The Living is one of those films that doesn’t waste anytime establishing the storyline. After the opening credits roll accompanied by a beautiful and haunting track “The Werewolf Song” by Michael Hurley we meet Teddy, who wakes from a heavy night of drinking. He is surrounded by the aftermath and carnage from the night before, the room is trashed and he has bloodied knuckles, but has no recollection of what happened. He searches the house for his wife, Molly, but she ain’t nowhere to be seen. He gets in the pickup and heads towards his in-laws. His wife is there, but Molly’s mother is hostile and threatens Teddy with a shotgun if he doesn’t get off the premises . Molly then comes out of the house, bruised and beaten. Teddy has no memory of what happened but it’s soon clear that in his drunken, animalistic state he has savagely beaten his wife.
The first 10 minutes of the film made me realise how relevant the opening track to the movie was. Teddy wakes up and has no memory of what happened, he turned into a monster, which in a way was like David from American Werewolf In London waking up in the zoo, having no memory of what happened, not realising that he has torn people to pieces. So The Werewolf Song was a perfectly fitting opening track that quickly set the mood for the film.
Later that day, Molly’s brother,Gordon, is working at the local supermarket – his friend tells him that he knows of someone that could take care of Teddy – Gordon doesn’t have much cash, but this hitman comes cheap enough..
And from this another plot is born and we get introduced to ex-con, Howard the hitman played brilliantly by Brian Mulkey. When Howard arrives on the scene I had no idea where the story was going to go, from that moment on, I was kept guessing right up to the end.
That’s all I’ll say about the plot of the movie. This was one of the best independent films made in 2014. We have two stories that meet at the start and then go their separate ways, then cross paths again at the end.
The acting and character development was fantastic. Everyone involved had an important role to play, and story to tell, and everyone did it with striking realism. The story played really well as a realistic drama that focuses on the effects of domestic violence, and then we meet ex-con, Harold, and a beautifully crafted thriller is born with both stories playing brilliantly into each other.
Director/writer Jack Bryan created something really special with this film, it just goes to show you just what can be done if you have a a solid story, powerful script, good direction, and the acting talent to bring it all to life. The movie was shot for an estimated $500.000 and on the scale of things that’s not very much. This is a prime example of classic independent cinema – absolutely fantastic filmmaking in every sense of the word.
The movie stars Fran Kanz (The Cabin In The Woods, Training Day, Donnie Darko, The Village, Dollhouse), Jocelin Donahue (The House Of The Devil, The Burrowers, Insidious Chapter 2, Summer Camp), Kenny Wormald (clerks 2, By The Gun, Footloose, Kid Cannabis) Chris Mulkey (Rambo: First Blood, Captain Phillips, Mysterious Skin, The Purge, Boardwalk Empire) and Joelle Carter ( Justified, Jessabelle, American Pie 2, new tv show Constantine)
The movie produced by Shooting Films, and if this is the caliber of movies that will be getting released via this company, then we’re gonna have to keep a close eye on all upcoming releases. No doubt Shooting Films is a name to watch out for.