Reviews: The Lesson

Here's our early review of the surprisingly good, upcoming 2016 horror film, The Lesson

2016 horror film
These horror screeners are a pain
in the neck!!!
This film is no doubt horror, but it does so in a manipulative manner. Overall, The Lesson unfolds like an art house film. It's an independent movie that inspires the mind and makes you think. The beginning plays out like a coming of age film as a boy named Fin (Evan Bendall) struggles with his late adolescent years while adulthood is breathing fast down his neck. It's done so well, that it's easy to forget the genre of this film. It is such a refreshing approach, to be given a story of substance, not a mindless introduction of characters and meaningless screen time. This story is well thought out for all characters involved. If an axe wielding murder is your idea of horror, then this film is not for you. Yet, if you like to be challenged, this is a rare gem that will meet your unique standards.

When English teacher Mr. Gale (Robert Hands) is humiliated by his class, he loses all hope and inspiration in making a difference in the world. Broken men often prove to be the most dangerous as the plot unfolds like a mash up between Dead Poets Society and Saw. The interesting aspect of The Lesson is the interchanging perception of the lead characters. The aggressor can also be viewed as the victim and vice versa. The film is presented in a way that empathy can be felt for both. Teaching is an under appreciated occupation. The nonchalant cocky attitude of youth can be a difficult pill to swallow. This film will no doubt be discussed with fond admiration in the teacher’s lounge. When the plot takes over, you can almost hear a snap as years of reserved aggression spew forth. The film quickly becomes suffocating and Bendall and Hands give fantastic performances. The anxiety and pain feel real, the anger and frustration, it’s all properly portrayed to the most uncomfortable of details.

2016 horror
Too much coke gives me
bloody nose.
Writer director Ruth Pratt delivers with her first full length film (she has only directed two shorts prior). It’s an impressive debut, both from a film execution level, and writing. Her style is immediately noticeable from an instantly likable opening credit sequence. She has also proven to have a knack for casting and discovering talent. Pratt discovered The Lesson’s lead Evan Bendall while at the supermarket. Pratt would go on to study Performing Arts at Oxford. While most horror films have cookie cutter plots, this film lives up to it’s name. With a great soundtrack full of cool underground techno pop, it’s a film that takes a stance, it makes you think, and challenges you to feel. To best sum it up, it’s an art house film that takes a detour down horror alley, but even then, it is the shadow of art that looms heavily across this film. To further solidify it’s independence, the ending is completely different from the expected standards of the genre. It’s an impressive feature length debut, and Pratt takes horror to the unfamiliar territory of integrity


-Lee L. Lind