The second day of the 2015 Fargo Film Festival ended with a bang – a psychological thriller called The House on Pine Street. Since this movie’s world premiere was last Saturday, the community of Fargo was only the second audience to watch the finished film.
The movie follows a young, pregnant woman named Jennifer, who temporarily moves into an old house in a small town with her husband. As the days go on, Jennifer begins to experience unexplained, escalating phenomena that terrorizes her.
Lead actor Emily Goss pulls out a mesmerizing performance as Jennifer. Much like the main character, the audience is not certain how much of what is happening is inside Jennifer’s head and what is real. While there are genuine scares, the practical special effects in the movie are what truly stood out to me. Too many movies depend heavily on CGI for movie effects, but part of being scared is really believing that something is actually happening, and this movie pulls it off.
One of my other favorite aspects of the film was when the writers turn certain tropes on their heads, such as the tendency for horror movies to have a psychic character who tells the homeowner what supernatural events are happening and exactly how to solve it. The House on Pine Street is much more realistic in this portrayal and was something I appreciated.
Overall, this movie was solid entertainment. The ending of movie is not entirely clear, but instead lets people drum up their own interpretation.
After the showing last night, the cast and crew answered questions, mostly pertaining to special effects. Interestingly enough, everyone working on the movie lived and worked from the house they filmed in, and even had some real unexplained phenomena occur during the shooting, such as children’s voices being caught on tape when there were no children in the house.
I had the opportunity to talk to the crew one-on-one after the Q&A to ask the writers about their own personal interpretation of the supernatural events in the house on Pine Street. Although I won’t reveal it here, there is one scene near the end of the movie with Jennifer and another character that hits pretty close to the screenwriters’ own interpretation of what was happening in Jennifer’s home.
The Fargo Film Festival continues through Saturday. I’ll be doing a write-up on the Friday evening showing of It Follows, another horror film that has received raving reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.