Craving Image


By Bobby LePire | March 7, 2023

Horton directs and co-writes, with Gregory Blair, the horror thriller Craving. The setup is similar to that of Feast, as the main characters are trapped in a bar, and the terrifying events happen in or around that location. However, in tone, the film is far more serious-minded, aiming for a hybrid of neo-noir and horror.

Shiloh (Rachel Amanda Bryant) and Les (Felissa Rose) run their rural bar with sympathy for the regulars. On one seemingly normal night, gunshots are heard not too far away, and a group of strangers burst through the bar’s doors. Addicts Will (Xavier Roe), Frenzy (Ashley Underchuffler), Gail (Holly Rockwell), and Mac (Kevin Caliber) keep going on and on about a great danger following them. Soon enough, Red (Greg Tally) is outside using a bullhorn to communicate.

Red, and his compatriots, claim not to be the menace. No, one of the strangers, the “it” as they call him/her, is a vicious monster, killing all who cross its path. Now, Travis (Gregory Blair), Rudy (Frankie Guzman), Hunter (Al Gomez), and the beloved star Rylee (Miranda Bourke) face an unthinkable and unwinnable scenario: do they let the people outside take and kill the person they are after or do all they can to protect him/her/it and potentially become victims themselves?

“…a vicious monster, killing all who cross its path.”

The issue with Craving is just how large of a cast there is. Red has at least four people in tow, and there are half a dozen bar patrons, plus the four drug addicts/killers (?) who instigate the whole thing. The writers try their darnedest to give everyone at least a little something, and at that, they are successful. The use of flashbacks is clever, drawing out the tension well. But, with a few exceptions, all the people on screen are regulated to the few things discovered about them through those flashbacks. Outside of their appearances, telling the difference between Travis and Rudy is difficult.

That is not to say the cast isn’t up for the job. Quite the contrary, in fact, as the ensemble is brilliant. Rose is as reliable as ever, while Bryant proves to be the heart of the picture. Caliber knocks it out of the park, as he’s gruff but tender. As the main baddie, sort of, Tally is threatening while being completely reasonable. The entire cast, including the previously unmentioned Likun Jing as Lo, works excellently together to bring these characters and this unsettling narrative to life.

Horton directs Craving with a sure hand, allowing the vibrant, colorful lighting to do a lot of the work. For a (mostly) one-location story, the feature looks brilliant. The filmmaker creates tension in every single corner of the bar, while Everett Young’s score amplifies the drama and horror. The editing, especially when going into/out of a flashback, is stellar as well.

Craving has a large cast, which is good and bad. But what it lacks in character specificity, it more than makes up for in sheer thrills and chills. The players are all good to excellent, and the lighting is simply remarkable. Plus, the creature design at the end is absolutely killer!

For more information, visit the Craving Facebook page.

Craving (2023)

Directed: J. Horton

Written: J. Horton, Gregory Blair

Starring: Rachel Amanda Bryant, Felissa Rose, Xavier Roe, Ashley Underchuffler, Holly Rockwell, Kevin Caliber, Greg Tally, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Craving Image

"…the creature design at the end is absolutely killer!"

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