her house. 

As the movie goes on these events keep getting more intense and are highlighted by the good work behind the cameras that offer some creative and artistic shots, as well as by the excellent musical selection, often juxtaposed with the visuals. The way in which the story is presented helps create tension and Scott's great acting transmits all of Laurie's anxiety to the viewer. All this leads to a third act where intensity spikes while the reason behind all the strange events is revealed and ends in an unexpected finale.

As with any low budget movie, “The Torment of Laurie Ann Collum'' suffers from some issues. The most important of these is that once it takes the slasher movie route, the budget constraints much of the action to take place outside of the viewer's visual field. This makes that the menacing environment generated through the movie gets affected, which is a shame because of how well the tension and intensity are generated, as well as some effective jump scares. There are also scenes that feel like were added in just to stretch the already short runtime (approximately 70 minutes) and they are not very useful for the plot development. 

“The Torment of Laurie Ann Collum” starts as a character study and slowly turns into an 80’s slasher homage. Although it starts off slowly, id develops rhythm as it goes until it leads to some intense final minutes and a surprising ending in which the protagonist is forced to face her fears. A good choice for low budget independent horror movie fans as well as those that enjoy classic slasher horror.

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