As an audience member, I love to pick a part a film and claim myself as an omniscient narrator as it is presented before me. But sometimes, it’s nice to be wrong.
The series of events that unfold throughout a film are, more often than not, quite predictable.
Of course, I don’t really know what’s going to happen, but usually audience members are clever enough to unpack the finale before it occurs. Written and directed by Ramaa Mosley, Lost Child had me second guessing and reformulating my conclusions throughout the entirety of the film.
The eerie thriller follows young army veteran, Fern (Leven Rambin), who returns to her deceased, alcoholic father’s home in the Ozarks to search and re-connect with her rambunctious, emotionally tormented younger brother, Billy (Taylor John Smith).
Amidst suffering from PTSD in an extremely small town overridden with hard drugs, Fern stumbles upon a lonesome child in the woods and takes him in. The little boy claims the name Cecil (Landon Edwards), but refuses to reveal any additional information regarding his past and where / what he comes from. Mike (Jim Parrack), the local bartender by night and avid social worker by day, also Fern’s persistent love interest throughout the film, struggles to find any clue or trace of who Cecil actually is. Mike encourages Fern to take Cecil in until he is able to find his parents. Reluctantly, Fern agrees as she finds herself falling ill.
The town doctor takes one look at Cecil and immediately advises Fern to remove Cecil from her home if she wants to regain her breath and stop her hair from turning white for he believes Cecil is a Tatterdemalion. The folklore tells the story of a demon of the woods that takes the shape of a child and preys on humans to invite them into their homes so that they can slowly steal their host’s health and ultimate life in order to stay young and remain immortal.
Wrestling with her tumultuous brother, her mental and physical aliments, and her new mysterious guest, Fern doesn’t know who or what to believe. She grows immensely paranoid and afraid of Cecil, which ultimately just fuels her destructive tendencies.
Lost Child dances with the supernatural in this eerie thriller, but never seems to full dive into its sinister, creepy world. The film sets up numerous circumstances for things to really go awry, without following through with as much suspense as it could have. The film definitely had me leaning towards the edge of my seat at times and my heart-rate pitter-pattering ever so slightly, but lacked the extra oomph I craved to make my stomach drop.
Regardless, the strong performances, especially from Rambin and Edwards, carried the movie all the way through, and the veering plot left me satisfied and impressed by the film overall. Lost Child evokes a relatable, parental anxiety and instinct within its viewers, and prompts audience members to reflect on their personal beliefs and perceptions of the world. Often we judge or project a subjective opinion onto something because we don’t understand it. We need an irrational explanation to rationalize something we have no experience with instead of taking the time to understand it. Lost Child absolutely reflects and raises this interesting concept in a creative and captivating way.
Lost Child came out in theatre’s on September 14th and is now available on DVD/VOD. Check out a trailer for the film below!