Brides To Be
Directed by Kris Boustedt, Lindy Boustedt
Written by Kris Boustedt, Lindy Boustedt
Starring Carollani Sandberg, Angela DiMarco, Jesse Lee Keeter, Linas Phillips
First Sight Productions
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Two women head to their romantic fairy tale wedding venue the night before the big day. It’s a massive house in the middle of the woods. They’re joined by one’s childhood best friend, and the strange son of the venue’s owner tasked with getting the decorating done overnight. That’s it. Four characters in a secluded place, and soon some unexplained and bizarre things start to occur. Such is the premise of Brides to Be.
Brides to Be is written and directed by husband and wife Kris and Lindy Boustedt and is based on their short film Together Forever (2014) starring the same two lead actresses. The couple run First Sight Productions, a studio in Seattle that produces many short films. Brides to Be is one of their few full length features and it is a strange, beautiful, moving, and unnerving film. It is carried by its two leads Carollani Sandberg (Jenna) and Angela DiMarco (Robin). These are vastly different women going through vastly different issues on the eve of their wedding. We don’t get much exposition, but viewers can infer that Robin is the instigator of the marriage plans and very excited to tie the knot, while Jenna is the more apprehensive one. She still hasn’t written her vows and that’s making her drink and panic, sometimes at the same time.
Jenna’s childhood friend Nate (Jesse Lee Keeter) meet them, and they head towards their palatial venue. They’re met by Bob (Linas Phillips) and nothing is done. Panic begins to set in, with Nate trying to maintain calm. The more things start to calm down, the weirder and more horrifying things get. As our couple retreats to their bedroom, they are interrupted by phone calls with almost muted shrieks and screams. When Jenna mentions something about saving money, Robin angrily blasts her stinginess as if possessed. Robin then freaks out about this deafening sound she only can hear. Is the house haunted? Are the fears and realities of a major life change crashing down on the women causing mutual hallucinations?
If there is a fifth star in this film, it’s the sound crew. The music by Eric Goetz and John Goff, and the sound effects are used often, but not to excess. Sometimes, sound just comes out of nowhere. There is one scene (I won’t ruin) where I threw the earbuds out of my ears and paused the movie. The hair on my arms was standing atop gooseflesh and I needed a good few minutes to compose myself. I must give credit to the filmmakers because I haven’t been scared like that in a long time. Once I had my breath back, I rewatched the scene knowing what was going to happen, and while composed, the bumps were still there on my arms.
The film could come across as a haunted house horror film, but I felt it was more a psychological drama. With such a small cast, you lose yourself in these characters and you totally understand their feelings and motivations. These women love each other. The actresses have a raw vulnerability to them, and there were times I forgot I was watching a movie. That of course change when the sound, crew would boom some unsavory noise to make you just an uncomfortable as the characters.
To get a fuller perspective of the vision of the filmmakers, I watched Together Forever on YouTube after the film. It’s 9-minutes and gives you the exposition the film doesn’t delve into (and that’s not a complaint). The short film goes deeper into the marriage equality issue, and watching Brides To Be, it struck me how rare it was to see a film about a relationship and complex adult themes, that did not have a romantic male lead. Nate throws in a “threesome” joke, and instead of feeling like a cliche chauvinist option, it came across genuinely like a male friend teasing his lesbian best friend on her wedding night.
In the end, despite all the unnatural things you’ve seen, Brides To Be is simply a film about love. When all hope is lost, love will conquer all. The film works as a love story, a horror movie, a thriller and a drama. It contains one of the freakiest moments I’ve ever watched and as a horror movie junkie that is saying something. Brides To Be is well worth seeking out, just maybe not on the night before your wedding.