LOST CHILD follows an army veteran, Fern, who returns home in order to look for her brother, only to discover an abandoned boy lurking in the woods behind her childhood home. After taking in the boy, she searches for clues to his identity and discovers the local folklore about a malevolent, life-draining spirit that comes in the form of a child; the Tatterdemalion.
Lost child is the epitome of the slow burn. A joint effort featuring the talents of director/co-writer/producer Ramaa Mosley and writer/producer Tim Macy, Lost Child an intelligent concept with a beautiful story, charming, human characters and a wonderful portrayal of a people usually regarded as hicks or hillbillies. It's endearing, somewhat whimsical, a little sad, and a window into a culture often bashed and mislabeled. It's a lot of good things; story, character development, feelings, family, bonding, amazing visuals and aesthetic...but it isn't a horror movie. There are a handful of horror tropes sporadically strewn in hither and thither, but labeling, advertising or insinuating that it's a horror film is misleading; something the synopsis and trailer hint at.
We spend most of the movie trying to figure out if the child, Cecil (played brilliantly by Landon Edwards) is actually a demon of some sort (a Tatterdemalion if you believe the lore of the locals) or just a kid in need of love and family. The film offers enough evidence for both to be truths, constantly instilling doubt in our protagonist, Fern (Leven Rambin) and the audience. There's always equal evidence for both situations, with the film pushing and pulling on heartstrings and encouraging superstition, leaving the viewer befuddled between the protagonist being bewitched or unhinged.
With a fanciful score, immaculate editing, intelligent script and emotive acting, there is little to criticize.... unless you were paying for a creepy horror film. Lost Child is not the latter — I'd argue that it's more a drama with (very) subtle horror elements thrown in for good measure; used to embolden the plot rather than tell the actual story. The last act shifts gear into what would usually constitute a horror film...and then doesn't. It's holistically a different kind of film that does a decent job of pushing the metaphorical envelope — but it's still not a horror movie and I don't think it ever set out to be one.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely. It's an objectively good film all things considered; it sets out to tell a story that for the most part is more about the dysfunctionality of family (and who we consider family) and the inner demons that we battle — a plot that many can in some way relate to.
There is a limited theatrical release tomorrow, September 14th in New York (Cinema Village), Los Angeles (Laemmie Monica) and Missouri (Glass World) and the DVD/VOD release date is September 18th. Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed. Catch the trailer below. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.