It’s hard for a movie to get everything wrong, odds are there is going to someone in the production that knows exactly what they are doing to get the job done effectively. There are many movies that leave the audience with nothing but that relief that is was at least in focus. Legendarily bad movie The Room fails in almost every way but has a charm that is felt through the whole production of a director that thinks they are making their magnum opus. There is nothing charming to be found in Occurrence at Mills Creek, but rather an overall sense of disdain for the audience.
After the loss of her mother to sickness and her sister to a freak accident, Clara is feeling alone in the world. Before and during the funerals she has been having dreams of her family and hallucinations of warnings. As time becomes more and more disjointed Clara clings to what sanity she has left in an attempt to figure out the spirits’ messages and what danger may be lurking in the darkness waiting for her.
With a substantially smaller budget than most feature films, it is always smart to be sparing with your locations and your characters. This creates simple staging for the characters to work within and while it may make the vision seem small, the tight-knit nature of the project ensures that the story is well connected to the characters and locations. For almost the entire running time of Occurrence at Mills Creek, there is no plot but rather a multitude of characters that just exist in the film, each with their side stories that go nowhere. There was a feeling that this film was shot in order as they made the story along as they went, along with a plot that seems to just jump forward and backward in time with hardly any rhyme or reason.
Occurrence at Mills Creek then proceeds to double down on its poor plot with acting so bad that it is almost comical. From every line read being deadpan to timing being painfully off, there is no reason some of these actors should be cast in their respective roles. There is a character in Clara’s class that has two lines and in those two lines acts complete circles around any one of the leads. It becomes frustrating and tedious when you have to spend an entire feature with characters that are being shown up by every background character with a single line read, let alone the side character of the nurse who put more into his part than anyone did in the whole film.
There will be people that read this review in hope that there may be an ironic joy to be found in Occurrence at Mills Creek but have your time. There is no fun to be found in the film’s barely coherent plot, its miserably empty characters, or its ugly presentation of flat scenes and washed out colors. This is not a “so bad it’s good” movie, it is simply a bad movie.
1 out of 10