THE FAMILY WAY: COMING HOME, directed by Shiva Rodriguez, will take you to the heart of the matter… or remove it, depending on how you look at it.

The cinematography is excellent, much better than one might expect from a short, but this is no ordinary short: this is a prologue to a forthcoming piece that Shiva and D. Duckie Rodriguez hope to fund, and if their skill with this piece, and their combined history in horror is any indication, getting funding shouldn’t be a problem.

We open on a fledgling kill, with cutaways to a ‘normal’ family (the Cultry’s, Richard, Sue, and their son Jeffrey) that has a fascination with serial killers: as we travel between the two, we slowly come to an understanding, one that our anti-hero, Craw (Nicholas Trivisonno) will learn the hard way. Craw is the misunderstood goth kid, the kid that gets bullied, and he’s had enough; but now he has a taste for blood, and a need for art supplies that Burnt Umber just can’t satisfy. Who are the Cultry’s (D. Duckie Rodriguez, Lowrie Fawley), and why are they teaching their son Jeffrey (Blayze Hippensteel) how to detect and catch serial killers?

The practical effects and makeup by Shiva and Nicole Sweeney match the style of the film perfectly, it’s not about the gore, it’s about the story, the gore is real, not over the top; a testament to their craft.

Nicholas Trivisonno portrays the outcast who’s banking on his own socially perceived weakness is believable, and up against Blayze Hippensteel at the end. I’m left wondering which one might be the real monster once we get the feature film, The Family Way. It will also be a treat when the two swap roles in the feature (The Family Way will take place 10 years later). Although D. Duckie Rodriguez’s IMDB says he’s a terrible actor, I found him unsettling, and wonder just how stern of a hand he wields as the patriarch of the Cultry home. Lowrie Fawley’s Sue is an interesting mother figure, she’s the tech savvy person in the home, and also a consummate caregiver; and while I wonder just how far out Richard’s father figure will turn out to be, Sue could go with with way, she could be a simple housewife that loves her family, but I suspect there is much more to her than we are privy to in this short, as Richard truly respects her input.

The whole crew created something special, and more of Shiva at the helm is something I’m absolutely looking forward too!

Do yourself a favor and see this if the opportunity arises, you will not be disappointed, and I’d bet you’ll be anticipating The Family Way just as much as I am!

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