The Author (2023) Movie review FROM 22nd Tribeca Film FestivalOR movie written and directed by Jennifer Reeder and playing Kiah McKiernan, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Lowell, Iron Roach, Melanie Liburd, Ilirida Mamedovski, Josh Bywater, Avery Holliday, Casimere Jollette AND Sasha Kuznetsov.
If it weren’t so self-indulgent, director Jennifer Reeder’s new horror film, AUTHOR, they would probably be laughed off the screen. It’s quite absurd at times and contains some of the worst dialogue of the cinematic year (at one point, a character says that some escaped victims smell “really bad”). Still, Reeder does what he wants, and it makes for a pretty interesting film. It is almost impossible to predict what turn this movie will take and that is one plus among many minuses. Well known in the central role of the film is Kiah McKirnan who is very good as the main character, Jonny. McKirnan doesn’t hide behind some fancy characterization – she is who she is, and that’s enough to make horror audiences want to follow her into this film.
The film opens with a dude Seven-ish vibe but, after about ten or fifteen minutes, it becomes something like this Heathers before returning to his quirky horror flick that will leave more mainstream viewers scratching their heads in wonder as to what kind of film Reeder would make.
Jonny is a wonderfully constructed character. Jonny’s dad looks a bit weird in the opening stages of the picture and is in desperate need of money (but that’s not why he’s weird). After some interaction between Jonny and the father figure (whose face seems to change at one point), the film takes a turn for the worse (in almost every possible way) when Jonny moves in with Aunt Hildie (Alicia Silverstone, remember her? ) who looks set to celebrate her granddaughter’s 18th birthday in some kind of unique style.
At Johnny’s school, she meets a group of somewhat popular girls who soon seek her help. However, Jonny can’t afford to do anything financially to help anyone. She is stuck in a mess with Aunt Hildie who seems to have little help. Christopher Lowell in a truly uninspired performance plays Principal Burke who is involved (I think) with the school counselor who asks a lot of questions like whether or not Jonny is sexually active. Jonny responds predictably sarcastic in a humorous scene.
AUTHOR there are a lot of weird characters, but Aunt Hildie takes the cake as the weirdest in the whole movie (and, that includes some seriously crazy psycho characters in the picture). Silverstone’s performance will probably disappoint his loyal fans. However, her conversation sequences with Johnny are quite memorable. When Hilde presents a cake to Jonny, the plot begins to fly as Jonny begins to have a bloody mouth after digging into a slice of cake. She fills the toilet with spit up blood. Something is wrong. Very wrong.
While this is happening, girls around John’s age are disappearing. Maybe they are being killed. A cop is about to witness Johnny gossip with friends when Johnny meets Elektra (Ireon Roach). Both of these characters begin to build a relationship together while hiding from the police. Everything happens too fast to be believable. Jonny and Elektra share a steamy romance which is basically just killing time in a movie like this.
By the end of the film, the female characters (and perhaps some of the males) are not entirely intelligent creations. That said, there are some intriguing sequences where Johnny falls in love with Elektra. Both young actresses are satisfying in their parts. It’s Silverstone that doesn’t create its character terribly. I don’t know if she is performing as asked or if she missed the boat here.
until AUTHOR it has the hallmarks of a genius director, it feels like a rough cut. However, a scene where some teenagers dress up as old ladies is funny and different. Reeder eventually goes “all in” with some of the most disturbing scenes you’ll find in horror movies this year. Blood abounds as young women continue to disappear and Johnny bravely confronts the one key character who might just be the dumbest psychologist of the year. It’s hard to discuss the secrets of the film without giving away major plot points.
Kiah McKirnan is a talented performer who could have the potential to do almost anything she wants (after that) in the indie film world. She brings Jonny the personality he needs to make us invest in her as we try to figure out if she’s a vampire (or something else) in the whole picture.
It’s not a really fun movie to watch, but AUTHOR it has its moments. Alicia Silverstone nails it here, and this might be the last kind of role you’d expect to see her in. When she tries to get Jonny to eat something on her table (anything like her coins are almost inedible), it’s a WTF moment. In fact, this whole movie is filled with such moments.
In the final analysis, AUTHOR it’s a mix of a horror movie. It is undeniable that there is talent involved in the project. You’ll just have to swim through the gorge to see what they were trying to do with this particular film, which is essentially a slog. It’s a close call, but this movie is too weird for its own good. Maybe that’s what Reeder wants.
Leave your thoughts on this AUTHOR review and movie below in the comments section. Readers looking to support this type of content can visit our site Patreon page and become one of FilmBook’s customers.
Readers demand more Tribeca Film Festival news you can visit us Tribeca Our Film Festival Page Film Festival Siteand ours Film Festival Facebook Page. Readers looking for more movie reviews can visit our site Movie review siteOUR Twitter movie review siteand ours Facebook Movie Review Page.
Want updated notifications? FilmBook staff members publish articles via Email, Feedly, I tweetFac