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Home > The Burned Over District (2023): A Review

The Burned Over District (2023): A Review

The Burned Over District

The District of Lost Souls and Hearts Found

The Burned Over District is a real place with serious history. That’s probably why brothers James and Vince Coleman made a modernized, fictional movie about the area. This film follows a sister and brother who have been determined by local zealots and chosen by old gods to lead the religious group. The Coleman Brothers directed the film, and Coleman Brothers Films produced it. 

According to New York Heritage Digital Collection, The Burned Over District refers to western and central regions of New York State, or the Genesee Valley, in the early 1800s, where religious revivals and new religious movements of the Second Great Awakening took over almost as if a fire had spread over the area. Movements such as Spiritualism, Mormonism, and Methodism gained a great revival or began great activity at this time. It made some feel like they could not support a vehemently strong movement because it almost seemed unbelievable. The Coleman brothers took this history and created a story that is intriguing and passionate, if somewhat funny, in certain places. 

The Film and Its Devastating Emotions Rule

The Burned Over District is farfetched at times but brutal. There are plenty of bloody scenes. People should be aware of triggering events. The plot was coherent and made sense throughout most of the film. Closer to the end, some points weren’t as clear. The film explained these parts by describing supernatural powers and events. 

The only point in the story that felt derivative was when the aforementioned sister decided she had enough of how the religious zealots were treating her. She began to tear her wedding dress to make it easier to move around in. She was going to fight back. This event was reminiscent of the film Ready or Not when Samara Weaving realizes she has to fight in her wedding dress, so she makes it shorter to run around in.

The Burned Over District

The pacing was even, the tone was dark and foreboding, and the setting was in the coldest part of winter. The film’s atmosphere was scary, and it seemed there was something evil around every corner. For a while, it was difficult to determine who was good and who was evil. The Burned Over District is an emotional movie with every negative emotion available to grab onto. But these emotions are sometimes overwhelming. 

Faithful Actors Make the Film Come to Life

The main actors include John Harvey Sheedy as Will, Amy Zubieta as Katie, Michael Ciesla as Daniel Danson, and Robert Lindquist as Fred. All these actors worked hard to help create the right tone and atmosphere in this film. John Harvy Sheedy had a huge job to do on his part. Will is a character who experiences life-altering turn after life-altering turn. Hits just kept coming for him. Physical torture and emotional torture were the order of the film. 

Amy Zubieta, as Katie, had to do a lot of emotional work, and it was triggering and immense. Katie goes through her share of life hits, and it’s hard to imagine how a person would react after all that. Robert Lindquist plays Fred, a character who has stayed away from danger for a long time. How would you react if one of your greatest loves was just out of reach? Again, it’s hard to imagine but easy to empathize. 

Lastly, Daniel Danson, played by Michael Ciesla, is one of the religious zealots. Or maybe he’s just delusional, or he’s just a bad guy. He believes something with such intensity that it doesn’t matter who he hurts. He doesn’t care how badly he hurts people because he can justify his belief. He is not a sympathetic character.   

The Eye Opening Horror is in the Final Rating 

Overall, this film is good to stream with friends or family and a big tub of buttery popcorn. There are triggers, blood and guts, and emotional baggage. Make sure to warn audience members. This film is emotional enough for one viewing.

The Burned Over District will stream when a release date is set. 

The Burned Over District

The Burned Over District (2023) Official ColemanFilms Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.