This slow-burn Indie Horror packs a lackadaisical punch
In spite of its edgy plot and eerie tone, ‘Father of Flies’ does not capitalize on its potential. In its fleeting moments of truth, the film does not shine bright as it would have for better execution.
The indie horror is about a dysfunctional family who is still recovering from the suicide of their mother. The dad has a new girlfriend but cannot win over the children. She refuses to be a mother to them, spending most of her time watching television with her cosmetic mask on. But Michael, the youngest, establishes a connection with his mother, and the signs of something menacing start showing.
‘Father of Flies’ tries to create a unique experience with its limitations, putting most things in their place, but takes the excuse of fictional convenience to get out of testing situations. Some moments of brilliance and of pure fright manifest every now and then – like when Richard has a dream about something in Michael’s room.
The problem is that they are all sandwiched in-between moments of uninspired, generic horror setups incapable of distinguishing itself from everything that has been done before. Director Ben Edwards does not seem to be in control of the direction his narration takes. The lack of story, in fact, hurts his ambitions deeply.
Not many genre films have dared to go plot-less. There is always a correlation between the events in the present to the haunting secrets of the past. They emerge, nonetheless, in a confusing motley of sequences that are even more disconnected than the family members.
The use of the house’s surroundings is optimized. The scanty winter trees and the bleak snow add to the dreading sense of something bad about to happen. Most of its characters fit into the oddball scheme of its narration. ‘Father of Flies’ takes a long time to get to its core mystery, leaving extravagant spells of time where the viewer is just alone with its atmospheric cinematic universe.
The time spent together in the anticipation of what’s to come is somewhat rewarding. The minimalist setting offers director Ben Edwards an opportunity to create tension in a packed environment. He is initially willing, chopping back and forth relentlessly to superimpose the moving parts of the story. But the lack of cut-throat editing – possibly to create the unsettling uncertainty – dampens the mood a bit. With restricted settings comes the feeling of suffocation and claustrophobia, which is glaringly missing in the final product.
There is no denying that ‘Father of Flies’ performs to the expectations of a film of its level. Edwards must be lauded for his brave effort. But his intentions aside, the actual experience is faintly disappointing. The many moving parts of his storytelling are too disjointed to make sense and make for a compelling watch. Their scattered presence is not strong enough to pull your attention. Although, for a horror purist, it might have some decent material. Some more information and background could have done wonders for Edwards and ‘Father of Flies’.
Verdict - 5/10