‘A real American horror story’
Bethany is a 2017 American horror film produced and directed by James Cullen Bressack (Pernicious; Blood Lake; To Jennifer; 13/13/13; et al) from a screenplay co-written with prolific actor Zack Ward, who also co-stars alongside Stefanie Estes, Tom Green and Shannen Doherty.
After Claire’s mother dies, she and her husband move back to her childhood home only to have the abusive and traumatic memories of her mother come back and bring unrest into the house.
Unfortunately, Claire soon finds herself in a fog of past and present when her imaginary friend from childhood begins haunting her memories. What is this terrifying thing that is trying to reach out to her, and what does it want?
The film was released theatrically and On Demand on April 7, 2017, via Uncork’d Entertainment.
James Cullen Bressack is the prince of horror. Once again, he brings us a scary, frightening and haunting tale of family values.
After the passing of her mother, Claire and her husband Aaron (Estes and Ward) move into her childhood home where many evil memories reside. From the moment Claire and Aaron begin their new lives in this house, creepy things start to happen… and all to Claire.
Is this her imagination? Does anyone see what is physically and violently happening to her? From the chilling shower scene, to the threaded face (yes, that made me cringe!), it is clear that Claire is being haunted by someone in her past.
Flashbacks appear, as a young Claire recalls piano lessons to bouts of untidiness by her mother (a vicious Doherty who hasn’t shown this level of cruelty since playing Brenda Walsh!), and the abuse endured continuously throughout her upbringing.
Zack Ward is the compassionate husband Aaron, trying to get a grip on his wife’s sudden outbursts and resistance to having a child of their own. “Not in this house” she snaps. You see, Claire wasn’t the only child growing up in this malicious home. Her best friend was imaginary. An imaginary little girl named Bethany.
So, what happened to Bethany? Is she haunting this young couple? Is she bitter about Claire’s departure so many years earlier? Is she real?
There are plenty of alarming moments that will jump-scare you out of your seat. Bressack has mastered the art of terrifying you as the plot unfolds into a spine-tingling family secret that will freak you out. It’s simply grotesque… how far a self-absorbed mother will go to depict the ultimately perfect family.
And let’s not forget the zany Tom Green! Who… well… is not very wacky at all. In fact, as the therapist for Claire and Aaron, he seems to be the only person with his head on straight.
If you like The Grudge, you’ll enjoy this. If you hated The Grudge, you’ll still enjoy this.
Meredith Brown, Horrorpedia
“Bethany is 80% a perfect horror movie for an American audience. Perfectly balancing tension, drama and even moments of uncomfortable squirming as Bressack’s trademark penchant for gruesome natured horror comes to play. Yet 20% is attributed to a script that leads to unneeded deaths and subsequent consequences that will leave you forgetting the drama left behind in favour of begging an answer as to what repercussions lie ahead.” Martyn Wakefield, BloodGuts UK Horror
“Bethany has its highlights, working most effectively with lowered expectations. Bressack rides the line of good taste by involving the torment of children in the story (an unnecessary trend in today’s horror offerings), but he recovers with a ghoulish study of Bethany’s origin and experiences away from Claire. There are some gore zone visits to tide over genre fans as well, giving Bethany some snap to go with its spookiness, finding Bressack capable of doing something with the bare minimum of genre ornamentation.” Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
“Bethany has a genuinely gloomy atmosphere to it and is paced relatively well. It never really drags or outstays its welcome and the finale especially has some genuine power to it. All in all, this was an enjoyable enough film. Far from perfect; but in a very saturated genre, Bethany had enough moments that make it stand out. Highly recommend if you like your paranormal offerings with that psychological thriller edge.” Mondo Squallido, Nerdly
Stefanie Estes (The Bunnyman Massacre; Revenants; The Undying), Zack Ward (Restoration), Tom Green, Shannen Doherty (Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys; Witchslayer Gretl; Satan’s School for Girls), Anna Harr, Leon Russom, Kevin Porter, Keith Jardine, Sophie Dee, Felissa Rose (Death House; Camp Dread; Poe; et al), John Murray, Thomas Downey, James Cullen Bressack, Tommy Pistol, Tiana Whitley.