Just a Child - Adam Ford
Written by Jay Creepy   
Friday, 07 June 2019


Just a Child review on Severed Cinema

Directed by: Adam Ford
Written by: Sebastian Sonta, Domiziano Cristopharo, Andrea Lanza
Produced by: Domiziano Cristopharo, Coulson Rutter, Chiara Pavoni
Cinematography by: Domiziano Cristopharo
Editing by: Domiziano Cristopharo
Special Effects by: Athanasious Pernath
Music by: Alexander Cimini
Cast: Alessandro Feudale, Chiara Pavoni, Alfonso Auria, Federico di Pasquale, Giorgio Agri
Year: 2019
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 7min

God bless Adam (Torment) Ford for bringing us a shuffling zombie to begin this movie. Not since Howard and Jonathan Ford's 2010 epic, The Dead, has a walking cadaver been captured so eerily and so down right corpse looking! Look, zombies do shuffle, they are scarier that way, if they were real, they would shuffle. Sheer numbers or one sneaking up, is more petrifying than running or staggering ones (or climbing ones... what???!!!). Tell me in honest terms you don't feel your skin crawl watching the crowd of dead people shuffling through the dark towards the shanty hospital in Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters. In fact, Domiziano Cristopharo's recent short, Reveniens (see review here) came very close to the classic feel, but Just a Child grabs you via the lighting and mood.

Anyway this walking meatball of decay purposefully heads upstairs in a lonely little house where a teenage lad, Bob, lays in bed having a nightmare. The zombie stands over him, he wakes and smiles. Daddy. until he properly wakes up rather shocked at the dream.

Cue a sinister piano score as the title comes up. We are in a neat lil homage to the ghostly and atmospheric Italian chillers of yesteryear. We meet our three main cast members, the lad and his family, sort of (Mom is played by the reliable Domiziano regular, Chiara Pavoni of Xpiation, POE 4: the Black Cat, and many more). Our main lad, Bob, has a room full of unique and characterised toys, including some rather alarmingly shaped drawers, plus a huge trunk. Mom sits with him. He gets upset, as she discusses her new partner, Antony. You can substitute Dad all you like, but I won't! he yells, so he takes a long sluggish stroll through the country lanes and to his Father's grave.

Alone in the dark house, Barbara (Mom) plays the piano. After a nice rendition, she walks away. Startled, she glances twice as she thinks she hears the piano again. Taking a box from the room, she fails to notice the zombie from earlier is reflected in a long mirror. After a brief chat with Anthony, she tells him about Bob. He says if the lad carries on, he'll deal with him personally. Her expression changes to one of confusion and worry at that remark.

Meanwhile, Bob digs up the bones of an old pet, Max the cat, who we see (via flashback) was suffocated by a younger Bob as the poor kitty just chilled out watching him play with his toys. To add some sort of substance to the murder, we can hear his parents argue over him. Bob, I really don't like you now (nor does my own feline, Crowley, who glared in rage at the scene unfolding before us).

Over dinner, Antony mentions he has plans to do up the old family house which he has just moved into with them. He asks Bob if he'd like to help. Bob goes off, finally shouting his opinion about Antony loud and clear. He's arrogant and I hate him! before storming off.

That night, Bob finds he can hear his deceased Father over a toy phone, and the lights flicker downstairs unnerving Barbara. The next morning, Anthony has a little man to man chat with Bob the cat killer. Bob is scared into an uneasy 'friendship'. Barbara hears who she thinks is her fella calling down from the bathroom, until Anthony walks in from chopping wood. When he checks, there's no one there and we see a very brief dark side to his character for the first time aimed at Barbara (well aside from when he told her earlier not to contradict him in a threatening tone) as he assumes she was having a joke at his expense.

Throughout, Barbara endures a series of horrific nightmares and events in reality start to take more eerie twists and ultimately bloody turns.

The old glory days of Italian and Euro cinema didn't start and end with gore in the horror genre. Mario Bava, for instance, made the utterly terrifying Shock, as one of his final features, and I reckon a lot of that was pulled into Just a Child (plus Ghosthouse). This works on the factor that the small cast are great together, chugging up the tension.

Chiara Pavoni plays a very different character to her usual roles. Barbara is on the edge, a ghost herself, and not in control of the world around her. Giorgio (POE 4, Deep Web XXX) also gets to take on a different sort of role as Father Mario. Newcomer Alessandro Feudale wins marks for making Bob so grim and unlikeable in all ways. Alfonzo Auria meanwhile, for Anthony's rough edged and blunt ways, becomes the suffering victim throughout, in a way, courtesy of Alfonzos trying to do his best against such a mess of expressions. Great stuff.

Adam Ford uses the cold blue darkness to great advantage in the more chilling scenes, and though there's no jump shocks, or extreme gore (anyone coming in for the crimson will be let down), there is a great story and compelling viewing. Of what blood there is, we witness a great hammer beat-down, fingernails bloodily breaking, and a few stabbing moments courtesy of Athanasious Pernath who spilled blood all over American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice and Phantasmogoria. None of which goes too over-the-top; it doesn't need to until it delivers the knockout finale. Honestly, I didn't see that one coming at all.

None of this may have been the same without the gloomy tones of Alexander (POE 4, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice) Cimini's score which creeps up the spine and a tight writing team, including Domiziano.

Just a Child slots into the late night terror category, and it isn't trying to force the nostalgia ingredients -- it's just telling its spooky tale naturally, making a genuine horror film for us all to enjoy and in a short bitesized chunk that doesn't outstay its welcome.




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Sushi   |186.11.103.xxx |2019-06-09 08:29:58
Always makes my day when I see a new review, thanks again!
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Last Updated ( Friday, 07 June 2019 )