DVD Review: Cassadaga

By , Contributor
Set in the “psychic capital of the world,” Cassadaga, Florida, director Anthony DiBlasi’s horror film doesn’t make a real attempt at being scary until it’s too late. The slow-moving, unfocused Cassadaga squanders much of its first hour on protagonist Lily’s (Kelen Coleman) grief over the loss of her younger sister. Michelle (Sarah Sculco) is struck down by a vehicle right off the bat, ruining the sisters’ plan to move to France.

Wracked with depression, Lily moves into a home owned by Claire (Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher) and her bizarre son (Lucas Beck). Desperate to somehow connect with her deceased sister, Lily indulges in a séance. She winds up being haunted by the spirit of a college student whose murder has gone unsolved. Presumably in order to rid herself of the resultant unpleasant visions, Lily tries to uncover the mystery. She also begins a romance with single dad Mike (Kevin Alejandro). The relationship is on understandably shaky ground, as Mike’s ex is naturally concerned about her child being in the presence of a woman who vomits maggots during apparent psychotic breaks.

Cassadaga 3 (380x253).jpgThere are too many plot threads converging here, culminating in the revelation that a crazed psycho is kidnapping local co-eds and turning them into human marionettes. This killer, dubbed “Geppetto,” was first seen as a child during a cheesy pre-credits sequence. Due to his mother’s disapproval of his predilection for wearing women’s clothing, the future “Geppetto” emasculates himself with a pair of scissors.

Cassadaga 1 (380x233).jpgIncidentally, Lily is deaf. Not much is made of this, aside from the fact that she reads lips. Kelen Coleman is likeable in the role. She’s also easy on the eyes, but don’t expect her to disrobe. An ultra-chaste love scene between her and Mike finds them having sex with their underwear on. Though there is a bit of the genre’s requisite gore late it the film, there’s almost no nudity (the one brief instance involves a model posing for art students). If it all sounds a bit disjointed, that’s because it is. Nothing comes together in Cassadaga, which wears out its welcome at 102 minutes.

Available on DVD December 31, Cassadaga unfortunately comes with no bonus features.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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