Review: Uncover the Dark Secrets in “The Puppetman”

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Listen: The Puppetman

Uncover the Dark Secrets in “The Puppetman” – New Release Review

Prepare for a thrilling journey as a young woman confronts her family’s haunting past while mysterious deaths unfold around her.  Directed by: Brandon Christensen, Starring: Caryn Richman, Michael Páre, Alyson Gorske, Zachary Le Vey, Angel Prater

Discover the talent of writer/director Brandon Christensen in his first two movies, “Still/Born” and “Z.” With a limited budget. These films captured the essence of 1970s TV movies and drive-in classics. Christensen’s skill in working with low budgets shines through, relying on strong performances from female leads and clever storytelling. Although his third film, “Superhost,” had its charms, it lacked the focus of his previous works.

Now, in his fourth feature, Christensen sets his sights high but faces limitations that take effort to overcome. Unlike his previous films, “The Puppetman” takes place in a larger setting, drawing inspiration from the “Final Destination” series without its extravagant budget for outlandish set-pieces.

The lack of budget becomes apparent as the primary college campus setting lacks the usual bustling student life. It’s winter break, and only a small group of friends remain. They support their troubled friend, Michal, whose father is on death row for a crime he claims was influenced by a supernatural force. As Michal’s stress grows, strange events occur, leading her to believe she has the same power that caused her best friend’s tragic death.

“The Puppetman” weaves elements of investigative procedural horror and a nod to “Final Destination,” delivering compelling sequences. However, the film struggles in its final act to establish its mythology, leaving viewers needing clarification about the nature of The Puppet Man. Despite this, Alyson Gorske delivers a stellar performance, though burdened by exposition-heavy dialogue.

Although “The Puppetman” shows potential for a series, Christensen’s ambitions may require a larger budget. While hidden puppet strings create intrigue, it’s clear that budget constraints are visible. Experience the suspense and unravel the mysteries of “The Puppetman” while envisioning its potential with a higher budget.

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