When aspiring filmmakers realize their screenplay might be out of reach for their first movie, they often check the limited resources and choose from one of three options, a single room location, found footage scare and lastly something in a slasher or zombie subgenre just to mark their debut. However, director and writer Mark Dossert found a wild card in the deck and cashed all-in with his film thrilling production called The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom, focusing 95% of the film on Laurie Ann Cullom (Shannon Scott (Sunset on the River Styx )). Mark set his film in the year 1988, and used thrift shops to fund his sets, the best investment for an independent project, which had little cast and crew, but large on heart and passion for the movie. Many times, the flick, reminds one of the 80s regarding icon usages of phrases, products, and images.
Scott plays the character of Laurie, a victim of an earlier assault, vaguely mentioned and now consequently living with her mother who travels for work; however, Laurie has a problem a substantial one, she suffers from agoraphobia and very few horror films take on this very real phobia. What is more remarkable an indie filmmaker and his crew head up this avenue and use it all to force Laurie out of her comfort zone and place her in more terrorizing situations. All meals delivered to her and her only friends consist of a phone, television, and the stereo, recalling it’s the late 80s hence no computers, reinforcing the dangers of her illness and Scott convincingly portrays a woman with the phobia, afraid to step out into either front or backyard when her mother takes to the road for work, she has her groceries delivered. In addition, her condition spoken of and rumored in her rural Florida town, all leading to pranks, jokes, and teasing. Meanwhile, the local sheriff Parks (played expertly by director Mark Dossett) is dealing with a psychopath who enjoys toying with his victims, before mutating their corpses. Laurie entertains herself expertly well, playing air guitar in a scene very similar to Risky Business (1983), assuming the role of Tom Cruise, before becoming the latest target of the killer. Herein, the audience learns the equivalent of pepper spray in the form of raid spray, although situations occur rendering her attempts feeble. The movie presents with stalker theme and relies on a scream queen with modern day gusto, and the well-paced story never makes the viewer aware the movie is actually well under the standard industry clocking at 71 minutes, 19 less than most horror films. As with a lot of films, the in movie references one can’t miss is the reference to Die Hard’s Bruce Willis’ bloody feet, and classic moment to really enjoy.
The crew and cast that Director Mark Dossett employs actually is much smaller than most, in fact aside from doing many technical jobs behind the camera he also portrays three other characters, besides the sheriff. Scott assists by also supplying the voice to an intercom store announcer and touts that the film actually had at most five people on set at any given moment. There are a few moments where script scene feels bloated, but the acting from Scott overcomes the issue, her style is extremely natural and works very well as the film ratchets up the tension for the audience’s suffering to continue. One very cool moment comes from the camera placement, with luring angles as if the camera tracks Laurie’s movement as a watchful predator waiting to feast upon the next meal.
Mark Dossett clearly shows his understanding of thrillers and the horror genre, and notes his influence for his film comes from Ti West’s The House of the Devil , but that he references the height of the 80s cinema slasher paradise with great reverence for the enjoyment and entertainment to exhibit in his film. The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom, a long title, but the movie works to send some terror and tension, but sadly, calling it a film, when 19-minutes short of a feature, very hard to justify it, nevertheless, look forward to both Scott and Dossett future adventures.
IMDb Rating: 4.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10