Matt Sobel transforms a nightmare he once had into an evocative, original drama.
Is it me, or is the big climactic reveal not really worth all the hubbub?
Sobel evokes more terror from a shot of a field of sunflowers, or a weathered barn, than can be found in the last dozen found-footage films combined.
Sobel is clearly trying to hit on something more original than a family-secrets drama, but in doing so, he pulls most of his punches.
The movie pivots from what I expected it to be: a family drama about an outsider, as the opening conversation suggests. Instead, it becomes an eerie mood piece about secrets buried deep in a family's fabric.
The menace never becomes palpable, whether because of illogical plot lines or questionable casting. The stakes are so high, but the suspense never rises to the occasion.
Wonderfully confident and strange, "Take Me to the River" marks an auspicious directing debut for Matt Sobel. There's not a stale moment in it.
At a time when many films can be viewed and summarily forgotten, "River" unsettles and lingers long afterwards -- just like the ghosts that haunt this family.
For every "but why ..." the story engenders, there's an equally persuasive accumulation of arrestingly unsettling detail that builds its own assertive hum.