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Movie Review: The Bellwether (2019)

I got sent the screener for The Bellwether and my heart sank. Reading the description I could see this was going to be some real soul searching, feminist-based examination of the dire effects tragedy can have on a woman…and when faced with serious, gravitas-heavy material like this my review style is completely thrown for a loop. You lot know I’m world famous for my award losing hodgepodge of smart assery, pop culture deep dives, and horror host punnery, and this material definitely won’t bring the grins…so with that disclaimer I’ll do my best to entertain here boils n’ ghouls…

Bookstore owner Joanne (Alex Reid) is having one of those days. She awakes to find herself within a Gothic chapel fitted with a TV screen, through which The Conspiracy conveys that they have photographic evidence of every moment of her life…including that pesky baby she aborted a few years previous, and intends to challenge her life’s path. Why are they fuckin’ with our heroine so? Well it appears she is a “Bellwether”; a woman able to lead by realizing her whole self…a real threat to the dastardly machinations of ol’ Big C. Will Joanne become even more powerful because of her ordeal, or fold because of what the Conspiracy knows and shows her about her life’s journey…and what of that new baby Joanne finds growing inside her?

The Bellwether was written and directed by Christopher Morrison (yup, a dude wrote a feminist fright flick…which is surprising as you’ll see), and according to the PR buzz there was gender parity on the crew, with 15 different nationalities represented on the crew speaking over 20 languages. all of which is very fine and dandy…unless the film sucks a major sack of ass…

Fortunately The Bellwether does not suck the aforementioned sack of ass (feel free to use that as a pull quote powers that be), and in fact is an incredibly thought provoking, visually arresting film that manages to convey a palpable sense of terror and dread no matter what your particular gender may be. Joanne is put through one hell of a wringer by The Conspiracy (which of course can be viewed as men’s negative affect on womankind), and my lord does Reid deliver as our protagonist (in what amounts to basically a one woman show); she runs the gamut of emotions masterfully, and each element of Joanna’s life she is called on to perform are handled with riveting skill. Speaking of which, I’m surprised a dude wrote this as it seems so genuine and from the heart…I’d be fascinated to hear Morrison’s process creating this picture for sure.

To sum it all up; The Bellwether is a damn fine fright flick; the message it conveys is timely and important, it’s got a killer aesthetic, and the performance by Reid is not to be missed…plus it’s full of tension and menace. Check this one out as soon as you can my creeps!

The Bellwether will be released on Digital HD on February 12 from Giant Pictures (head here for a handy-dandy iTunes pre-order), and theatrically in Los Angeles on February 15

 

 

 

 

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