Film Review – Brides to Be
Brides to Be
As part of Seattle Pride Fest 2016, The Twist of Pride film festival is presenting the world premiere of Brides to Be, directed by Kris and Lindy Boustedt. It’s a drama/horror hybrid about wedding preparations gone very, very bad. (The description says it is a psychological thriller, but it’s really a relationship drama with touches of horror.) I like gay people and I like horror, so I was down to have a good time with this, and I did. It’s pretty low budget, but the directors know what they are doing so that is not much of a handicap; they make the best of their location, and the film looks pretty good.
Jenna (Carollani Sandberg) is about to get married to Robin (Angela DiMarco), and while the love is there, her confidence is not. Faced with panic attacks and an inability to write her wedding vows, Jenna is afraid that Robin will soon realize her mistake and call the whole thing off. Robin seems like a mature adult human being who will be fine if they don’t get married, but Jenna can’t say the same about herself. She manages to hide these fears from Robin (as well as the panic attacks) and the two women take off to their wedding venue with Jenna’s long-term friend Nate (Jesse Lee Keeter). They arrive after dark to find that the preparations for the following day’s festivities are not complete, and rather than panic, they decided to give the owner Bob (Linas Phillips) a hand. He seems well meaning, if a little weird, and they get down to business. As the night goes on, something in the hotel seems unhappy to have them there, hidden feelings are exposed, and some moderately scary shit happens. Will love prevail over sinister supernatural forces? You will have to watch to find out!
I enjoyed this movie, but it does have a couple of problems. I had trouble with the flow of time through the film. It seems pretty late when they get to the hotel, but then they keep doing more and more stuff. They have time to help decorate, take naps, have sex, get scared several times, have a couple drinks, get ready for a photo shoot, and have the photo shoot. What the hell time was it at the end of the movie and why are these people staying up so late before their wedding? I also felt the resolution was a little anticlimactic. It might have worked for a non-horror romantic drama, but a very BAD THING happens, and if you are going to have that kind of thing in your movie, you need to make the ending justifies the trauma of it all. (Also, I did not like this very BAD THING one bit. Which I guess was good, because the film made me care. A lot of horror films have disposable characters, so when something happens to them, it’s easier to focus on the theatrics of the kill. This is not one of those films.)
I cared about the characters because they were written and acted well. (In full disclosure, Angela DiMarco once filmed an alien abduction movie at my house. She seems very nice.) I do wish that Robin’s story was a little more fleshed out so we could have understood her fears a little better. I REALLY liked the fact that there appeared not to be any opposition to the marriage due to their gayness. (There is a comment about Jenna’s parents not being invited to the wedding, but it does not really specify why.) Only the evil forces seem to take any issue, but they seem pretty grumpy in general, not homophobic. It’s just nice to see a film where marriage between two women is just a normal thing that requires no defense.
On the horror side of things, there aren’t too many scares; the filmmakers mostly rely on atmosphere to provide thrills, but there is a little blood for those who are into that sort of thing. I don’t know that it would be enough to satisfy a hardened horror fan, but I liked it. (Although I am VERY fond of my gore.) It is a drama about overcoming fear in order to really connect with someone else, with unexplained supernatural phenomena. I thought the core story was good enough that a little weakness in the horror elements didn’t drag the movie down for me.
Brides to Be is playing 10:00 pm at the Egyptian Theater in Seattle on Friday, June 17.