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By Mark Bell | November 1, 2013

Guy (Benjamin Hanson) and Becca’s (Michelle Sabiene) marriage has seen better days, and Guy is hoping to heal the rift that has grown between him and his wife. Borrowing his friend’s cabin, Guy plans a wilderness retreat for the couple. Once they get there, however, Becca finds herself more interested in the life of one of the cabin’s previous owners, Jasper (Michel Duran). She begins having visions of, and eventually begins interacting with, Jasper, as Guy’s expectations for the vacation begin to fall short.

Jasper’s story is not necessarily a pleasant one, however, and there are some dark secrets to his life at the cabin. While Becca’s obsession with Jasper grows, Guy begins seeing someone too, Jasper’s likewise ghostly wife Clair (Natasha Quirke). Along the way, the very real marriage of Becca and Guy waits in the wings while the ghostly influences play out their own agendas.

J.S. Johnson’s Truth takes a look at a failing marriage that is complicated by the supernatural. Falling in love with someone else is one thing, falling for a ghost is something else entirely. Not only is the latter not healthy, it betrays that there are more problems than the surface may initially reveal.

While the film’s opening seems to suggest something grindhouse or exploitation-friendly, and there is certainly a menacing tone throughout that would suggest horror, the film is more a marital drama that seems to spin its wheels too much in the middle. As it moves along, we get more of the same as Guy reaches out to Becca, she doesn’t much want his attention, and he gets pissed about it. Lather, rinse, repeat as ghostly characters start to impact their lives.

At the same time, with the middle feeling so bloated, the ending of the film feels comparatively rushed. Like the film was building to something, and it delivers somewhat on that something, and then rapidly wraps up. It leaves a feeling of “wait, that’s it?” There’s a bit of a turn to it, but at the same time it’s not enough to establish the narrative move as something too surprising, especially considering other elements revealed about the cabin’s ownership and how they came to rent it in the first place.

Stylistically, the film employs different editing techniques and effects that it likewise seems to abandon for large stretches of time. The result is an inconsistency of style, a lack of commitment. It makes the more artistic tweaks and turns standout, sure, but not because they are exceptional, but because they just don’t fit in and feel like they should exist in an entirely different spin on this story.

There is some mystery waiting to be revealed concerning why Guy and Becca are estranged in their marriage (and why, if it’s so bad, they haven’t divorced), and there is the mystery of what happened with Jasper and his wife Clair. When the reveals happen more naturally, such as in conversation with Guy and Becca, it comes across better. When it’s the result of sister Beth’s side investigation into her sister’s marriage, it feels forced.

Overall, it feels like there’s a lot of muddle and meandering to Truth, almost like the film doesn’t entirely know what it wants, and thus can’t commit. It’s not quite as clever as it thinks it is, nor does it inspire the amount of thought and engagement that perhaps it could, had it been more consistent.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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  1. christian says:

    I f*****g hated the movie truth directed by j.s johnson. This guy is a hack and has jo idea how to direct a film. What a piece of total s**t. So bad it pisses me off better directors are overlooked for this hack peicenofnshit awful director. Holy cow that movie was shot awfully

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