With cold temperatures and winter weather blanketing much of the U.S., a getaway
to the summertime-set satiric thriller The Commune: A New CULT Classic may be just the ticket for horror fans.
Written and directed by Elisabeth Fies in her feature debut, there’s a lot to like about this film.
I enjoyed the satire, humor, and characters, in particular.
Actress Chauntal Lewis ably carries the film as the memorable and empathetic lead Jenny Cross.
Jenny is sent to the well-realized, isolated woodland retreat locale of the title, where her estranged father (Stuart G. Bennett) presides as the leader of a cult-like group of colorful/creepy New Age-y, hippie types whose free ideals prove to be imprisoning, rather than liberating.
Laughs give way to darker moments, with narrative twists and shades of menace culminating in the disturbing last 15 to 20 minutes. The film is further aided with a sleek look, high production value, vivid locations, and a great score and songs.
Many nice character moments in the script, coupled with the compelling performances, help ground the piece in reality. A sex scene involving Jenny and romantic interest Puck (David Lago) felt particularly honest and non-exploitative. And their transition from idealized puppy love into awkward distance was well handled. Fies delivers nice work in her supporting performance as Jenny’s mother Cassie, with the different sides of the mother being revealed.
Refreshing applies both to the film and the creative forces behind it: Elisabeth Fies wearing multiple hats, sister Brenda Fies executive producing, and Lewis’s strong central performance and character. Female creative energy is on ready display here, with additional contributions from many female crew members (such as producer/actress Heidi Hornbacher) in key production roles.
I have to say that I’m really glad I got to watch and pay a visit to The Commune !
The Commune is available on Amazon and for immediate download on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-commune-a-new-cult-classic/id418838073