The Wasting

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5.00 / 5

User rating: 5

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User review rating: 5 March 05, 2018

A fascinating premise, beautifully done, with far more depth than your average horror. The Wasting is about anorexic teen Sophie, who is haunted by a ghost that only she believes is there. Her friends and family think she's hallucinating; their lack of support makes her feel more alone than ever, a betrayal that does as much damage as their refusal to call her eating disorder by its name. The Wasting has a lot to say about the nature of mental illness, in a way that is clearly well-researched, but also delivered in an entertaining package. First time director Carolyn Saunders has crafted a thoughtful, complex film that is more of a horror in the way that The Others or Sixth Sense or Babadook is: It's a human story wrapped in a ghost story. The characters are well drawn and realistic, strongly portrayed by the young, highly watchable cast. Lauren McQueen stuns with a subtle, sensitive performance as Sophie, speaking volumes with her eyes alone. Alexz Johnson is natural and unforced as the opinionated Grace - and what a pleasure it is to see a female character with so much strength and such unapologetic opinions. The Bechdel people should put this one on the top of their charts. Brothers Liam and Kai are played with complexity by real brothers Sean Stevenson and Brendan Flynn, who give us sibling rivalry and sibling loyalty all at once, while still maintaining their own very distinct voices - Stevenson charms as the earnest Liam, while Flynn's conflicted Kai is a believable depiction of a young man struggling to do the right thing and falling short. As Sophie's parents, Gray O'Brien and Shelagh McLeod add to the complexity, and in a film that is entirely Sophie's POV, we are never sure where they stand. She fluctuates between defending her controlling father to her skeptical friends, to a chilling scene when he tells her "eyes down", and she drops her gaze as if she's never known anything but subjugation. I must also mention the stunning cinematography of The Wastin

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