Every once in a while a film comes along with an incredibly griping tale that utilizes intense thematic matter to touch a nerve. She Who Must Burn is 2016’s film to do that. This review is going to be tough to write due to the emotional response it drew, as the film set out to do. Larry Kent directs this Palama Films and Midnight Releasing film that sets itself in reality with an all too familiar reality.
She Who Must Burn tells the following tale:
A deadly storm heads towards a small mining village as the local preacher feeds the dark resentments seething in the souls of its citizens. Angela is the only medical resource for women in this unfortunate town where stillbirths and cancer have become disturbingly common. The local preacher and his followers blame Angela for the miscarriages and deaths, and even her Deputy Sheriff boyfriend can’t protect her from their wrath. Dark clouds gather as the preacher’s followers, infected with religious fervor and inflamed with passionate righteousness, seek to cleanse their community. Those who sin against the Lord must pay.
She Who Must Burn stars Sarah Smyth from Cedar Cove and Supernatural as the healthcare provider at odds with an evangelical family in the small town. Joining her will be sci-fi icon Jewel Staite, best known for her roll in Firefly.
The following review may contain some slight spoilers, as it is the only way to tell the true feeling of this film.
As the film opens up and within 20 minutes, the audience is well aware of what they are strapped in for. The themes and situations presented are not for the weak or easily offended. Within the first 20 minutes, there is talk about abortion, an extremely graphic still born birth, rape, and wife beating. The film sets itself up in a small faming town where everybody knows each other and their business. Religion runs rapid through the city as the passive progressive folks do what they have to in order to survive, despite against religion or not.
The antagonists of She Who Must Burn shine in creepiness. They are people. No special powers, no supernatural forces at work, but cold blooded evangelicals who are incredibly set in their views. They will do anything to uphold the bible and it’s teachings. Shane Twerdun delivered an incredibly chilling performance as Jeremiah Baarker, the leader of the three villains. Through the dead pan eyes and the slightly crooked smile as he performed his actions, it is quite obvious as to how he could win Best Villain. The horror lies in the reality that these kind of characters exist in real life, yes it is an extreme version of incredibly religious people, but they do exist. Twerdun also co-wrote the film with Larry Kent
Truly, She Who Must Burn is a story and character driven tale that shines on all aspects of filmmaking. It is intense, well performed, exquisitely written, and includes plenty of shocks to please any film goer. The one warning with the film, is the themes are intense, the footage is violent and graphic, and emotions are truly twisted. This review is being written a full two days after viewing and the images have yet to leave my head. It is not an easy watch and does not leave you feeling good but if you are a fan of intense terror driven reality stories, this is certainly one to check out.
She Who Must Burn will be available for rent or own come October 11. You can find it on all major cable outlets as well as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Xbox, and much more. DVD’s will also be available on that date.