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Occurrence At Mills Creek

Written by: Don Swanson / Joe Fishel / Besty Lynn George |   Directed by: Don Swanson |  Genre: Horror / Drama

 Occurrence At Mills Creek centers on Clara ( Ava Psoras ) and to be completely honest, is an at times slow, confusing venture into the horror/drama category. At the heart of this film is death, grief, and depression, and the coping mechanisms of the main character. This film also gives a realistic, if slightly crazy view of relationships in general, mainly family, and we can definitely see anything but the Leave It To Beaver family dynamic is present. In fact, it plays a big role in the story, especially as family members drop off throughout the film.

 The real “supernatural” elements don’t really begin until later, and don’t really do much for the overall story, but were more or less presented well enough to do the trick. But in truth, Don Swanson’s film more relies on the characters themselves to tell the story, and it does get pretty hard to follow with the story. Even now, I’m not 100% sure I understood a lot of what went on, but enough to get the gist of the story. Curses, mental breakdowns, and family secrets are hard by themselves to keep straight, when combined, it can get much tougher.

 There are a lot of good looking shots in this film, and I can’t help but wonder why the colors were crushed the way they were. I think it is an attempt to give Mills Creek a gothic look, but ends up really messing some shots and scenes up. A lot. Hard to see images are one thing, but when color has been crushed so bad the image begins to look like an old camcorder is another. But when the image is good, it’s pretty great. Unfortunately, the sound is not. There’s a quality to a good portion of this film that seems like the editor tried to fix the audio with filters, and it just sounds really jarring. Almost to the point that I wondered why some ADR sessions weren’t incorporated. The acting is another area of inconsistency in the film. Again, going from really good to a little hollow but what this title really could use is a more polished edit. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the confusion comes from the way it’s all put together. With all my little critiques I[‘m not saying this is a bad film. Only that it’s a movie you may have to watch more than once, in order to fully get what’s happening.

 Occurrence At Mills Creek is a character drama with some supernatural occurrences that mainly take place at the end. It has its moments of greatness but overall, maybe a little convoluted for some people to follow and stick with. But it is still an above average film and still manages to create an atmosphere of creeping dread. The scoring keeps the mood going and the end does make up for a lot of the technical issues. Three stars and thank you for reading.

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