The horror movie never finds footing

The ones you didn’t burn is a goofy thriller making its world premiere at the Chattanooga Film Festival. The film tells the story of two siblings who return to the family farm to sell it after the death of their father. They are soon forced to face the past. There’s no shortage of weird conversations and characters. Perhaps the weirdest is Greg (Samuel Dunning). His first encounter with Nathan (Nathan Wallace) involves telling Greg how “spitty” it is that his father just died before quickly moving on to a date with his sister Mirra (Jenna Sander). Keep in mind this is the first time they’ve seen each other in years.

(In fairness, the whole scene may also be an attempt to show how socially inept the character is. He also uses slurs directed at gay people and lives in his mother’s basement.)

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From the moment audiences first see them together, Nathan and Mirra have a strange sexual chemistry. The ones you didn’t burn doesn’t tell that type of story, though; it is simply found in the performances – in particular those of Sander. The story takes time to get going, but it also allows for exploring the characters. Both siblings see a change, but Mirra’s is more interesting. It’s subtle at first; then the machinations of The ones you didn’t burn to resume. She is most effective in drawing the audience into the confusing plot.

It’s a shame the mystery isn’t given more time. The one you didn’t burn runs for around 70 minutes, with at least some time used to develop its characters. Eventually, the script manages to deal with the circumstances surrounding the farm, but everything feels rushed. Things get better as more is revealed, but it will leave much of the audience feeling empty.

Chattanooga Film Festival tickets are available HERE

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About Cecil Cobb

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