‘Faye’ Review: A Good Premise With Very Cheap Lighting

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Movies, where there’s only one actor on screen, are few and far between, and there’s no surprise as to why. For a person to carry a whole film by themselves is not an easy task. The actors have to put out such a fantastic performance that by themselves they need to be able to entertain, fascinate, and hold the audience in their seats. To achieve something of this magnitude is impossible without help. That’s why some of the best films in this style are actually a collaboration of amazing talents. Faye is one such film, but does it manage to pull off the impossible, or does it fail like so many others?

Faye is directed by Kd Amond and is written by herself along with the protagonist of the film, Sarah Zanotti. The film tells us the story of Faye, a personal growth writer who’s suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. With a deadline almost upon her, she decides to travel to a more peaceful place in order to write, but she starts to be assailed by a ghost from her past. 

Faye might fall under the “horror” label for a section of the audience. But it clearly is a character study that deals with grief and tries to represent on screen the hardships that come when trying to overcome a great tragedy. It is a film with ambition, and that is to be applauded, but the shortcomings of the film drag it to a place where it becomes almost unwatchable. 

Most of the hiccups that Faye has to face as a film come from the fact that this is a very low budget production with only five people on the team. The many moving parts a movie needs to feel complete are many, and this time around, passionate filmmakers are just not enough. 

Does the movie look cheap? Yes, it does. For sure. But there are also some elements that are inconsistent and are not attached to a low budget. Mainly, the camera work is rather amateurish, it feels splashy and most of the shots lack a sense of composition. It’s hard to compose interesting visuals in a close environment, but so many other low budget films have proven that good composition comes from a good eye behind the camera. More dynamism in terms of visuals would have been excellent. The shaky cam throughout the film also feels weird. There’s a tilt that occurs occasionally, and it doesn’t seem to come from a creative decision. 

The other set of problems come from the narrative side of things or, to be more precise, the way the story is being told. The film frames the story around Faye reciting a monologue to an unseen audience, and from there she goes into tangents explaining certain moments of her life. Inside this frame is the story of her going to a remote cabin in order to write. This frame device feels more life fluff and doesn’t really add anything interesting to the material.

Zanotti is a talented enough performer, even though the delivery of her lines is spotty at times. Making her have all the weight of the onscreen production on her shoulders is totally unnecessary for the type of film the filmmakers are trying to make. At the beginning of the film, it is clear that they could find voices for Faye to interact with. The fact that these extra voices disappear from the rest of the film is baffling. Acting is reacting, and when Zanotti has nothing to react with, it becomes harder for her. Unnecessarily hard. Even Tom Hardy in Locke, and Sam Rockwell in Moon had other actors to interact with and react to, even if they didn’t appear on the screen.

The point of the matter is that the direction of the movie feels constrained for weird reasons, and it could have been so much more interesting at the end, especially when the premise is so relatable.

So here’s a warning. Don’t watch Faye if you’re looking to find a good horror film. The horror elements are very minor, and the moments that are supposed to be horrifying have very little impact. Also, don’t watch Faye thinking you’re going to find a magnificent drama, because it isn’t. 

FAYE Trailer from AZif on Vimeo.

The best way to watch this film is for what it is. A film serves as an educational experiment for its filmmakers as they try to grow their abilities into something good enough to make a proper quality movie. If watching those kinds of formative films is your thing, then Faye will be a good watch, but it will be very difficult to find mainstream audiences who think this is worth their time and money. 

Halloween is right around the corner and there will be tons of high-quality films, TV shows and series to experience. Faye just doesn’t make the cut, but she doesn’t really have to be taken as a stain in the filmography of those involved. The raw talent, ambitions, and intentions are all there, and they are all in good faith. They just need more polish and more resources to transform their ideas into something worth spending your time on. 

SCORE: 2/10

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