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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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In this 2011 independent horror, Lily (Kelen Coleman) moves to Cassadaga to teach after the death of her younger sister. She moves into a mansion with Claire (Louise Fletcher) and her grandson Thomas (Lucas Beck) but soon visiting a psychic and briefly connects with her sister's spirit but then Lily experiences a series of terrifying visions. There’s also a maniacal killer on the loose turning the victims into living marionettes, but how is it all connected?
Disturbing from the opening scenes of child cross dressing and self castration this offers a strong opening, but then settles down for the next half hour developing the characters, but it seems a little long winded. The idea of Lilly being deaf was a good touch but was underused and ultimately served no purpose, much like the romantic involvement and custody angle which all gave this a roller coaster effect of ups and downs [lose a *].
The single disc opens to a 6 European language selection, then plays one trailer before offering play, scene selection, special features [make-up effects, behind the scenes & theatrical trailer] and set-up [audio 5.1, subtitles in most Scandinavian & Low Countries languages –but not English!]. As an 18 rating this has an unexplicit sex scene , a model posing nude in an art class, some swearing and a few gory scenes, but perhaps not enough of any of them for most viewers. There are some jumpy moments but most of the horror is the knowledge of what’s going on. Some scenes use a fast moving collage style that is akin to flash photography. Watch the end credits as there’s a false ending after they finish. Well worth a watch, but lacked something.
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on 10 April 2013
I am a big baby when it comes to horror films - I don't get on very well with gore for the sake of gore and I'm one of the first people to jump/scream even though I'm expecting something to happen.

This one ... given that it was an 18 ... I was a bit cautious and, as I'd never heard of it, I didn't know what to expect. My friend wanted to give it a watch, so I armed myself with a cushion and watched it.

I'm finding it difficult to write this review without spoilers so ...


The concept actually freaked me out a little bit. The idea of a gender-confused child growing up to make living women into live marionettes is very creepy. Especially as you see the severed limbs being fixed with the metal joints and the eventual formation of the live puppet. It's frightening - you can't deny that. I thought about it for a while when I went to bed and got a bit worried.

But the film was so predictable. Me and my friend could've written the whole thing as it went along and it actually got to the point where it was quite funny because either she or I would suggest what would happen next and, would you believe it, it did. Apart from once. Well, fancy that.

I wasn't entirely sure why there had to be a romance in there - he didn't really play much of a part and he didn't even turn up in the end to redeem himself - the one bit where our predictions didn't ring true. I got that she had established this life for herself and the horror she was going through, she eventually had to face alone. But I wasn't feeling the romance and then the heartbreak - it wasn't working for me at all.

Word of warning to people of a similar disposition as me ... Maggots aren't my favourite animal in the world, so that was another thing that freaked me out ... but they didn't seem relevant to anything. When the body was found, it wasn't filled with maggots, so why they were everywhere else I'm not entirely sure. I think there are plenty of other ways to present a horrified girl's psychological breakdown. And again, it became predictable - it was obvious she'd drink something and spit it out because there were maggots. She'd open the fridge and they'd be there. She'd fall asleep and she'd dream of them. She'd be sick and guess what she brought up ... yuck.

The acting was a bit bland as well. That was maybe why the relationship didn't work for me and the friendly-good people were all over cheerful and friendly and the creepy guy was a bit TOO creepy.

So initially ... the concept was very good and very chilling. But it lacked something. I think it was just very poorly put together. No, I couldn't do better, but I'm not a professional film-maker.

I give it three stars because as I've said, the concept was good. There were some tense moments and one point when I screamed because something made me jump ... but otherwise it's very lacking.
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on 2 December 2013
The film opens up with a young boy (Garrett Boyle) being disciplined by his mother (Janine Klein) for dressing up as a girl and playing with dolls. This leads to a self mutilation. We then move to the present, some unspecified years later. Lily (Kelen Coleman) is a deaf art teacher. Her sister (Sarah Sculco) speaks French then gets hit by a bus causing Lily to leave her job and relocate at Cassadaga, a Florida town known for its psychics.

