Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cassadaga (DVD Review) - Tombstone Distribution

Directed By: Anthony Diblasi
Written By: Bruce Wood, Scott Poiley
Starring: Kelen Coleman, Kevin Alejandro, Rus Blackwell
Color/102 Minutes/Rated R
Region 1

The Film
Lily is an art teacher and student looking to further her knowledge of her profession. After the sudden and violent death of her younger sister she moves to an area known as Cassadaga, "The Psychic Capital Of America", to further study her art. She moves into the guest house of a family that sponsors students for an award at the local college. The pot smoking grandmother and her strange and quiet grandson are the only others that live there with the occasional visit from the groundskeeper. When Lily goes on a date with on of her student's dad they end up at a psychic seance on a bet and Lily has brief contact with her deceased sister until another ghost interrupts and takes over. 

The unidentifed ghost has attached itself to Lily, attacking her and showing her images in order to help her put together the pieces of a puzzle about her own disappearance that could end up saving Lily's life. Lily, with the help of her new man, has to dig deep into her art to find the answer of this haunting and the strange people she lives with. 

CASSADAGA is the second feature film from director Anthony Diblasi, with the overrated Dread from 2009 being his first and is a solid step forward for him. CASSADAGA could have been nothing more than a bad version of the torture porn film's that were so popular a decade ago, and most of those were bad enough as it is. Instead, the writers added in the supernatural element which helps keep things a bit fresh and moving forward but it is a bit of a crutch to lean on. Luckily we are graced with a pair of very likable characters in Lily (Kelen Coleman) and Mike (Kevin Alejandro). Their chemistry together is good and it helps bring a bit of a personal level to the film. There are some good and gross special effects moments as well. CASSADAGA suffers from spotty writing and jumpy editing that early on really takes the viewer out of the groove of watching the film. These crucial elements being poor drag the movie down but I don't think anyone will find this movie offensively bad but at the same time, I don't think too many people will find it exceptionally good.

The Audio & Video
Tombstone Distribution has done a nice job with this disc. The 5.1 surround soundtrack sounds great and is crisp and clear. There are no digital hiccups or any background noise. The video quality looks as good as a modern film should look on DVD. The 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer features healthy, vibrant color palettes and a crystal clear presentation. 

The Extras
The lone special feature is a trailer for the film.


The Bottom Line
I love supporting new horror films when they're worth supporting. I want new faces and fresh ideas to breathe new life into the genre. While CASSADAGA doesn't exactly do that it at least had it's ideas going in the right direction. I'd give the film a rental before deciding on buying it. 

CASSADAGA is available HERE

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