Amber’s Descent is aptly named for two reasons only: my expectations were constantly lowered as the film progressed and I knew we’d have to–eventually–hit rock bottom.
Kayla Stanton stars as Amber Waltz, a gifted pianist with a disturbing past who retreats to an isolated country house with hopes of completing her latest symphony. There she meets Jim (Michael Mitton), a handyman she hires who takes an unusual interest in helping her look after the house. As her work progresses, Amber starts to hear strange noises – humming and whispers beckoning her – leading her to believe the house is haunted. A ghostly figure appears at her piano and Amber decides to dig deeper into the history of the house and its previous occupants. When notes appear to write themselves on the pages of her music sheets, Amber finds herself surrounded by the dark mysteries of the house. She uncovers a deadly secret and begins her descent– the unraveling of her own sanity.
Written by “The Michaels” (Micheal Bafaro & Michael Mitton) as well as directed and produced by Bafaro, Amber’s Descent is a self-described psychological thriller that follows Kayla Stanton’s Amber Waltz as she descends into madness and loses her grip on reality…or does she? Is Amber haunted by her own personal demons, or is it the malevolent spirits that reside within her recently purchased manor house? Are the previous, deceased inhabitants toying with her, or is it the piano that is bewitched, possessed by its previous pianist? Is it perhaps that everything is actually just in her head? Delusions brought on by guilt from the death of her previous partner? Perhaps it is all of the above?
Amber’s Descent is an incoherent mess that honestly left me frustrated as the credits began to roll. I watch a lot of indie films–more so than I do mainstream cinema–and this just missed the mark for me in so many places. Firstly, the acting is very forced, almost like stage actors trying to find their footing on the silver screen. An even better comparison would be to those classic 90s-era soap operas, like The Young and the Restless. The whole film felt like I’d dug up a time capsule from the mid-90s or popped in a VHS from Blockbuster. Not only did the film feel dated, but it also felt like something was off about the whole thing…like it was all one big act being played out rather than a film; every one a charlatan and me being taken for a fool.
The creaking doors and creepy laughs tracks are such an old, overused gimmick that–sans a few jump scares–were the only form of suspense in the film. The horror elements throughout the film felt really monotonous with nothing different, nothing innovative, and nothing impressive. Then there is the lesbian ghost sex. Sure, 16-year-old me would probably have found this to be the best part, but it was a real curveball with where the film was headed and–again–came with little explanation. This wasn’t the only part that seemed like a bit of a plot hole; many scenes and characters seemed to be there solely for the film’s “twist” ending–which was honestly the part that pissed me off the most. *Minor Spoiler Ahead–Skip Paragraph* While not exactly the whole “she wakes up and it was a dream all along” ending that is honestly just insulting to filmgoers, Amber’s Descent uses something in a similar ballpark that really just had me rolling my eyes.
I try to avoid negative reviews. I hate shitting on someone else’s art. I know that there were people here that had a vision and a dream–that believed that they were making something great. I don’t see it. I didn’t get it. I didn’t like it. I honestly cannot recommend this film to genre fans unless you really have a love for hauntings, ghosts, kinky dreams and a musical soul…then there may just be enough here to sell you on the vision that I was just unable to perceive. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below with more information from the following link.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.