Welcome to Dreadville V: Souls of Mischief Movie Review
Written by Steve "Alien Redrum" Pattee
A Bublenutz Production Film
Directed by Jason Patfield, J.D. Scruggs and Tony Walsh (video segments)
Written by Jason Patfield and Johnny 5
2011, 28 minutes, Not Rated
James Barbee as James Bato
Will Cummings III as Father O'Malley
Raquel Garcia as Preacher Lady
Kendyl Lynch as Jenny Lynch
Timon Morales as Timon Morales
Steven James Prices as Father Vines
For over five years now, I've been following Jason Patfield's Welcome to Dreadville series, starting back in June of 2006 with Distraught. While that first film was rife with problems, I found that the writing was quite strong and Patfield had some potential. Over the years, Patfield has sent me each subsequent release in the Dreadville saga, and each one has been better than the last as he learns and strengthens his skill as a filmmaker. This latest release, Welcome to Dreadville V: Souls of Mischief is no exception.
In Souls of Mischief, two friends, James (James Barbee) and Timon (Timon Morales), decide to visit their old Catholic School one last time before it is torn down. Considering the hell they went through in that school, it seems to be more of a good riddance than a nostalgic visit. As they are drinking their brews on the roof, James notices the man they hated most when they were students in this hell hole, Father O'Malley (Will Cummings III), is entering the building. Wondering what the hell the father is up to, especially with the baggage he's lugging in, James convinces Timon to break into the school see what's what.
When the friends finally catch up with the preacher, they find he has tied a young girl to a chair and appears to be systematically torturing her. Disgusted and horrified, the two overcome their ingrained fear of O'Malley long enough to capture him and free the girl. However, since James and Timon are obviously not professional kidnappers themselves, O'Malley escapes and starts after them, with his trusty ax. But, as we soon find out, what you see and what is truth are sometimes two very different things.
One of the biggest problems with low-budget movies — aside from the obvious of money — is acting. With movies, like anything else, you get with you pay for. I have learned to not expect much in indie horror, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised when an actor comes in and knocks it out of the park. In the case of Souls of Mischief, it would be Will Cummings III as the maniacal priest. This character just reeks of hate and violence. If you ever had a teacher that made your life hell, Cummings can project him. The only unfortunate thing is that at just 22 minutes, there's almost not enough of him. He overshadows the rest of the cast, who are adequate for the short, but that's fine as he's the most important character in the film. Cummings needed to sell his character's motive more than anyone else for the piece to work, and fortunately he did, and solidly.
The story itself seems rather generic at first glance, but as things start developing, there's an 'A ha!' moment that lifts the film to another level. Without saying too much, as it may spoil it for some, I have to admit I didn't immediately see the road Patfield and company were taking me on until we made that sharp left to Supernaturalville. Smartly, Patfield feeds you information at a deliberate pace, and when the turn comes, you don't feel cheated since he was taking you to this finale the entire time. There is a scene with a crazy lady at the beginning of the film that seems a bit heavy handed, but overall it's another decent script by Jason Patfield (with additional dialogue by Johnny 5).
As mentioned, Souls of Mischief is another example of growth for writer / director Jason Patfield and the rest of the Bublenutz Productions team. The film is probably the most tightly edited of the series, best directed (J.D. Scruggs, who co-directed The Lottery with Patfield co-directs here, too) and has the strongest actor to date in Will Cummings III. In addition, the effects in Souls of Mischief are the best executed. There is an apparent CGI effect at the very end of the movie with the young victim that is effectively creepy, and a scene with someone eating an ax that is exceptional considering the film's obvious low budget. Patfield keeps hinting that he's going to quit filmmaking, but I for one hope he continues working at it.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.