The most thoroughly enjoyable film for the 2022 Portland Horror Film Festival was Alexandra Spieth’s debut feature film Stag. It was hands down the biggest surprise of the festival for us, as Spieth is a horror newcomer, and we were floored by the comic timing, the acting commitment, the highly awkward anxiety-building moments, and the poignant dramatic turn that the movie makes.
The movie is a bit of a mashup of Bridesmaids, The Wicker Man, Midsommar, and an ’80s camp slasher film, but the film maintains its own identity throughout. Though the script and plot echos the spirit of other great horror tropes, it never feels like a copy, particularly when it hits the pivotal reveal. A lot of that is a credit to some stellar casting. Mary Glen Frederick is an acting tour-de-force here, with masterful comic and thriller timing playing Jenny. Elizabeth Ramos is excellent as the estranged bestie struggling with an old grudge, and the rest of the ensemble is a terrific assortment of colorful characters.
At its core, this is a film about the bonds of friendship and how these bonds can get pushed to their limits. It layers physical existential fears on top of the fears of loss and change. You can check out our full ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ review of Stag HERE.
We had as much fun talking with Alexandra, as we did watching her movie. It was a relaxed and breezy conversation to talk about her influences, experiences, and hopes for her film. Though her background is in the comedy scene, she is a true-blue horror fan and recognized the path of success was to follow the well-worn independent horror director path laid by the likes of John Carpenter and Sam Raimi. A smart move! If Stag is any indication, she could have a long and fruitful career in scary films.
In true indie film tradition, Alexandra is the writer as well as the director, and the cracking dialogue and high hysteria from the proceedings can be attributed directly to her (and the terrific cast). We think you’ll have as much fun listening to Ms. Spieth as we had in talking with her. Stag has not yet gotten its wide streaming release yet, but be assured that when it does, The Scariest Things will let you know about it!
In the meanwhile, here’s the trailer to tide you over until it gets released:
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Leave a Reply