Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Last Kind Words”
By: Brian Cotnoir
We continue “Brad Dourif Appreciation Month” here on Confessions of a Film Junkie, with a look at the film “Last Kind Words”. “Last Kind Words” was a film released in 2012 and follows the mysterious adventure of a teenage boy named Eli (played by Spencer Daniels) who moves to the backwoods of Kentucky with his parents to work on a Farm run by Waylon, an old friend of Eli’s father (played by Brad Dourif). Eli is a quiet young man, who likes to keep to himself; very few people are close to him except for his mother and his best friend Katie. One day while exploring the forest behind his new home he comes across a beautiful and mysterious girl named Amanda. Over the course of the film Eli and Amanda develop a close intimate bond, but Amanda isn’t like the other girls. (SPOILERS!) As the film progresses we learn that Amanda is the deceased sister of Waylon and Eli’s father’s former fiancée. We find out that Waylon hung Amanda when she was 17, because she was going to run off and elope with Eli’s father. The tree Waylon hung her from has some mysterious powers that keep her spirit trapped to the land, and she wanders the forest looking for new companions. Eli learns that the only way to set Amanda’s spirit free is to cut her body down from the tree limb. Eli does not want to lose Amanda, but he complies with her request when it has been made apparent that her soul is in a great danger.
This isn’t a terrible film, but the plot is pretty predictable. After Eli’s 2nd encounter with Amanda where she just seemed to disappear into thin air, I kind of figured that she was probably a ghost, and yeah you can easily figure out what happened to her. There is some mystery and build up in the film, but not much of a payoff.
Brad Dourif is wonderful as the neurotic villain Waylon. Like many roles that Dourif has played before Waylon is a paranoid and constantly let’s his anger and other emotions blind his common sense. However, unlike other roles Waylon is more subtle. He is cold-blooded killer; he shoots and kills his father when he was a boy on a hunting trip, he murdered his sister for wanting to run off and get married, and he even kills Eli’s father when he confronts him over his sister’s disappearance. After every kill, Waylon tries to justify he’s brutal actions to himself and to everyone he questions his actions. Waylon also shows signs of incestuous feelings towards Amanda. Waylon does not just love her, but he is actually in love with his sister. Although, I cannot recall a point in the movie where Amanda tells Eli that Waylon raped her, it is heavily implied that she was raped before Waylon killed her. It’s safe to say that Brad Dourif is hands-down the best actor in this film and one of the more interesting characters too.
Let’s look at the films protagonist, Eli. Eli is just an incredible bore and one of the biggest jerk-off’s I’ve ever seen in a film. Actor Spencer Daniels never breaks from the low monotone voice throughout the film and looks so bored in this film that it’s impossible for anyone watching this film to not catch his second-hand boredom. The character he is playing is also a complete tool. He is visited throughout the film by his best friend Katie; she is cute, spontaneous, and adventurous and she is totally into Eli, to the point where they are both drunk and she asks him, how come he never tried to kiss her before. Eli takes this open invitation and wanders out into a field where he proceeds to fall asleep...alone! Idiot, you have a pretty girl who is throwing herself at you and you’d rather spend more time with your DEAD GIRLFRIEND whom you just met a week ago?!?!?! You sir, deserve to die a virgin. So even though Amanda is just a ghost, and he can’t be with her physically, when he is presented with the opportunity to go skinny dipping with her ghost (which I have no idea how that’s even possible), he looks away as she removes her clothes and then has her do the same as he changes...Again, YOU DESERVE TO DIE A VIRGIN, LOSER! That’s not even the dumbest thing he does in this movie. When Amanda’s spirit is endanger of being hurt by Waylon’s (he committed suicide), he cuts down her body from the tree: meaning he will never get to see her again. Shortly after, he set’s Amanda’s spirit free he does the only logical thing he can think of and hangs himself from the tree—thereby trapping his spirit to the land, until someone comes to cut his body down...God, Eli is a detestable character.
|I think her character should have been called "Hot Amanda"|
Now let’s look at the two women in Eli’s life. Amanda is an old-fashioned Southern girl. She doesn’t serve much of a purpose in the film—I mean she doesn’t actually help Eli with anything—she’s just there to look hot. Her character seeks company from strangers, and that’s really all I have to say about her. Katie has been Eli’s best friend since they were 7-years-old, and even though he sees her only as a sister, Katie has amorous feelings for Eli. She is very adventurous and daring. She sneaks booze from her parents and even takes her moms car without permission. She cares for Eli and tries to convince him to run away with her. After, being shot down by Eli enough times, Katie decides the best thing for her to do is run away and never look back. She was an enjoyable character, probably the only other one besides Waylon.
|Poor Katie, she is forever in the friend zone|
So yeah, “Last Kind Words” is an okay film, but it’s not a film I would rush to Netlflix to check it out this minute. If you’re a fan of Brad Dourif, I think you will enjoy it, other than that, I can’t think of any group of people I would recommend this film too.