Movie Review: Dad’s dead, and whatever killed him is causing his family “Woe”

Something’s eating at Charlie. He’s working on this house at all hours, sawing and shoveling and whatnot.

The phone rings incessantly, but he won’t answer. He’s always popping in his ear buds and tuning out the world.

With his sister Betty about to marry Park Ranger Benny and trying to sell their Dad’s old Crown Victoria, with his mother fretting about the one year anniversary of his father’s death, Charlie’s got a lot on his mind. Or nothing at all.

What’s in that body-shaped bag we see him burying when we meet him, flies everywhere? And uh, was that a wraith we saw passing in the shadows behind him?

“Woe” is an oddly unsettling horror tale that packs most of its “action” — such as it is — in the finale.

Betty (Jessie Rabideau) is a bit fraught with all that’s going on. She never answers Benny’s (Ryan Kattner) “I love yous” with one of her own. He lets that slide off his back, struggling as he does to keep everybody on task. He’s constantly trying to get Charlie’s attention, to get him to commit to showing up to the wedding, to show any sign that he’s not catatonia walking.

And Charlie? He’s seeing that wraith. He’s got bloody claw marks on his arms that he tries to hide. He eyes that huge wasp nest in his Dad’s yard with suspicion. And he hallucinates a fateful night in that Crown Vic, the car his father died in just a year before.

Maybe no-nonsense Uncle Peter (James Russo) can shake Charlie out of his tupor.

“This thing is going to destroy you, just like it did your father!”

The debut feature of Matthew Goodhue tries to get by on a chilly tone and a clever twist in that somewhat “action packed” finale. I’d say it does, except it doesn’t.

The performances have a sleepwalking blandness, dictated by the character requirements.

Too little of the mystery is divulged too slowly, in teeny, tiny revelations. There’s little suspense or urgency to Charlie’s plight. We’re missing a lot because a lot seems left out.

“Woe” is the filmmaker who can’t get more “horror movie” in an 85 minute film.

MPA Rating: unrated, bloody violence

Cast: Adam Halferty, Jessie Rabideau, Ryan Kattner, DeVaughn LaBon and James Russo.

Credits: Scripted and directed by Matthew Goodhue. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:25

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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