H.P. Lovecraft’s influence still has a strong presence in the contemporary horror genre. Lovecraft was more than just the “Man of Cosmic Horror.” One of his stronger themes include “madness in the face of abject horror.” We’ve all come across this theme in his writings. When a character is faced with something so horrific that their mind is unable to comprehend and grasp it, that character’s mind snaps. I love this theme and and incorporated in some of my own writings. India horror filmmaker, Ansel Faraj, takes this theme and runs with it in his (very) Lovecraftian film, The Last Case of August T. Harrison.
The story is about a an older detective (Jerry Lacy) who comes out of retirement to take on a case at his son Jason’s (Eric Gorlow) request. Jason’s friends, Eleanora (Maggie Wagner) needs to find an ex-rersearch partner, Drake (Max Landwirth), who ran off and disappeared with a lot of their research. She needs what he has in order to finish her project. It turns out that Drake and Eleanora were doing research into the multiverse when Drake disappeared. The plot is told from Harrison’s perspective as he goes through his paces of trying to find Drake. Faraj wrote a tight script that slowly lets the viewer unravel the mystery at the same time as Harrison. Sure, we all know where the plot is headed, but it is pretty fun getting there.
The Last Case of August T. Harrison isn’t a monster/creature-fest. Don’t expect to be blown away by a bunch of bad ass creature effects. This is not what Faraj set out to make. There are creatures, who live on another plane of existence, who want to punch a doorway into out world, but the focus is more on the human side of things. Faraj explores the humans who are helping these multidimensional creatures. But yes, this film would have greatly benefitted from getting some Lovecraftian creatures, but I didn’t feel like not getting them hurt the film.
On the plus side, the tone and atmosphere that Faraj creates is spot on. It has an antiquated feel to it (in a good way), and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that Lovecraft himself wrote the short story this film is based on. What really helps the atmosphere here is the soundtrack. It is creepy and really helps set the tone.
At the end of the day, The Last Case of August T. Harrison is an indie film and it does feel like one. Some of the production values weren’t as strong as they could’ve been, but the writing and acting are strong enough that you will over look some of these deficiencies. Check this one out.
Director: Ansel Faraj (& writer & producer & cinematographer & editor & digital effects master)
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 1 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer