Glen Baisley is on to something. As writer and director of the Light & Dark Productions film Fairview Falls, Baisley (Fear of the Dark, The Tenement) manages to shoehorn in so many subplots and employs such a wide variety of horror devises that the viewer should have every right to feel confused and convoluted. And yet, much like a master displaying their craft, Baisley ties it all together and engages his audienceâ€™s thirst for fear and mayhem. Plusâ€¦..there are clowns. Not the Bozo type, more along the lines of a real-life Pennywise. Have fun sleeping after sitting through this movie if coulrophobia is your thing.
What Fairview Falls may lack in production value, it certainly recoups in creative story-telling and engrossing dialogue. Baisley bakes in a Clerks-type of vibe early on (pleasing the indy-obsessed masses) with some clever humor involving an incompetent video store employee. Itâ€™s quite a clever homage. Alternating scenes from the comical to the emotional to the ludicrous work well in introducing the key players. The filmâ€™s beginning sequences serve as an examination of relationships and rivalries in small-town America, given the extended treatment until nearly midway through the movie. Townies continue their high school feud into adulthood, and the spooky backwoods of their familiar locale provide the perfect backdrop for a night of terror as an urban legend becomes all too real. The themes of young people exploring their sexuality, rampant drug use, bullying and teenage molestation are all portrayed here, and provide the film with a genuine human element that other modern horror flicks simply gloss over.
The set-up, while long, is smart enough to hold your interest. The horror elements, however, are slow to materialize and make the general direction of the film a bit unclear. The initial scene, one in which a father and his young son are abducted at a carnival, seems a little like a disjointed non sequitur for the first three quarters of the movie. But much like the various character sketches, everything comes full circle into an explosive climax. Fairview Falls delves into organized chaos as each subplot begins to claim victims. A mystery begins to unravel, methodically, as the story ventures into classic â€œwhodunitâ€ territory. Knock Knockâ€™s Sal Sirchia and Debbie Rochon (who was featured in one my favorite Lloyd Kaufman creations Tromeo and Juliet) supply legit acting chops via smaller roles, but in this young cast of promising upstarts Kerri Taylor stands out. While all provide the right mix of humor and aloofness, Taylorâ€™s Tina manages to turn from obnoxious bad girl to badass heroine within a few frames. Her implied romances with two different men shows her conflicted side, and the reason for her general detachment from romance. With Tina, along with the rest of the cast, Baisely shows that character development is certainly a strength of his.
Fairview Falls provides a righteous mix of emotion and lunacy, with the filmâ€™s bloody conclusion rallying together the hectic present and the repressed past. Despite the serious, dark ending Fairview Falls continually tows the line from deadly into the ludicrous, an area normally reserved the likes of the Troma films. This film seemingly pulls a 180, which will brutally test your fear of clownsâ€¦.or mock your lack thereof. One thing is for sure: Iâ€™m eagerly anticipating Glen Baisleyâ€™s next project.