Click here for the full review of CAVEAT.
CAVEAT may be Damian McCarthy’s debut feature film, but he’s been honing his horror skills in short films for several years. When we spoke on June 11, 2021 via Zoom, I made a point of asking him where people can find those shorts, because after seeing the singular mastery he evinces with mood, sound, and atmosphere in CAVEAT, they will want to see more. I know I did.
Set on a remote island, accessible only by boat, CAVEAT is the story of Isaac (Jonathan French), an amnesiac who Is hired by Barrett (Ben Caplan) to keep an eye on Olga (Leila Sykes), the only occupant of the only house on that island. The only living one, anyway. Olga has mental health issues, and that her father committed suicide in the basement isn’t helping her condition, a condition that forces Isaac to wear a special harness that prevents him from going into Olga’s room, or to leave the house. Throw in a creepy painting, Olga’s habit of walking around with a crossbow, and a menacing wind-up rabbit and you have all the elements of a story that is the stuff of nightmares in the very best sense.
We started the conversation with that rabbit before moving on to breathing new life into old tropes; using sound instead of dialogue; and how to entertain people with horror without depressing them.
We finished up with how to make a horror film that won’t depress people, and when we can expect his next feature.