The Gathering Squall (2011, Hannah Fidell)

The Gathering Squall has two problems, one complicated, one simple.

The first problem has to do with putting Joyce Carol Oates’s name up front. Storm is based on one of her stories and if a Joyce Carol Oates story starts with a young teenage girl walking alongside a rural road and an older boy pulling up next to her… you know where it’s going to go.

Director Fidell takes it there perfectly. It’s horrible and amazing at times. Fidell gets a fantastic performance out of Sydney Hogan as the girl. Hogan makes Squall work, even when she’s not center stage.

Sofi Marshall cuts the film together perfectly. There’s a tranquil, horrible danger to it.

Then, at the last moment, things go amazingly wrong. Fidell decides she has to make a point of Squall–a young woman’s experience versus a young man’s–she turns it into Die Hard on a Boat.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Hannah Fidell; screenplay by Fidell, based on a story by Joyce Carol Oates; director of photography, Andrew Droz Palermo; edited by Sofi Marshall; production designer, Elana Farley; produced by Fidell and Brian McOmber.

Starring Sydney Hogan (Lisellen Uhlmann), Tyler Serle (Duncan Baites), Brett Shaw (Mr. Uhlmann) and Amy Edgerly (Mrs. Uhlmann).

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