When I first started watching LOST CHILD, I pretty much had already laid out exactly how I thought this movie would go. Upon finishing, I was pleasantly surprised that my initial guess about this movie had been completely wrong. Directed by Ramaa Moseley, LOST CHILD is less of a horror movie and more of a mystery thriller and it’s very well done.
At the beginning of LOST CHILD, we are introduced to Fern Sreaves who is returning to her hometown after the death of her father. Fern has been in the army and away from home for the last 15 years and the welcome she receives upon her return is anything but pleasant. She takes up residence in the home her father was living in but things begin to take a weird turn when she encounters an abandoned boy wandering The Ozarks – the woods surrounding her house and most of the town. She takes the boy in but soon realizes that this may not be just an ordinary boy. Fern is then thrust into the stories and mysteries surrounding The Ozarks and has to discern what is real and what is legend while facing the ghosts of her past.
At face value, LOST CHILD seems like a horror story about a small town and the dark secrets that lurk around the surrounding woods but it is much more than that. At its heart, LOST CHILD is a film about trauma and the companionship that can be found when that trauma is shared.
I keep bringing up the woods in this review because not only do I love a good mysterious woods story but The Ozarks play a pretty huge part in this film. They are central to the story and become their own character as the film progresses. Filmed in West Plains, Missouri the scenery throughout the movie can only be described as serene but dilapidated. Fern’s house as well as the other homes and buildings we encounter (of which there are few) have a rustic, southern cabin feel. The Ozarks, which is where most of the film takes place really help the viewer feel how small and ‘middle-of-nowhere’ this place is. Picture Bon Temps from True Blood but even more out of the way.
The cast does a great job in telling the story and I was particularly impressed by Leven Rambin’s (The Hunger Games) portrayal of Fern. I love seeing a movie fronted by a female and she does a fantastic job portraying a woman in this type of movie who isn’t a “damsel in distress”. She can protect herself and does whatever she can to help this lost boy dig up clues about his past, even if she has to put herself in danger. Relative newcomer Landon Edwards plays Cecil, our lost boy and does a good job playing off of Rambin. Their back and forth really makes their relationship feel genuine. Jim Parrack, who I hadn’t really seen in anything since True Blood, plays Mike, a social worker that moonlights as a local bartender. This was honestly the only thing that sort of took me out of the film because I couldn’t help but still think of him as Hoyt as he pretty much plays Mike the same exact way.
Its pretty rare that I encounter a movie that I think is going to go one way and be happy when it goes in the complete other direction. This film is a slow-burn thriller and if you’re looking for jump scares you won’t find them here. What you’ll find is a movie about trauma that envelops you in the woods and the secrets they may hide. LOST CHILD opens in select theaters on September 14, followed by its Blu-ray and DVD release on September 18.