Tag Archives: Angela Wong Carbone

Good Bones

15 Cameras

by Hope Madden

There have been a lot of movies that tread the same water as 15 Cameras: true crime, new homes, unannounced cameras, creepy guys, basements – among them, Victor Zarcoff’s 2015 thriller 13 Cameras.

I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for this one, honestly, but director Danny Madden (no relation), working from a fine script by PJ McCabe (co-star of 13 Cameras and writer of the criminally underseen The Beta Test), layers themes and ideas to develop a rich picture of villainy.

There’s a little hitch to the starter home recently purchased by Sky (Angela Wong Carbone) and Cam (The Wolf of Snow Hollow’s Will Madden, also no relation to me, but he is the director’s brother). They got the duplex pretty cheap, but that’s because the former owner is the famous Slumlord from a popular true crime show (full of footage from 13 Cameras), who’d wired all his homes up with many cameras, watched victims to get their habits down, then kidnapped and killed at will.

Sky can’t get enough of the show. She binges it, finishes it, and binges it again. It’s a huge turnoff for her ignored husband, and more than a little creepy to her sister Carolyn (Hilty Bowen), who’s crashing while she tries to get a restraining order against her ex.

And there you have it: one location (duplex), a handful of characters (those mentioned plus two tenants), and a found footage/true crime sensibility. Efficient, logical, but never boring and though inevitable, rarely truly predictable.

The slyest thing about 15 Cameras is the way it shows the distance between nice guy, abusive boyfriend and all out monster in inches. By keeping us with Cam’s perspective, that continuum takes on an even more powerful feel.

Will Madden does a fine job of developing an uncomfortable, believable arc for Cam. Likewise, Carbone allows her character enough space to be occasionally unlikeable, while often quite tender.

Indeed, all the performances have texture and depth, even those that might have been considered throwaways in other horror flicks. (Shout out to a very brief but memorable turn from Jim Cummings.) And the storyteller in Danny Madden knows how this should play out.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about 15 Cameras, but what it does, it does well.

Woman on the Verge


by Hope Madden

In 2020, Rebecca Hall starred in The Night House, a nice little haunted house tale. That movie worked, partly because it was filmed gorgeously, but mainly because Hall herself elevated all the little contrivances with an awe-inspiring performance.

It’s 2022 and she does it again, this time in writer/director Andrew Semans’s psychological horror, Resurrection.

Hall is Margaret, and as the film opens, she’s sitting on her desk, looking benevolently at young intern Gwen (Angela Wong Carbone), patiently offering advice. Margaret’s wisdom feels earned, but it’s hard to imagine this competent and controlled woman was ever weak.

What follows is the unearthing of a backstory that might seem maudlin and ludicrous in other hands. In these hands, though, Resurrection becomes unnerving and horrifying.

Semans’s film walks that worn path: is she crazy or is this really happening? Has Margaret’s past finally found her? Or has the prospect of watching her daughter (Grace Kaufman) turn 18—Margaret’s age during her own trauma—fractured her psyche?

Kaufman, along with Michael Esper as harmless love interest/office bestie Peter, offer grounded, tender performances that strengthen the film’s “is she or isn’t she” vibe.

Enter Tim Roth as the mysterious David. Roth channels the understated approach he used to great effect in Sundown and Bergman Island. Only here, the result is chilling.

On the surface, The Resurrection is a stalker thriller, bearing all the markings of the subgenre. But there is a deeply weird story unraveling here and Hall’s performance ensures that it leaves a mark. The lingering monologue where Margaret reveals the source of her panic is the kind of material that would break a lesser performer. It builds, as the camera closes in, to a reveal so bizarre it could easily become grotesquely silly. But you believe Hall.

And that’s the heart of Resurrection’s effectiveness. The fact that both Hall and Roth take the story seriously, never play it for laughs, and remain so understated in their performances creates a diabolical atmosphere. You’re as unmoored as Margaret.

You will squirm and look away long before the film’s bloody climax because watching Margaret come undone is traumatizing. Semans’s wrap-up is not as successful, but the damage his film does can’t be undone.