Movie Review: Stained: The Red Letter (2019)

June 6, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Hey cats n’ creeps; you lot ever wished someone would make a modern day horror remake of Shakespeare’s Macbeth? Me either, but someone did it, and it’s my job to watch it and talk about, so off we fuckin’ go…

The long and the short of Stained goes as follows: Jane Macbeth (Arielle Brachfeld who also wrote the film along with Edward Gusts) is a nice enough if slightly fractured young woman… but her husband John (Gusts), is the exact opposite; shrewd, ambitious… a real go-getter. Together they have a picture perfect life, a nice home, and a chance at upward mobility… but it’s that last one is where things start to fall apart, ya dig?

You see, John’s boss screws him out of a promotion, so that naturally leads to John going absolutely batshit and dippin’ his balls in the murder biz… well, that’s one way to get ahead in business. Understandably, this causes some slight problems with ol’ Jane and she goes off-the-deep-end as well and soon the body count rises as our putrid power couple do what it takes to make it to the top, and stay there… everyone else be damned.

I gotta say right off the bat; I may not have needed a horror Macbeth, but man did I enjoy the ever-lovin’ fuck out of it!

Stained works so well first and foremost due to the performances of Brachfeld and Gusts as our insane protagonists. It’s one hell of a joltin’ journey we take with these folks and they are up to the task to keep us engaged and right there with them as they spiral into madness… and the script they provided is top-notch as well; filled to the brim with mayhem and a growing dread this is a story well told indeed!

Also up to snuff is the solid direction courtesy of director Joston Theney (who plays that shit hell boss mentioned up yonder and is aided and abetted by cinematographer Joel Hodge) who keeps things moving at a great pace and lookin’ sharp, and the tight editing that really keeps the suspense front and center.

On the downside, as with plenty of lower-budget fright flicks there are some audio issues that crop up here and there, and the glossiness of the show takes a ding for it; but it’s hardly a “make it or break it” issue.

Although playin’ it loose with the source material; Stained gives us enough violence, sex, and greed to fit in the wheelhouse of The Bard… and it’s a great lil’ thriller to boot.





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