True Fiction is written and directed by Braden Croft, and he clearly has a distinct vision for the film. This clear idea of what the movie needs to be, translates to a pulse-pounding, eerie watch that keeps the viewer enthralled until the final frame. Croft’s biggest strength is getting out of the actors’ way and letting them go for broke when called to do so. Sara Garcia makes for a charming lead, and when she turns violent (or did she only imagine that?), it is all the scarier.
Cassini is level-headed and engaging in that gruff sort of way, and he ensures that Caleb always seems like he has the best intentions. The duo shares excellent chemistry and bounce off each other nicely. When Caleb grills Avery about her favorite books of his, it seems innocent enough at first, just a boss getting to know his assistant. She fires back a few titles, and he opines that both titles were written in his 20’s. However, the way these titles come back to haunt Avery, possibly only in her mind, does suggest that Caleb is intentionally messing with Avery in a way not tied to his game.
“…a pulse-pounding, eerie watch that keeps the viewer enthralled…”
The two play this cat and mouse game perfectly. Helping them along is Croft’s well-thought-out screenplay. If one is really searching, there is a plot hole here or there, but they are minor and mainly have to do with a few supporting characters. Where it counts, True Fiction delivers. Why is the door always locked? Who is the woman Avery keeps seeing? Is she real? Croft never reveals his endgame, so achieving answers to these compels the viewer to continue to the end. The plot is engaging and goes in a few unexpected directions, all building up to the perfect ending.
Croft is equally as an assured director. The man behind the immensely fun Feed The Gods does not let the atmosphere buckle once Avery arrives at the house. One of Avery’s first tests is being tied in a full-bodied suit, straitjacket placed on a gurney. When she is freed, Croft uses odd angles as a way to visually mimic how discombobulated she feels. He ably sets the audience into the mindset of both Avery and Caleb, and as nightmares bleed into reality, no one, much less, the audience will know which way is up. But, in that dizzying uncertainty is where the film finds much of its terror.
True Fiction works from beginning to end. It is as simple as that. The two leads are absolutely brilliant and are backed up by an intelligent script and intense, eerie direction. This is dramatic horror done right.
"…maybe the twist isn't there for the viewer to suss out, but to screw with the main character."