Until then, the scope shifts to focus on Lily (Kelen Coleman, TV’s The Newsroom), a pretty music teacher who happens to be deaf. (You wouldn’t know it from Coleman’s performance; although the appealing actress uses sign language, she also speaks at a perfectly normal pitch and volume at all times.)
Grieving her dead sister, Lily moves to the town of Cassadaga and into a house run by a kindly old woman (Louise Fletcher, far from the Cuckoo’s Nest). There, love blooms for Lily … but also danger from the aforementioned prologue subject all grown up and obsessed with a super-twisted hobby: assembling human puppets from his various murdered victims.
Really, one could build a horror movie — if not an entire franchise — on just that villainous concept. Dread director Anthony DiBlasi instead centers his follow-up on Lily, to the point that we forget all about that opening until the home stretch. The antagonist isn’t just secondary — he’s third or fourth on the flick’s priority list. As a result, Cassadaga feels like two different films, or at least a scatterbrained semi-mess that never quite congeals, despite an honest try. — Rod Lott
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