“Admonition” (2017): Diabolical Presence Stalks a Dying Woman and Her Deaf Daughter

Admonition, director Alexander Mattingly’s eighth and latest short film, is an eerie work that hangs heavy with dread throughout. Low-key lighting and effective use of shadows — as well as portraying something just beyond those shadows — helps mount a macabre atmosphere, and having one of the lead characters being deaf adds a sense of confusion to the proceedings.  

Adrienne King of Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part 2 fame plays a dying woman who believes that the Devil is coming after her. She conveys this to her deaf daughter (Lindsey Shope, who also starred in Alexander Mattingly’s previous horror short The Thin Place, reviewed at Gruesome Magazine here), who at first tries to comfort her mother, but soon sees bizarre occurences herself. Both actors are superb, with King showing frailty and fragility in her role, along with a touch of bravery. Shope gives a fine turn in her performance, relying on facial expressions and body language to impart her character’s confusion and mounting fear.

The nearly dialogue-free screenplay was written by Joe Hemphill, a frequent collaborator of Alexander Mattingly’s, including on the aforementioned The Thin Place. He does a fine job here, laying the groundwork for Mattingly to create a brooding, eerie setting in the women’s home. Cinematographer Jeremy Bolden turns in impressive work, as well.

Admonition is about to start the film festival circuit rounds, and it is absolutely a chilling effort that readers should seek out when it comes their way. For more information, visit the film’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AdmonitionMovie/.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry’s formative years were spent watching classic monster movies (starting with "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Godzilla Vs. the Thing") and TV series (starting with "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits"), Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features" and Roy Shires’ Big Time Wrestling (two northern California legends); reading Silver Age and Bronze Age Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Marvel, and DC comics; and writing mimeographed newsletters about the original "Planet of the Apes" film and TV series. More recently, he has written for "Filmfax" magazine, is the foreign correspondent reporter for the "Horror News Radio" podcast, and is a regular contributing writer to "Phantom of the Movies’s VideoScope" magazine, occasionally proudly co-writing articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.