The Truth Will Out (2020) | Directed by Jessica Hunt, Sam Mason-Bell
UK | Colour | 86 Minutes
Written by Jessica Hunt, Sam Mason-Bell | Starring Jackson Batchelor, Kayla Charlton, Kevin Cordell
A low key, documentary/found footage horror film from Portsmouth, England based Trash Arts, The Truth Will Out, is a skillfully made movie worth checking out. Although it doesn’t break new ground as far as the genre goes, and while it isn’t full of action and cheap scares, the film thrives on its great acting and photography.
A hit reality show, Hard Streets UK, hosted by the completely obnoxious and degenerate Thomas Laboss, is on its way to interview the Braussau family, Gypsies who claim to be true Wiccans. Along for the ride are Thomas’s sound and recording engineers, Stanley and Darren.
The clan, headed up by flame-haired Diana, the matriarch and her two lovely daughters, Kate and Phoebe, welcome the crew for a three day visit at their home. At first, things are fairly uncomfortable, with none of the women eager to volunteer any information about their backgrounds or “belief” as they refer to witchcraft. But after Thomas promises to pay them 10,000 pounds the family opens ups and start telling a bit about their backstory.
It had been hinted at earlier that Thomas has a real problem keeping his hands off women. Which makes Darren and Stanley so uncomfortable they wish to eventually blackmail him off the show. That evening, Phoebe, the youngest of the Braussau family is lured into Thomas’s room. While he tries to smooth talk the poor girl he is vigorously masturbating as she looks on in horror. The scene is sick, shocking and repulsive however the acting is so natural that is lessens the nauseating context of the sequence.
That night, however, Thomas suffers horrible dreams and even physical manifestations of torment.
In the morning, all seems well as Thomas is bright and cheery and Diana eagerly shows off her charms, fetishes and bottles of pregnant squirrel urine, etc. Meanwhile, in a tense confrontation, Kate asks Stanley and Darren if they watched the secret camera set in up in Thomas’s bedroom, which captured the gross scene between their boss and Phoebe. The sequence comes off like a test, one where Kate already knows the answers the two would give, if they volunteered the information. She almost seems to be trying to let themselves off the hook, so to speak.
After another nightmare filled evening, Thomas awakes chipper as ever. Phoebe appears and in a near miraculous transformation, positively glows with life and beauty. She even shows herself to be a charming conversationalist. Up until now she barely uttered a few mumbled monosyllabic grunts.
Diana appears and is radiant as well. She then promises to show Thomas some real magic that day. Sounds ominous to me.
I will admit I’m neither a fan of found footage nor horror documentaries, as a rule. I call it my Blair Witch poisoning. However, The Truth Will Out, has 1000% more guts, heart and talent than the much ballyhooed The Blair Witch Project has. Despite the film is shot in darkness for most of its running time, the picture is clear and well lit. The dialogue is clever without a hint of cliché, although the temptation must have seemed overwhelming at times.
I can not heap enough praise upon the acting. The actors are the film, not the narrative or editing, as fine as they are. Why Jessica Hunt hasn’t been discovered by the rest of Britain and the USA I have no idea. Seems like she would be at home on stage, high budget independent features or perhaps, even a decent Hollywood film. Maybe she doesn’t want to let success spoil her, or perhaps Ms. Hunt has a different definition of success. The rest of the cast is equally remarkable. Kevin Cordell is the epitome of your typical, slimy, self-centered, entitled, hypocritical scumbag yet can switch to a self-effacing charming TV in an instant.
Trash Arts has been a prolific producer of no and low-budget films for a few years now. Perhaps Portsmouth is the true definition of home to Mr. Mason-Bell. If so, I salute him. Creative control can be worth so much more to an artist than any amount of money and fame. Horror fans would be in poor shape without films like The Truth Will Out.