But when I saw the trailer for the indie release Little Erin Merryweather, something about it convinced me to take a chance…
A series of murders shakes up a sleepy New England college. The killer, dressed in a Red Riding Hood cape and cowl, guts her victims and replaces their internal organs with rocks. Watching the local police get nowhere, three students on the school paper – Peter (David Morwick), Teddy (R. Brandon Johnson), and Sean (Marcus Bonnée) – decide to investigate the killings, armed with the learnings from their behavioral sciences professor (Elizabeth Callahan), who is also a former profiler.
With Little Erin Merryweather, multi-hat wearer Morwick (who wrote, directed, edited, and stars) has given us an original horror film where the killer is 1) a female who preys on men, in a nice little gender-flip; and 2) revealed to the viewer early in the story, but whose identity remains a mystery to the characters.
Regarding elements of the film Morwick didn’t handle: Paul Cristo’s score perfectly matches the atmosphere and storyline as he alternates haunting strings with child-like music box arrangements. And cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah beautifully captures the wooded, snow-covered surroundings of the campus, in addition to picking the right shots to rack up the tension (the opening chase between Erin and her first victim is especially well-shot and edited).
Ironically, the occasional weak link in Little Erin Merryweather is Erin herself, actress Vigdis Anholt. She has very little dialogue, which means we rely on her actions for character development. Unfortunately, those actions (aside from slicing up students) consist of several melodramatic glares and stares at potential victims.
Little Erin Merryweather takes the standard slasher formula, throws in a helping of serial killer profiling, and offers a fresh, unique experience – yet one that also made me nostalglic for the slasher-film heyday of the late ’70 and early ‘80s. It also rises above the typical pitfalls of indie film, especially indie horror: It's a professionally shot, well-acted, compelling little gem.
Is it suitable for your kids?While Little Erin Merryweather spills very little blood on-screen, there are multiple stabbings accompanied by very visceral sound effects. There is also a fair share of profanities, and the topic of sexual abuse is brought up at times as part of Erin’s backstory. Merryweather is fine for teens to see, but use your own discretion for any tweeners in your audience.
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?Little Erin Merryweather is a neat little film that often comes off as more thriller than horror. If she likes scary movies but isn’t big on gore, this could make for an enjoyable option.
Little Erin Merryweather
* Director: David Morwick
* Screenwriter: David Morwick
* Stars: David Morwick, R. Brandon Johnson, Marcus Bonnée, Elizabeth Callahan, Vigdis Anholt
* MPAA Rating: R
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