I am a sucker for a film that showcases monsters as being true, blue human beings. Don’t get me wrong, I love my supernatural thrillers just as much as the next person, but there is something to be said when a movie depicts horror in a scenario that is plausible and realistic. MY FATHER DIE is one of those films that shows just how awful humans can be towards one another, and towards the ones they love. I'll be honest, this is a tough film to watch, it’s gritty and bloody, and when you are done watching it, it feels like someone has knocked the wind out of you. With all of that said, for reasons listed below, this has now become my favorite film of 2017 because of it’s raw and unapologetic nature.
MY FATHER DIE is directed by Sean Brosnan (yes, Pierce Brosnan’s son) and stars Joe Anderson (Abattoir), John Schneider (“Smallville”), Gary Stretch (Savages), Chester Rushing (“Stranger Things”) and Candace Smith (“Hawaii Five-0”). The story centers around Asher (Anderson), who is deaf and mute after having his hearing knocked out at a young age. Since then, Asher has had nothing on his mind except to avenge himself against the man who crippled him and killed his older brother. The only problem, this man is Asher’s father and he’s just been released from prison.
First things first, what makes this film so incredible is the immense talent from the cast. I’m used to seeing Joe Anderson in darker roles, but he really brought his A-game to this film playing the character of Asher. We can see the pain and hurt through his eyes and though his actions may or may not be justified a part of us feels for him. Without uttering a single word, we can fully understand what his character is going through and it's painful. Gary Stretch, who plays the father Ivan, is a sight to behold. I know I’m supposed to hate him, what his character did is deplorable, but a part of me really liked him. It’s not that I was rooting for him per say, but the presence he brought to the screen was mesmerizing and is a huge reason why I loved this film so much. Chester Rushing, who plays the older brother, was someone I was familiar with because of the Netflix hit show “Stranger Things”. I liked seeing him play a character that was much grittier than his role in “Stranger Things” and I really believe he is someone to keep an eye on as I feel his talent is going to continue to grow over the coming years. Lastly, Candace Smith played the dynamic Nana and proved just how much of a badass female she is. She is someone that doesn't need anyone to do the dirty work for her, she is just as capable of kicking ass and going hard.
What I liked most about this movie was that it was much more than what was on the surface. After viewing it and discussing it with my boyfriend on the drive home, we were able to pull back each layer to really get down to the nitty gritty of what this film is about. On the surface, it’s all about guns blazing and revenge seeking, but there is also themes that deal with broken families, loss and suffering, adversity and hardship, and surprisingly, love. In the end, it’s a powerful film to view, not just because of the talented cast and the directorial eye of Sean Bronson but also because of the incredible cinematography by Marc Shap, which for the record is on point. It's also a film that evokes a range of emotions that keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat throughout the entire ride.
Other than the moment in which Asher loses his hearing, there aren’t many scares; however, there is quite enough violence and gore to tide you over. The violence reminded me a bit of that one scene in AMERICAN HISTORY X (you know EXACTLY what scene I’m talking about), it’s very raw and at times incredibly difficult to watch. I found myself having to turn away a few times and even covered my mouth in shock from the intensity of another scene. For the record, that is very unlike me, and though I’m not a huge fan of gore, I can usually stomach it with no problem. I think the realistic nature of it got to me and I found myself shocked and disturbed by what was playing out on the screen.
Overall, I can’t fully express how incredible this film really is as it's more of an experience to be had. It’s definitely not a traditional horror film, there are no ghosts or demons running amok, instead we see just how terrible and monstrous humans can be. If you are looking for something different to watch over the weekend, something that will move you and horrify you simultaneously, then make sure to check out MY FATHER DIE. In the end, there is a slight message of hope and love, of brotherly bonds, and doing what you think is right; however, the road there is covered with bullets, blood and plenty of bodies.
MY FATHER DIE is now in select theaters and available On Demand