Review by Mark Merrell
The time is 1989. The place is Babylon, Florida, a fictional small town in the sunshine state. Evelyn Larkin (Candy Clark, American Graffiti, Zodiac, Blue Thunder, The Man Who Fell To Earth) is a Grandmother. A bit high strung, but trying to keep it together for her grandchildren, she’s attempting to stay upbeat. She owns a large property that includes a blueberry farm. Evelyn is raising her grandchildren. Jerry Larkin (Chester Rushing, Stranger Things, Party Crasher, Jeepers Creepers) is in his early 20’s. A quiet and brooding person, he’s taking the responsibility of the farm on himself, running it for his grandmother. The other grandchild is Margaret Larkin (Sara Kathryn Bellamy, The Hurt) a sixteen year old, who prefers riding her bicycle to get around. A charming, upbeat, innocent young girl, Margaret doesn’t know a stranger.
The movie opens as Jerry drives the farms pickup truck back in from town. Checking the unripened blueberry crop, he’s concerned things are not progressing well. Margaret calls him in to eat. Evelyn is trying to be optimistic about the blueberries. Jerry knows the farm is failing. Upset, he leaves the dinner table.
Margaret tells her grandma she is going to ride into town to help one of her teachers, Walter Perry (Marcus Lyle Brown, Monsters Ball, The Host, 12 Years A Slave, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri). She begins her journey, riding across an old wooden bridge, lined by hanging street lamps.
It’s an overcast dreary late afternoon as she peddles her way into town. She meets up with Nina (Carol Sutton, The Help, This Is The End, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes). Margaret promises Nina a first pick of the blueberries before the Boy Scouts get a shot.
Back at the farm, Belinda Hale (Rachel Brooke Smith, Iron Man 2, The Nice Guys, Crank It Up) pulls up. A free spirited young woman who exudes southern charm, she wants to make sure she will get some of the farms blueberries as well. Evelyn and Jerry assure her that’s not a problem. Belinda is the daughter of Sheriff Hale (Frank Whaley, Pulp Fiction, The Doors, Field Of Dreams) and the girlfriend of Nathan Redfield (Josh Stewart, Interstellar, The Dark Knight Rises, Criminal Minds). Nathan runs the town’s bank. He’s soft spoken, a player of sorts, and lives with his old wheelchair bound cantankerous father, James (Christopher Lloyd, Back To The Future, Taxi, Web Of Spies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit).
As the afternoon progresses, Margaret eventually heads back home. Riding past Nina, she tells her to hurry, as the wind is picking up, and the weather looks bad. Margaret is nearly back to the family farm, when she is almost sideswiped by a speeding, out of control hearse. She continues on, riding to the middle of the wooden bridge. The hearse pulls to a screeching halt in front of her. A freakish tall person with a mask over their face quickly emerges, threatening her. They struggle. The creep throws Margaret’s bicycle over the side of the bridge. A car is approaching. Desperate, the creature throws Margaret over the railing into the deep water below, and jumps in following her. As the car passes, the sinister person holds Margaret under the water using her bicycle above her. She succumbs eventually after struggling in vain.
The following day, a worried Jerry and Evelyn head into town to report her missing. Evelyn is very distraught, while Jerry tries to calm her. After a visit to the Sherrif, they go to the bank. Overdrawn on a loan backed by the farm that’s been failing, they beg Nathan for more time to pay back what they owe. Undaunted and uncaring, he refuses to help.
As the pair heads back to the farm, a fisherman is trying his luck at the foot of the infamous wooden bridge. Much to his horror, he soon discovers Margaret’s body, tangled up with her bicycle. Jerry runs to the scene, and sees his dead sister. Evelyn is completely overwhelmed, despondent, screaming in sorrow, pain, and grief. This is when, Cold Moon hits the nitrous on the horror gas peddle.
Based on the 1980 novel, Cold Moon Over Babylon, by author Michael McDowell (Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tales From The Darkside: The Movie, Thinner, Tales From The Crypt, Monsters, Stephen Kings’s Golden Tales) this movie truly freaked me out. The exceptionally creepy music absolutely sets you back in your seat, never letting you go.
Directed by Griff Fürst (Banshee, The Magnificent Seven, Sleepy Hollow, Terminator Genisys, Manhunt:Unabomber) he crafts the nightmarish Cold Moon with a great eye, with the help of cinematographer Thomas Callaway (Feast, Cruel Intensions 3, Dead Man Rising) and writers Fürst, novelist Michael McDowell, and Jack Snyder (Ghost Image, Fatal Call, Walking With The Enemy).
Everyone in this film hits their acting stride without fail, especially Clark’s disturbing portrayal as Evelyn. Her uneasy demeanor is unsettling to say the least. Stewart’s low key delivery is totally believable and creepy, while Lloyd never fails to satisfy. Robbie Kay (Pirates of The Caribbean, Fugitive Pieces, Sleepy Hallow) as Nathan’s little brother, Ben is a scene stealer, making the most out of his time on the screen, along with standouts Rushing, Smith, and Whaley.
I throughly enjoyed this spine-tingling tale from beginning to end. Super creepy, and twisting in its journey, Cold Moon is a perfectly frightening experience not to be missed.
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