By: Addison Wylie
As much as I would like to commend writer/director Jeremy Thomas for making a sophisticated and adult film about grief and the internal struggle to define what is morally correct, his woeful feature Ally Was Screaming is an anticlimactic and overcooked blunder that drove me crazy. Although, Thomas’ maturity is essentially what was much needed in January’s I Put a Hit on You.
Seth, Nole, and Ally were a friendly and tender trifecta. The men (Charlie Carrick and Giacomo Baessato) are instantly stricken when their lovely Ally suddenly dies, and her estate is handled by Ally’s sister Casey (played by Rookie Blue’s Camille Sullivan). Seth and Nole’s heartstrings and integrity are further pulled through the wringer when they discover a winning lottery ticket to the tune of $30,000,000 in Ally’s belongings.
Seth and Nole – as anyone would do – freak out and celebrate, with the full intent to honour Ally by discussing how the money should be dealt. However, the choice is not up to them. Legally, Casey has the final say and, unquestionably, she’ll want to file the winnings accordingly to Ally’s ex. The former love interest’s abusive history towards the departed is unbeknownst to Casey, but not to Seth or Nole.
Ally Was Screaming stumbles over itself to get the show on the road during an unwisely speedy first act. Then, it slows down as if the film is prematurely flashing its final bars of battery.
Thomas’s dialogue-heavy screenplay sounds like it may sound better on stage where actors could have more room to breathe and more space to emote. In the confines of a small-scale indie, the intimate performances by Carrick, Baessato, and Sullivan end up manifesting a melodramatic pretence. Thomas also uses classical instrumentals and tasteful mood lighting to some avail, but most of these cues smother the film in more histrionic drama.
Jeremy Thomas takes his audience on a sedated ride of highs and lows. He builds and builds towards cautious confrontations, and then abandons ship. Then, he reacquaints himself with tension, and continues to pump the brakes when scenes are gaining momentum. This emotional effect is supposed to have us on the edge of our seat, but we only sink further down in our chair muttering frustrated grumbles. Ally Was Screaming’s presumption of what is mind-bending melted my brain into unstimulated mush.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie