An insurance salesman, hoping to prove his survivalist skills to his family, irresponsibly goes hunting alone. But he isn’t prepared for what lies ahead…
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers was written and directed by Robert Machoian (The Killing of Two Lovers) and sees him working again with Clayne Crawford (Above Ground, A Walk To Remember) in the titular role. Jordana Brewster and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are also featured in the film. We are roughly a week away from the film’s digital release after it premiered last year at the Tribeca Film Festival.
A quick watch of the trailer lets you know all you need to about the film’s plot: City boy pretends to play county boy and his big-man hunting fantasies take a turn for the worse.
The first act of the film falls under the category of a trend that I refer to as cringe-horror. The tone is silly and whimsical with heavy foreshadowing tells. Crawford’s character is pretty much a jester, with his “hunting moustache” and his lack of firearm handling skills. His constant faux pas with the rifle portends the film’s darker story that is lurking just off-screen. He is the proverbial accident waiting to happen, and happen it does indeed.
The film’s second act is, again, still slightly comical or cringy. The film pokes fun at both the city slicker and doomsday prepper personas, each a caricature of the typical stereotypes. It is difficult to see who the director is trying to side with here as everyone is bashed rather evenly…though Joseph is most definitely king of the clowns.
All of that disturbing, deadpan humour leaves us in the last act, where the film turns dark instead. Our “hero” returns home with some tough choices to make. I found the ending somewhat unexpected and exceptionally well-acted. It will definitely leave you feeling something, though those exact emotions are difficult to put into words. I suppose the film is more a lesson in the end than something trying to be preachy.
Overall, this was not a film for me. Although there was a great assortment of horror elements and obvious themes that slot nicely into horror films, this was more akin to a traditional tragedy than anything else. A tragicomedy if you will. It was, however, an incredibly well-made and well-acted film, never once feeling low-budget or B-grade.
My favourite element would have to be Machoian giving us a window into Joseph’s psyche and overactive imagination through the use of sound effects, like adding baseball commentary and park noises when he is messing about on his hunting trip. These clever insights into the inner-working of Chambers’ mind not only help us sympathise with him a bit but also give us a better understanding of the character and his immaturity in general.
In short, The Integrity of Joseph Chambers is exactly what you think it is. It’s a good movie that has it’s plot neatly nutshelled in the trailer. It was not to my personal tastes but I cannot deny the talents of all involved—it is a great production with a very real warning. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. The Integrity of Joseph Chambers will be Available on Digital Download and Blu-ray in the UK & Ireland from April 17th. Trailer and artwork are below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.