The Wasting is a small film with large misfires. It’s an unfortunate directorial debut from documentary writer Carolyn Saunders and, boy, what a reluctant debut it is.
Saunders’ shoestring thriller follows an overwhelmed young woman (Sophie played by Lauren McQueen) as she deals with peer pressure and her father’s helicoptering guidance. The reigns are kept tight on her life, which develops an eating disorder along with a separate haunting from an ominous presence. The “figure” is hidden from the audience except for when Sophie encounters it and recoils in fear.
The green writer/director shows signs of wanting to deliver imaginative thrills ala Blumhouse fare, but Carolyn Saunders’ confidence is lacking in the creative department. She uses hokey tricks in hopes to add suspense to Sophie’s unseen agitator, however – with the performances being as flat as they are – movie goers have a hard time playing along. Some of the fault falls on the cast, who are mostly known for their work on television. This comment shouldn’t discredit their experience on TV, but The Wasting is a film that’s supposed to work on multiple levels – including psychologically and literally – and these unsatisfying performances don’t meet the consistent standards of long-form, multi-layered storytelling. Then again, Saunders’ heavy-handed script prevents the actors from giving their characterizations any personality.
It’s ironic for The Wasting to have spiritual connections, yet have so little faith at the same time.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie