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Lil' Drummer Toy: Sickle's take on "Caveat"

Caveat follows a man suffering amnesia who is approached by a man claiming to be an old friend. The old friend asks for a favor in exchange for some cash, requesting that the man look after his sister in an isolated home on a small island close to the coast. But he soon becomes aware that this odd request holds dark secrets from the past.

Caveat Review

Caveat is the definition of an indie slow-burn, depending heavily on the pay-off of its twist and climax. So does it deliver? For some it will and for others it will feel like a colossal waste of time. It depends on whether you were able to become fully engaged in the story or not, and that's a dangerous game in slow-burns. I found myself grinning in the twilight moments of the climax, but even as I was experiencing it, I couldn't help but think that this dry and drab conclusion will disappoint some that have made it this far.

The suspension of belief in the horror genre tends to extend beyond just the supernatural as characters regularly make decisions that lead to their death. These red-shirt fodder characters usually make these mistakes in moments that provide us a glimpse of a creature or slasher as the plot of our protagonist may be moving safely along. In other words, these moments are essentially inconsequential to the plot and are there merely to provide some horror fun. Caveat requires that suspension of belief in the very catalyst of its premise, as our memory-lacking, swim-incapable protagonist is willingly chained up in a house on an island by a man he doesn't remember with an at-best a mentally disturbed woman freely roaming the grounds in which death has taken place. Beyond the man's mere willingness to go along with this ludicrous scenario for some money, there is no further sign of definitive desperation. It's a wonky situation that you have to get past.

But once you get past it and settle in with a dose of patience, Caveat offers a creepy and unsettling atmosphere within a rotting home that houses a sporadically catatonic woman with a crossbow and a decrepit Energizer bunny that can channel spirits. Using subtlety and a reliance on the audience to settle in for the slow burn, we are introduced to a tale of betrayal that has its fair share of twists and turns, some more predictable than others.

Perhaps the most thrilling and intense elements of the film are the layered games of cat and mouse that bridge the gap between physical and supernatural. The haunting goes beyond the entity that wanders the home, as our protagonist's amnesia expectedly plays a huge part in the plot's weave. Deciphering lies as the psychological struggle turns into a fight for life is gradual in its reveal, but inevitably rewarding in a quiet and placid manner.

I don't think Caveat is for everyone. I certainly wouldn't watch it again. But I did find myself sharing a few points of interest with others that I thought would spark conversation. In other words, some plot points lingered, which is certainly a testament to some quality storytelling. It starts on a off-tilt note, it won't knock your socks off, and it likely won't impress in the superficial qualities of horror outside of its decent atmosphere, but Caveat wasn't a waste of time. I'm glad I gave it a shot and I don't think it's too much of a gamble to suggest you do the same.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 6/10

Film Quality: 6/10


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