Kyle attempts to reason with the only person he can implicate for the bloodshed; Jordan (Bill Oberst Jr.), the ringleader of a local band of rednecks and pseudo-cultists.
A reprise for the “King of Indie Horror”, Oberst Jr. steals the formidable persona and makes it his own, utilising his trademark piercing gaze and menacing expression. A dark philosopher of sorts, Jordan relates to a more macabre side of Kyle’s personality in a constant attempt to win him over and guide his way of thinking. Uneasiness is felt whenever Jordan is presented, and the tension created by the history between the two characters is viscous and aggressive; the slightest mistake in Kyle’s choice of words sends the volatile Jordan reeling in rage.
The hostility from the townsfolk continues to increase as Kyle is chased, threatened and beaten by his drunken peers for returning to Kaler Mills. Driven by his past mistakes and the ever-rising body count, Kyle resolves to investigate and halt the problem at its source.
Through multiple confrontations between Kyle’s group and Jordan’s posse we transition from believing the crisis rests well within the boundaries of normality, to the eerie realisation that a monstrous force is at play that no one is equipped to deal with. The film takes a ghastly swerve into the realm of the occult while a yet unseen enemy malevolently stalks the woods, claiming more victims by the day.
The plot deals with mutual distrust, regret, retribution and vengeance in an engaging and authentic manner, even when the turmoil amps up and characters are sent fleeing for their lives, distant screams and guttural roars commonplace as the terrified townsfolk scramble in disarray.
The soundtrack weaves between chilled folky guitar samples and melancholic orchestral segments, steadily building suspense to dramatic piano performances that get the blood pumping during the ferocious onslaught of butchery and carnage in the film’s climax.
Despite a mostly unknown cast, the assemblage of characters is well-fleshed out and convincing, especially during the more crucial, strenuous scenes. Joshua Mark Robinson as Jordan’s protégé, Samuel, skilfully simulates a chilling sociopath with dead eyes and a lack of restraint. Abby Murphy (Mandy) cleverly portrays a deteriorating mental state under the burden of trauma she’s constantly exposed to, and Austin Madding (Kyle) shrewdly exhibits two sides to his personality, recreating a bipolar breakdown in a vigorous fashion.
A modest yet refined production, The Dooms Chapel Horror represents everything we love about the indie horror genre. We’re constantly thrown for a loop every time we think we’ve pinpointed the issue, subjected to rising anxiety in the form of an intangible, unspeakable horror, and forced to wrestle with our own ideas of justice and the darkness that emerges from desperation.
From convincing roles to a sound story of vengeance and loss to the bone-wrenching savagery of the beast in the shadows, the film hits home and strikes true on every account. This modern take on a tried and tested formula stands strong, and fans of other found footage horror films such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity will definitely appreciate this bag of thrills.
Review: The Dooms Chapel Horror
By Adam Kaplan - 9th April 2015
The Dooms Chapel Horror is a unique take on the classic creature features of the 80s and 90s, synergising intrigue with suspense as it tugs at your morality in a documentary-styled found footage scare fest.
We’re first exposed to a dated family recording displaying a thriving farm, social outings and peaceful daily life when a more foreboding shift in the music fills us with dread.
A gory accident quickly shatters our complacency and we’re thrown back to present day, where Kyle (Austin Madding) is still crushed with grief 11 years later.
Many of us know what it’s like living in the shadow of a family member, but being blamed for their death is a burden in a world of its own. Determined to tie all loose ends and finally let go of the past, Kyle travels back to his home town of Kaler Mills with his girlfriend Mandy (Abby Murphy) and documentarist Tanner (Shaun Gerardo), intent on making peace with both his parents and former accusers, only to find out that the town has suddenly been plagued by a series of grisly murders.