Here she meets Mike (Kevin Alejandro) the father of a student. She teaches for Mrs. Anderson (Louise Fletcher) whose recluse grandson Thomas (Lucas Beck) likes to polish his furniture while watching Internet porn. After contacting a local psychic (Avis-Marie Barnes), a portal opens which allows an angry spirit to come through and haunt Lily.

The film was interesting as you see a plot and a slightly confusing minor subplot of the past. The film was done well, but is far from a classic. It lacked cohesion. The film takes 45-50 minutes to develop which was fine, but really needed an extra 10-15 minutes of horror factors where it was light.

Worth a rental price. 3 1/2 Amazon stars seems about right.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, sex, nudity (Brooke Lawless, first movie credit)
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on 20 November 2012
Another After Dark Films release.

Basic premise has Lily retreating to a new life at Cassadaga after her sister is killed in a tragic accident. Traumatised by her loss, Lily seeks the help of a medium to connect with her sister. Instead, she connects with a darker spirit which possesses her and leads her down a self-destructive and sinister path.

A bizarre hybrid of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and RITES OF SPRING, CASSADAGA is not only an odd movie, but a slow movie too - and all the better for it. Beautifully shot with wonderful performances across the board, the characters and their interactions are the main drivers of this story. You can almost taste Lily's angst and guilt as she struggles to come to terms with her sister's tragic death, and her perceived part in such. And while some ends are left untied, the movie reaches a satisfying and heartbreaking conclusion.

One of my favourite horror films of the year and a huge step forward for After Dark.
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on 9 May 2012
Anyone expecting another tedious 'torture porn' romp will probably leave this feeling rather let down. The gore and nastiness is there, but largely takes a backseat to plot and characterisation. It twists and turns at a satisfying rate, and both acting and direction are good. This won't blow you away, but if you fancy an engaging, slightly offbeat macabre thriller, then 'Cassadaga's worth a try.
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on 11 September 2015
A must watch in my opinion! Was brilliantly done and great acting throughout. Loved the fact it wasn't just all blood and gore. It has real depth and a very interesting story line as well as the horror aspect. Really great film!!
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on 19 November 2012
I'm not usually one for ghost horror, but I thought this was an absolute gem.

1) I liked the way that your expectations were manipulated. After a plot twist 3/4 of the way through I was sure of the villain's identity. Wrong !!
2) I liked the way the film was shot.
3) I liked the heroine .. super sweet girl.
4) I liked the marionette maniac. Super cool idea.

In summation this was quite an eerie film with a very capable actress in the lead role and a neat killer. One of the better After Dark productions imo
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on 14 May 2015
First of all, I am an avid horror movie fan. I have around 400-500 horror films, I have seen wepl over a thousand.

Cassadaga isn't anything spectacular. It's the typical Person suffers tragedy, moves back to hometown/moves out of home town, gets harassed by an entity, has to find out what the spirit/s want, find the cause of their deaths, stop the killer or killers, end scene. Only thing really original here is the fact that the main character is deaf, although she can lip read really well, talk perfectly, so it doesn't really have any impact on the story.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of movies with this kind of storyline. I own a couple of dozen like this one. Cassadaga isn't really an atmospheric, or tense film. Couple of good ghost effects, acting is ok, neither really good or bad. Characters are amicable.

I personally got bored really quickly, was tempted to turn it off a couple of times. For me, it's a regurgitation of a plot line I've seen dozens, and dozens of times. Two stars for amicable characters. If you haven't watched many horror films then you might enjoy this one.

I would not recommend for the more "seasoned" horror movie fan, but if you have only seen a couple of horror movies then you might enjoy this.
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on 2 September 2013
The main actress Kelen Coleman is amazing in this film, its a shame the film wasn't amazing! It'a a decent enough watch but its predictable, generic and barely creepy or scary but there is much much worse out there!
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on 11 August 2014
I had been looking for something that I hadn't seen before and that was a little 'fresh'. I was not disappointed by this little gem. A must for horror/supernatural collectors :)
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