Spoken Image


By Alan Ng | March 23, 2022

In Tenill Ransom’s horror film, Spoken, the toxicity of everyday conversation fuels a demonic attack of a small town. Our tale begins with a news report of the police successfully crushing an infestation of scorpions throughout the city. The scorpions’ appearance left hundreds of citizens severely injured. Though the operation was successful, no one knows the outbreak’s origins.

Spoken centers on a young Christian girl, Lena (Chelsea Ledsinger), who finds herself in the middle of her friends’ angsty teen drama. Her friend Jake (Ryan Paynter) sees his college prospects as hopeless, while Lena’s other friend Ashley (Becka Hayes) complains about Jake’s privileged rich life as her family’s poor and her mother has cancer. In addition, Lena has her own problems after recently losing her baby with boyfriend Carson (Steven Serbones), and now they are on the outs. Meanwhile, Tyler (Ebin Antony) has a massive crush on Lena.

Things are not as they seem in this small town. Lena is confronted by a creepy older woman (Brittany Myra Smith), who leads her to a mysterious door and happens to be the source of the demonic problems. Everything goes nuts when Jake is found dead… as if something consumed him from the inside and the demon scorpions suddenly attack Lena and her friends. What’s behind the door? Why are all of Lena’s friends acting suspiciously? What the hell is growing inside of them?

One thing that makes the horror film unique is its religious tone. We’ve seen demonic horror before, but this feels more like a Christian faith-based scary story. Lena seeks the help of Pastor Ben (Ken Dohse), who is a genuine believer and helps Lena as she deals with her personal “demons.”

“…the toxicity of everyday conversation fuels a demonic attack of a small town. “

Visually, Spoken is a micro-budget horror film from writer/director Tenill Ransom, and you’ll see that from the start. The images and sound have that DIY look overall. Considering the budget was small, it is no surprise that some of the inexpensive gore effects are flashed quickly on screen. But the production does boast some pretty impressive off-the-shelf CG effects (i.e., blood, scorpions, and creepy crustaceans under the skin effects).

Ledsinger does a fantastic job as the lead, Lena. The film also boasts an impressive supporting cast of stalwart indie film actors with a few newcomers. We’re not winning Oscars here, but I firmly believe that finding success in film means getting your hours in, whether as an actor, writer, director, or any role in production.

But, the film’s weakness is that it’s not scary enough. The demonic presence needed to be pushed further to elicit the right anxiety. I wanted to feel the stakes were raised high enough to cause terror in each character. While the filmmaker does a good job telling his story, I felt like more could have been done to rachet up the scary beats of the film and make them more terrifying.

I do appreciate the religious tone. Yes, there is a Christian message behind the film, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s a good amount of death, swearing, and downright mean people to pull Spoken out of the faith-based genre — I wish faith films cuss more. But, as an independent film and a platform for a new crop of indie filmmakers, this is one worth supporting.

For more information, visit the Spoken official website.

Spoken (2022)

Directed and Written: Tenill Ransom

Starring: Chelsea Ledsinger, Becka Hayes, Steven Serbones, Ebin Antony, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

Spoken Image

"…a good amount of death, swearing, and downright mean people..."

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