AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2011
By Don Simpson | October 25, 2011
Director: Eric Steele
Writers: Eric Steele, Hunter Wood
Starring: Caroline White, Hunter Wood, Richard Rollin, Clay Yocum, Marjorie Hayes
We first meet Rose (Caroline White) and Luis (Hunter Wood) as they arrive at an idyllic bayou town, Uncertain, TX. They head directly to a bed and breakfast where Rose and Luis appear to be early for their reservations. No one is around to answer the front door, but the door is unlocked, so they take it upon themselves to enter into what appears to be a museum of bric-a-brac and rare antiquities…
Rudo (Clay Yocum) discovers the couple in the foyer and promptly whisks them along for a penny tour of the house. The bald, brawny and brainless man-child is the son of the B&B’s blind proprietors — Marie (Marjorie Hayes) and Thibault (Richard Rollin) — who are incredibly excited by Rose and Luis’ presence. Marie and Thibault have very big plans in store for Rose and Luis. It seems Thibault was once friends with Luis’ [since deceased] father and he has been holding some possessions of Luis’ father for this long-awaited occasion.
Everybody’s got something to hide [except me and my monkey] and it is not until the third act that everyone finally reveals their secrets. It is in this amazing third act that writer-director Eric Steele’s Uncertain, TX finally hits it stride. Everything finally falls into place as the conclusion of this somewhat unconventional horror film finally comes to a boil. I just wish I enjoyed the first two acts as much as I liked the third.
Truth be told, I know a lot of people who were involved in the production of Uncertain, TX; so, it goes without saying that I really wanted to love every single frame of Uncertain, TX. Unfortunately, there is something incredibly uneven — you might even say herky-jerky — about the first two acts that I just cannot put my finger on. There are also some incredibly amateurish production flaws that I could not overlook. The sound is atrociously inconsistent — sometimes the ambient noise cuts out completely; there are exterior locations in which the dialogue is all too clearly overdubbed in an echoey indoor location. In the third act, however, I did not notice any production quirks; as if the third act was shot while everyone really had their heads in the game.
All nitpicking aside, the story is quite interesting and I think Steele and company might be able to resolve a lot of the production glitches by spending a little more time in post production. (I did not stay for the Q&A, but I presume they rushed to finish Uncertain, TX for its Austin Film Festival premiere.) It just really amazes me that a film with such high production value — thanks in no small part to Clay Liford’s gorgeous cinematography and some really fantastic casting choices — could contain such frustratingly naive blemishes.