Movie Review: Sorrow

Sorrow DVD cover

@lcfremont give us her review of Sorrow…

Opening up with the discovery of a crime scene where one of the victims is still alive, Sorrow immediately sets itself up as it’s own unique brand of indie horror. Written and directed by Millie Loredo, this is her full feature directorial debut and it’s certainly signaling the birth of a fierce female horror writer/director.

In a twisty tale of revenge, the woman who is found unconscious at the crime scene turns out to be one of the victims of the, now murdered, depraved killers. Played by Vanessa Vasquez, Mila is a forensic psychologist who was abducted and tortured by Dale and Hersey. Much like Mickey and Mallory Knox, Dale and Hersey are a serial killer couple driven by madness who find joy in murdering people. Played by Mary Etuk, Hersey is reminiscent of Sadie from Last House On The Left in that she’s absolutely at ease with her homicidal nature and appears to never have any remorse about doing the “devil’s work”. Her parter Dale (Eric Martinez) is equally evil and there are some seriously uncomfortable and violent scenes courtesy of him as this gruesome twosome continuously bring home women and murder them; all while Mila is chained up in the other room and forced to hear all of this. Eventually, Mila manages to escape and finds sanctuary in a strip club where she makes some unlikely alliances and decides to take revenge on Dale and Hersey. There is quite a bit more to Mila’s story, but it would be no fun to ruin it for you.

The tone in Sorrow is immediately set with music and a gritty look and feel. The makeup and wardrobe, or lack thereof, really stood out for me because it all looked and felt realistic. Dale spends a lot of time wearing a souvenir shirt from a zoo while Hersey wears a wig that doesn’t seem to be important enough to merit any kind of loving care from it’s owner. It’s this apathy towards their surroundings and personal appearance that really drives home the fact that their only goal is to murder women. It should also be noted that the casting in this film is wonderfully diverse and this also helps sell the feeling of authenticity. This is not a story occurring in Anytown, U.S.A. where only middle class caucasian people live, but a Texas town that reflects our culture. Even more refreshing than this is the presence of strong female characters. In fact, the best thing going for Sorrow is the undeniable presence of strong women playing strong characters and it’s all written and directed by a woman. Some may get tired of hearing about women in horror, but we do seem to be inhabiting a new era of where the female voice is not only heard, but embraced and for this female horror loving fan, it’s nice to watch a movie where men and women are on an equal playing field.
Unfortunately, Sorrow also gets a bit mired up in it’s overreaching desire to bring us all of this female empowerment. There are two intersecting storylines that really could have just operated as two separate stories. It almost feels as though two episodes of Law and Order were merged to create Sorrow; this is both a compliment and a complaint. The movie begins to feel strained and overplayed and, at times, it can be difficult to remember where you are in the timeline. There are also bits brought up that don’t ever follow through. The crime scene that opens the film contains an assortment of torture devices and our two serial killers speak of doing the devil’s work, but neither of these two ideas are ever fully realized and this just makes them feel like superfluous plot devices. Sorrow if full of a lot of great ideas, but it just doesn’t manage to organize and contain all of them into a fulfilling, coherent story, which is a shame, because there is a lot of potential here and that is exactly why I look forward to more films from Ms. Loredo.
Out on DVD on April the 21st

Lisa Fremont

Twitter: @lcfremont
Images provided by Brinkvision

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