The Hamiltons

the hamiltonsDespite some short-comings, as far as low-budget horror movies go, I found The Hamiltons pretty decent. Part of the recently re-invigorated After Dark horror series, The Hamiltons centers around a family comprised of 4 brothers and a sister who pull together in the wake of their parents death to live life as best they can. The trouble is that the family has a dark secret that puts them in danger and forces them to move around to avoid persecution (and possibly death) that could be inflicted by the public if their secret is discovered (insert ominous music here).

Don’t get me wrong, The Hamiltons are not your average family, they are some very bad people as evidenced by the opening scene profiling them through an exchange with one of their victims. I won’t say what The Hamiltons are so as not to give away the big reveal, but let’s just say they’re not taking people in because they offer bed and breakfast services.

Overall, I thought the writing was decent, not mind-blowing, but decent. Some of the dialog I thought was pretty boring and predictable but conceptually there are some interesting things going on and I thought the ending worked pretty well. I like when a film will take some chances and not offer the watered down generic Hollywood endings we continually see coming out of the west coast. No offense to my friends on the west side but LA isn’t the only hub for entertainment these days and thank god, otherwise all we’d see are super hero films, reboots and the same regurgitated comedies we’ve come to expect. And by the way – SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FILM!

Horror wise, there are some tense moments that manage to get the pulse rate moving a bit faster without being a gratuitous torture porn film. There’s even some drama involving the relationships between the family members that will keep you guessing here and there, especially with the conflicts that the second youngest son is facing as he questions the actions of his kin.

Where the film falls a bit shy is twofold both in moments of poor production quality along with some bad acting. The lowlight shots in the film made me gasp audibly at how bad the distortion was to the point I was questioning how the hell the movie got distributed in the first place. Then there was the eldest brother’s performance along with the sister who I felt both turned in pretty forced deliveries without feeling very natural in the skin of the characters they were embodying. There weren’t any actors in the film that I felt were exceptional, they were all pretty generic both in terms of delivery and dialog seeming more like placeholders rather than passionate human beings. The lineup includes: Brittany Daniel, Cory Knauf, Samuel Child, Joseph McKelheer and Mackenzie Firgens. Directed by The Butcher Brothers.

In a nutshell, The Hamiltons is worth at least a viewing if you like suspenseful horror without huge expectations.

reviewed by Sean McKnight