Runtime: 92 Minutes
Writer/Director: Clayton Scott
Stars: Davis DeRock, Sarah McGuire
By Bianca Garner
There’s always been something mysterious and slightly sinister about what goes on in Small Town America. On the surface, these towns seem to be caring communities where everyone knows each other and looks out for one another. Scrap away the surface, and we quickly discover a darkness that lies underneath. Small Town America is a place where secrets lay buried for decades, and it’s a place where everyone knows the truth but refuses to speak up.
We’ve seen many films tackle the mystique of Small Town America, films such as “IT” and “Stand By Me” seem to showcase the horror and sense of foreboding that exists in these towns. “Blue Velvet” has shown the gritty dirtiness of the small town. And, films such as “Mississippi Burning” have shown the covering up of crime in the world of Small Town America. Clayton Scott’s “Below the Fold” is in a similar vein to all of the above mentioned movies, it reveals a hidden truth to the world of Small Town America…This dirtiness and despair, the corruption and the cover-up.
“This micro budget film is one of the best I’ve seen for a long time, and demonstrates that all you need for a good movie is a compelling story at it’s centre. “
Like all good mystery films, at the centre of “Below the Fold” is a compelling mystery which feels deeply personal and instantly draws the viewer in. A young girl called Susie Potter disappeared without a trace from the quiet town of Skidmore, Missouri. No clues were ever left behind at the crime scene, and the trail has gone freezing cold. Ten years later, two local reporters David (Davis DeRock) and Lisa (Sarah McGuire) have decided to solve what actually happened to Susie. However, they quickly find that the townspeople are less than inclined to speak about Susie’s disappearance, and there’s more to the mystery than initially thought.
Despite being shot on a microbudget, “Below the Fold” looks like it’s a bigger budget picture. There’s a high level of professionalism to film and it looks very well put together. The world of Skidmore is so visually unique, that you can’t help but be drawn in. The creepy atmosphere of the small town helps to leave the viewer on the edge of their seat, there’s something you can’t quite shake off whilst watching the film…a feeling of dread. Scott does a brilliant job of capturing that voyeuristic sense of the main characters always being watched, and we feel like we’re also there with them being observed.
“Like all good mystery films, at the centre of “Below the Fold” is a compelling mystery which feels deeply personal and instantly draws the viewer in.”
The characters of David and Lisa are very well-written and whilst the romantic backstory between them isn’t completely necessary to the plot, it does help make the characters feel more real and developed. McGuire delivers a strong performance, and it’s nice to see a strong female character driving forward the story and being given so much screen time. Out of the two central characters, I found myself more interested in Lisa and was heavily invested in her journey.
“Below the Fold” is a slow movie, which may frustrate some viewers, but it’s deliberately slow as it’s all about building on that atmosphere. The long dialogue scenes where David and Lisa question certain suspects are full of tension, and the acting is tremendous. We feel the sense of claustrophobia and fear that Lisa and David must be experiencing and it makes for a very tense watch as we are left wondering how certain scenes are going to play out.
It’s a very well-made film, and it’s great to see how effectively a filmmaker can make a low-budget film look so slick and impressive. I found myself thinking about the film long after the credits had rolled, and that’s always a good sign. This micro budget film is one of the best I’ve seen for a long time, and demonstrates that all you need for a good movie is a compelling story at it’s centre.
“Below the Fold” is available on VoD now. You can find out more here: https://www.belowthefoldmovie.com/
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