Soul to Keep – USA, 2018

‘You don’t have a prayer’

Soul to Keep is a 2018 American supernatural horror feature film co-directed by David Allensworth and Monière, from a screenplay by Allensworth and Eric Bram. The movie stars Sandra Mae Frank, Aurora Heimbach and Derek Long.

Erin, a timid 22-year-old, and her confident twin brother Josh inherit their grandpa’s creepy country house. Rusty broken barn. Swampy pond. No better way to christen the home than to throw a party with their school friends.

Josh brought his sweetheart, Tara, and their closeness is apparent. Tara is deaf, and all the friends speak with her through sign language. Everyone, except for Brandon, the self-centred boyfriend of Grace, Erin’s childhood friend-turned-dark-Wiccan.

It’s all fun and games until the lights go out. Josh searches the dark and damp basement to find the fuse box, only to discover a secret ritual room, complete with animal bones, blood, and meat arranged in a large triangle. Not to mention the nearby grimoire – a demonic spell book. The group is now convinced that the sibling’s grandpa truly went crazy…

The introduction of a deaf lead character, Tara, played by deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank, allows the exploration of unique modalities in the narrative style, notably the use of sign language throughout the film. All the actors flawlessly learnt and incorporated the sign language into their performances to serve the purpose of the story. This inclusive aspect of the unrepresented Deaf Community makes the production accessible to hard-of-hearing audiences as well as creating a dialogue between the Deaf and Hearing populations.

“The deaf element in this film came to me originally as something of a scare tactic, and it blossomed into an important statement about bringing communities together,” says director David Allensworth. “Our co-writer Eric Bram’s wife is partially deaf, as well as one of our producers, Matt Meyer, who has partial hearing loss.”

“I wanted to bring out the elements of a minority group – the deaf and hard at hearing – and showcase them as heroes. In addition, I wanted to tell a horror story with real proven metaphysical elements, not another horror-slasher film,” adds co-director Monière.

Soul to Keep premieres at the Shriekfest Film Festival in Hollywood on October 6, 2018.

Cast and characters:

  • Sandra Mae Frank … Tara
  • Aurora Heimbach … Erin
  • Derek Long … Toby
  • Conor McKenna … Demon
  • Jordan Theodore … Brandon
  • Kate Rose Reynolds … Grace
  • Jessie Jordan … Kimberly
  • Brian Donovon … Pop Pop
  • Tony Spitz … Josh
  • Craig Fogel … Freddy
  • Amelia Sheeler … Young Erin
  • Annabelle Reed … Young Grace

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