Movie Review: BETSY (2017)

From the mind of writer/director Shawn Burkett (Don’t Fuck in the Woods), comes his latest horror endeavor titled BETSY, a low budget werewolf piece that demonstrates a strong female-driven approach towards this beastly subgenre. 

While walking alone one night, Betsy (Kelci C. Magel) gets bitten and assaulted by a mysterious attacker, leaving her wounded and alone. After recovering from her injuries and moving in with her friend Kayte (Marylee Osborne), Betsy begins to experience some changes, unleashing her hidden demons that lie within. 

The concept for BETSY is good, and approaching the werewolf genre is never an easy task. For as low budget as this film was, I did enjoy the effects. The way the werewolf transformation was tackled is simplistic and effective, which proves that not all werewolf transformations have to be the same. The subtle and not so over-the-top approach works well for this film, providing a different aesthetic than you’d expect, with the only major components being her beaming yellow eyes and sharp fangs (and some occasional claws here and there). This element provides the right amount of realism one might expect from an indie film. 

BETSY is not overrun with gore, which creates a nice balance between character development and horror. But, it does showcase some tasty scenes that will give its audience what they crave. The blood stains, along with the realistic fangs and eyes demonstrate what can be accomplished when working with what is given. As previously stated, werewolf transformations can be difficult to pull off, and this film definitely figured out and achieved what works best for them. 

I have a hard time expressing my thoughts in regards to the production, because in certain shots, the lighting, sound, and effects look decent, while in others they come across as rushed and lazy. This film almost feels unfinished, and lacks basic completion in some pretty crucial areas, with the sound jumping out as the biggest distraction. In many shots, it’s almost as though a basic room microphone was used, hearing distant echoes and the overall flatness of the actor’s voices. Most of this film doesn’t appear to have undergone a final mix and master, making a majority of it sound like a home movie. I understand the struggles of filming on a low budget and using whatever resources are at your fingertips. But, I do feel certain elements need to be catered to, with sound and lighting being major ones that should never be overlooked, and unfortunately, this film does just that. 

While enjoying fragments of this film such as the visual effects, score, and specifically shot sequences, BETSY ended up not really being in my filmography wheelhouse. I found parts to be satisfying and well done, but as a whole, it just didn’t quite fully come together in the end. But, for lovers of the very low budget and independent genre, this film will be right up your alley and should be given a chance. Be sure to check out Betsy when it arrives on Digital and On Demand February 12, 2019.

Abigail Braman
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