The Thaw

THE THAW is a unique period horror short film directed and written by Sean Temple and Sarah Wisner and stars Emily Bennett as Ruth; a young woman charged with staying alive during a harsh winter with little available food while also looking after her hibernating parents after they take special medicine that allows them to sleep through to spring to save resources. When her father unexpectedly wakes up early as the weather briefly turns spring-like (a VERY familiar turn of events to this New England resident), he is filled with an insatiable hunger that soon turns murderous. Ruth must now wake up her mother and protect them both from her father’s ravenous intentions.

The film is presented in black and white, which helps the overall aesthetic of the period aspect the story, but my personal experience with watching the film was that the black and white elements, as projected in this particular theater, left a lot of the smaller details in the dark. I would like to see a version of this film that was either fully colorized, or perhaps washed out in a slightly more sepia or gray scaled tones to allow for more details of this fantastically well-dressed set and characters to come to more vibrant life.

Bennett’s performance of Ruth is endearing, and you want the story to turn out well for her. The father, played by Jeffrey Grover, is scary and looms over the entire movie as he devolves into a monster of his former self. While the story alludes to the possibility of someone coming to save Ruth, I’m glad that the filmmakers decided to give her character the agency to resolve her story herself. This self-contained story set on a small farm in the woods gives a feeling of a “nowhere to run” scenario for our characters and a sense of stakes as the unpredictable winter weather further makes Ruth’s predicament feel more claustrophobic and desperate.

The audience I watched this movie with really connected with it in a big way. I was definitely impressed with the production value and the performances. While I felt the pacing was a little slow in the beginning, it came to a satisfying conclusion..

The Thaw
Reviewed as part of the 2024 Boston Underground Film Festival
The Thaw | September 21, 2023 (United States) Summary: In 19th century Vermont, a young woman's parents drink sleeping tea in order to survive the harsh winter, but an early thaw leads to horrifying results.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

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