In any genre of film, you’re bound to find a given set of rules surrounding it. You know, the ones that, under any circumstances, should not be broken, twisted or disrespected. It all really comes down to a tale as old as time between boomers, Gen-X, and Gen-Z film fanatics.
Specifically there are a very devout and passionate bunch when it comes to horror films. Food for thought, though: what happens when you take the proverbial “yeast” of horror and mix it with other film genres? I’m sure we can all think of some that have been successful and then some that have, well, flopped.
Now that I’ve got you thinking, I’m here to discuss a film that takes all of the aforementioned elements above and turns them into one weird and unexpected cake, one made to look pretty damn realistic like ligaments or your grandmother.
F.C. Rabbath’s 2020 film The Waiting took me on an unforgettable journey of interest, sheer confusion, and idiosyncrasies galore. F.C. establishes the paranormal premise right out of the gate during the opening credits of the film with floating chairs, tables, and other sorts of antique furniture that immediately makes me think “Okay, I’m ready to be scared and caught off guard.” Even then I don’t think I could have done any mental preparation for what was ahead for the 1 hour and 24 minute film.
The film covers a variety of topics that intermingle with each other, so bare with me here. The Waiting follows main character Eric Brady, who is shown immediately to have no luck whatsoever with women (or in general) during a montage of Tinder dates. Eric lives with his mother who constantly brings up his ex, which is Eric’s main motivation to finally turn his life around.
He’s portrayed by lead actor Nick Leali, who does a scary accurate job of portraying the relatable yet bumbling and clumsy soul of Eric Brady. While looking for a job Eric ends up working for a hotel that has a hidden history that he cannot ignore or keep away from, yet on the flip side the hotel’s history is very grim and dark. The soul of a woman (Elizabeth, portrayed by lead actress Molly Ratermann) who had killed herself in the 1960s, waiting for a love that would leave her hanging and never return, haunts one specific room of the hotel itself. Elizabeth’s residency leaves the hotel’s fate in the balance while Eric cannot keep away from getting to the bottom of everything and finds an unlikely love in the process.
The combination of horror, paranormal, comedy and romance that F.C Rabbath so eloquently mixes was such a fresh and unexpected take that I personally have never enjoyed that much before. In all honesty, I was very stubborn in opening my mind to the unusual means used—everything from odd camera cuts to short bits of dialogue, to shifting genres frequently. F.C also blew my mind with his sense of lighting. As a film fan, I feel that there are things that go so underappreciated, unnoticed, or forgotten—lighting and overall on-screen aesthetics especially. I was so impressed with each scene set.
Molly Ratermann and Nick Leali’s performances and chemistry as Eric Brady and the undead Elizabeth pulled at every heartstring and emotion within me. Molly did an above and beyond job of acting with her body language and facial expressions (Spoiler: Elizabeth is not much of a talker), paired and balanced with Eric talking plenty for the both of them should be highly praised.
Also, I want to give a huge shout out to Michelle Feliciano, who plays Michelle, and her hotel housekeeping counterpart Laura Altair, who plays Sally. Their work banter and antics (with Michelle’s sass/feisty attitude paired with Sally’s modest/introverted personality) makes the film so much fun and relatable.
I will absolutely be watching The Waiting again. It reminded me of a cross between Adam Sandler’s 50 First Dates and Patrick Swayze’s Ghost, with a mix of humor that heavily reminds me of the early 2000s rom-com humor that I have a soft spot in my heart for. The only real nit-pick that I have is that it did take some warming up to—so if you’re impatient like me, it could be a watch that you really have to pay and give full attention to.
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