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FIRST LOOK: LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER (May. 06) by Robg.

Where the hell’d this movie come from?!

The Icons staff recently caught an NYC screening of ‘LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER’, and I must say, we were all quite surprised by this gem of a flick, which is sure to please old-school horror enthusiasts.

I recall people back in the late 80’s & early 90’s declaring the “slasher” genre to be dead. And while some can argue that it was (unless you count it being mocked by the ‘Scream’ franchise), I would argue that it was never dead… it just needed a break and a few filmmakers to step up and do something interesting with the genre.

MALEVOLENCE captured the vibe and feeling of an 80’s “slasher” flick perfectly, and now… so does ‘LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER’, although I’m hesitant to classify it as a “slasher” pic, considering it’s got a really unique backstory and fairy tale quality to it.

The story opens with a brutal murder of a student being chased thru the nearby woods of his college campus by a woman in a red hood. Following this, is the opening title credit sequence which features a slew of beautifully painted drawings illustrating a bizarre version of the little red riding hood tale, accompanied by an equally beautiful score.

The music and artwork immediately set the tone for what we’re going to sit and watch for the next 80 or so minutes. The illustrations actually pop up thru out the film, fading in and out from actual live locations as it slowly unfolds the story of the movie.

Peter Bloom is a student on campus who also writes for the school paper and decides to convince his friends that this murder merits more investigation. Then, more murders start happening. It becomes more personal when one of Peter’s friends is among the victims list.

Are the murders random? Or is there a common clue connecting all the victims? It’s better you uncover these plot points on your own as you watch the film, but one thing we do know pretty much from the start, is that the person responsible is Erin Merryweather.

There are a number of reasons I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. Let’s run down the list…

- The look & feel of the movie. It feels like an obscure gem plucked right out of the early 80’s. It does not in any way feel like a movie that was made in the last few years, and for a film of this type, that’s a HUGE compliment. Dave Morwick really knew what it was about those early horror films (especially Halloween) that worked so effectively and he implements all those things into his script and directing.

Structurally, I’d say it’s close to Halloween, in the sense that it’s suspenseful, has interesting relatable characters and next to little or no gore. The murders are still very effective, in the same way they were in the original Halloween.

- The music. I’m not just saying this because I’m a composer, but I believe that a movie’s score is what gives it its heart and soul. Want proof? Watch Halloween, or Psycho, or Friday the 13th without any sound and listen to the difference. The score for ‘Little Erin Merryweather’ was composed by Paul Cristo, who I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the future.

He really did an amazing job adding a lot of depth to the flick, especially during the opening title sequence, which sets up the whole film and during all the scenes which were either flashbacks or voice over’s with Erin’s illustrations.

- The acting. For an independent feature of this sort with a low budget and small cast, there are some pretty good performances here.

Ok, I may be biased since I'm a fan of MALEVOLENCE, but Brandon Johnson really shines in this movie. Every time he pops up, I can’t help but smile because he’s very natural & funny as Peter’s best friend Teddy. Also, Erin Merryweather herself, Vigdis Anholt is excellent.

Not to spoil, but she’s essentially playing two different parts here. The quiet, shy librarian Erin, and the cold, brutal killer Erin. When she appears in full make-up and hood during the third act, she looked fantastic. The entire movie really hinges on her performance in the sense that if the actress playing Erin couldn't "sell" the idea of a brutal female serial killer, everything would fall apart. Vigdis Anholt simply owns this role like Robert Englund owns Freddy Krueger. Bravo, Vigidis!

Lastly, I have to give credit to David Morwick who plays the lead, Peter Bloom. Not only does this guy star in the movie, but he wrote and directed it as well, which couldn’t have been easy. Kudos for wearing three different hats and still delivering a solid performance.

- Little Erin Merryweather - Newest movie maniac? Before the screening began, David took the stage to introduce the film and mentioned how, “We have Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers… it’s time we added a female to that list”. My friend Vin (aka TW) turned to me and said, “If there’s going to be a female on that list, she better be really fucking cool”. Little Erin Merryweather is really fucking cool.
The red hood, the back story, the make-up. It’s all very iconic. Her character has a great backstory that reminded me of those early 80’s flick; when we reached the end of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ and we were told all about who Freddy Krueger was.

Essentially, when Erin was a little girl, her father would read her old fairy tales, in particular little red riding hood and molest her shortly after. To escape these terrible things that she didn’t quite understand, she focused on her little red riding hood doll, who technically saw everything.

So, there’s pretty much the innocent Erin, and Little Erin Merryweather, the doll that saw everything and is out for revenge because of it. And again, not only is Vigdis a beautiful, attractive lead, but she plays Erin with both such sweet innocence and sinister menace.

- Lastly, the merchandise. At this screening, the producers of the film had a slew of movie related merchandise for us to check out. Everything from Little Erin Merryweather masks, action figures, lunch boxes & key chains (which I proudly have on my keys) to a reprint of the illustrated book we see in the film.

What better way to make your film more accessible then to be able to bring home merch from it? It’s a very cool marketing idea. And I can see everyone from the casual horror fan to the ‘Hot Topic’ teen shopper wanting a Little Erin Merryweather action figure. I know I want one.

So, in closing, is this a groundbreaking film? It’s difficult for any horror movie to be called that these days. But it IS a really fun and interesting film which I enjoyed immensely. And one that I think really builds an interesting and unique new myth.

Any genre-savvy film company (we're looking at you, Lionsgate!) needs to pick this up fast, because it's a fresh franchise waiting to happen. David mentioned after the screening that he does in fact have a script all ready to go on a ‘Little Erin Merryweather 2’.

Quite frankly, I’d love to see it, because this movie sets up so many possibilities for this character to go.

- Robg.


VISIT: WWW.LITTLEERINMERRYWEATHER.COM

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