Gaslight Image


By Bobby LePire | November 5, 2021

Prologue notwithstanding, Jackson III has created a riveting, small-scale mystery thriller. The characters are all well defined with clear motivations; well, as clear as they can be without telegraphing every twist. Does that make sense? It’s easy to see what Brooke sees in Mathias, even after he admits to screwing up, and the ending tests the strength of their bond in an invigorating fashion. Side characters, such as Brooke’s best friend, Kendra (Taral Hicks), even have entire arcs that prove most compelling throughout.

As a director, Jackson III keeps Gaslight moving well without sacrificing the mysterious atmosphere necessary for a story such as this. Unfortunately, he is unable to overcome the small budget he had. The movie looks like a daytime soap opera throughout, and the attempts at stark lighting, such as when Brooke is laying despondent on her bed, do not fully work because of it. However, the editing, courtesy of Decarlo Gerard, is top-notch, adding the visual power necessary to keep viewers hooked. The cut from the about to happen wedding to the funeral is simple but amazing — Brooke and her dad on the pier; establishing shot of the church; close up of a stained glass window; Brooke comes running out the door crying, dressed all in black. It cost no money and is so effective.

“…the editing, courtesy of Decarlo Gerard, is top-notch…”

As possibly crazy Brooke, Perez is the key to the picture’s success. If audiences don’t buy her, then the entire production is for naught. Luckily, the actor is a class act, ensuring each wild mood swing or intense heartbreak is readily felt by all watching. As the possibly scheming husband (or is he just an innocent bystander?), Greene meets his onscreen wife on every level and delivers a brooding, mysterious, slightly sweet performance. Hicks is the audience surrogate, and her sassy demeanor is both funny and clever. Finally, Brooke sees a therapist, Monique, played by Brave Williams. Williams is good, though a little too aggressive at times, thus telegraphing certain parts of the conclusion.

Gaslight should have spent more time establishing what Brooke did during her previous breakdown, only introducing Dupree when necessary. And it looks like its budget, which is to say not very atmospheric. However, the editing is brilliant throughout, and Jackson III has written a smart thriller full of engaging characters. Couple that with the acting, and you get one helluva good time.

Gaslight (2021)

Directed and Written: Harold Jackson III

Starring: Melan Perez, Benton Greene, Taral Hicks, Brave Williams, Shaun Woodland, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Gaslight Image

"…one helluva good time."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon