Review: Sweetheart (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: Sweetheart
Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: JD Dillard
Starring: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen, Hanna Mangan Lawrence
Runtime: 1 hr 22 min

What It Is: In this cast-away flick, Jenn (Clemons) wakes to find herself washed ashore on a deserted island. One of her shipmates dies on the beach from a fatal injury. As she struggles to learn how to survive, she discovers a monstrous horror that roams the island at night that she realizes she’ll eventually have to face.

What We Think: It’s a Blumhouse flick. What are you expecting? What I found was a solid cast-away/monster-movie mashup with an interesting potential subtext of women being taken for granted (hence the sort of vague title). Lead actress Kiersey Clemons is given a badass role in which we actually get to see a character grow in strength and intellect in a way that feels realistic and relatable. She’s pretty great, though she does look a little too clean for having to survive on a deserted island whilst trying not to be eaten alive. The pacing is relatively intense enough for one’s interest to be maintained throughout the whole of the duration, which I enjoyed. The story, plot holes and a pretty handful of contrivances aside, is just. It’s technically pretty well made and well-lit, especially for a film that takes place mostly in the dark on an unlit-island, though some of the camerawork can make it hard to understand what’s happening in the action scenes. You can expect unscary jumpscares, cliché attempts at a rise in suspense by building up the noise/orchestra so loud and then a cut to silence, and an at-times overbearing score—but you’re sure to find that this film has some moments that can be enjoyable (e.g., the reveals).

Our Grade: C, This film doesn’t particularly interest me, but it’s entertaining enough to where it’ll definitely appeal to people. Hey: you yourself may very well enjoy and appreciate it more than I did. It’s not a bad movie. Funny story—I watched this at a Press & Industry screening. The guy sitting behind me was so easily put off by the (not scary) jumpscares that he repeatedly (and annoyingly) knocked into my seat. Maybe you’ll get as much of a kick out of the movie as he did. 

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Chai Simone Written by: