Written and Directed by: Gus Krieger
Starring: Amy Gumenick and Josh Heisler
North American Release Date: August 2016
In the biblical story of the Binding of Isaac, Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his only son. Once he bound Isaac and placed him on the altar, an Angel of God appeared before Abraham in order to stay his hand, acknowledging that his actions were enough to satisfy God in his belief. This is the principle story around which The Binding takes place. Once Bram (Heisler) is visited by God in his sleep and commanded to do the unthinkable, Sarah’s (Gumenick) faith is put to the test as she tries to uncover the truth behind her husband’s visions. Is it God or something else?
What’s it about?
Bram, a minister of the local church, and Sarah, his devoted and highly religious wife, are happy together with their infant daughter, Skya. Once Bram is commanded by God to kill their only child, their once happy family spirals into a life of misery, fear and a questioning of faith.
Here’s the Trailer:
What did I think?
The Binding had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation and fear.
Whenever I watch religious horror, I am reminded of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and this film was no exception. I first saw that movie when I was five years old and, twenty years later, I still have nightmares about it. A mixture of The Exorcist and The Omen, The Binding is a phenomenal and terrifying film that causes you to question your beliefs as well as the world around you.
This film relies more on dialogue than anything else to explain everything. While there is religious and other significant imagery all around (you couldn’t have a horror movie without it), very few things are explained through action of the characters or a visual shot. This is not a criticism by any means. I very much enjoyed that the exposition relied on the dialogue because it still came off as regular conversation. Very often, when a script is not good, spoken exposition comes off as forced. That was not the case with The Binding. The script was well written and the actors did an amazing job delivering it to the audience.
The theme of control was very strong within the film. Bram wants to be in control of himself as well as his wife and daughter. He then struggles when Sarah steps up to take control of their horrifying situation. This can easily be seen in the dialogue when he continually says things like, “don’t talk to me like that,” “watch your tone” or “a wife should respect her husband’s wishes.” To be honest, there was one moment during the film when I flipped off my computer monitor because they were talking about wives being obedient. It didn’t sit well with me. That being said, it adds a whole new level of depth to the characters and horror to the situation. They’re both grasping for control of something that is uncontrollable.
The last thing I will talk about today is the acting. I touched on it slightly when I talked about the script, but I want to elaborate. Amy Gumenick and Josh Heisler are both phenomenal. Gumenick is perfectly expressive and has just the right amount of edge to make her character’s growth and actions believable. Josh Heisler – who I seriously thought was Sean Aston for about 10 minutes – does an amazing job at being innocent and happy one minute, then absolutely terrifying the next. The supporting cast is also amazing at adding that extra layer of sanity and groundedness to a situation that would otherwise be insane.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, I highly recommend it. This movie is most certainly worth checking out, especially for the religious horror buffs.