Head Count – USA, 2018 – overview and reviews

‘There’s something strange going on here’

Head Count is a 2018 American paranormal horror feature film directed by Elle Callahan from a screenplay co-written with Michael Nadler. The Godmother Industries movie stars Isaac W. Jay, Ashley Morghan, Bevin Bru, Billy Meade, Hunter Peterson, and Chelcie May. It was produced by Samuel Sandweiss and Brandon Somerhalder.

Plot:

A group of teenagers unknowingly summon a paranormal presence during their weekend trip to the Joshua Tree desert. This monster mimics their appearances to hide among them and seeks to separate them into groups of five to complete its deadly ritual…

Release:

Head Count is released on VOD by Samuel Goldwyn Films on June 14, 2019.

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“It is well made, features an effective score composed by Hannah Parrott, and comes off as being a solid feature debut for Callahan. The actors do fine with the material they were given to work with. There’s just not enough going on here, I didn’t feel like the resolution was worth the time I had invested to get there.” Cody Hamman, Arrow in the Head

“Essentially, Head Count works well as a worthy one-time watch. It’s a film that almost gets all the way around the hump of basic chills, but needs a more forceful personality to push it over the edge of being average, and further into the realm of being bold.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

“The action that does occur, while some of it with fun intrigue behind their construction, left me uninterested by the time it happens. The dialogue weak, the setup slow, the characters and their interactions stiff rather than tense, and the flat visuals leave something to be desired.” William Eguizabal, Film Snob Reviews

“The acting is decent from all, no one excels […] the bigger moments don’t hit as hard because you don’t really care about the characters. Smartly staying within its small budget, Head Count is a good thriller that has a fairly crazy climax.” Ryan Morrissey-Smith, Haddonfield Horror

” …it would have been greatly improved if the last 5-10 minutes had been cut. Now, I realize this may be a somewhat controversial opinion since it would have left the ending a bit open. However, I thought it was so badass when I believed I was watching the ending […] a strong shock ending would have been stronger. And a damn bold move.” Karin Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

” …this is especially well-shot, to take advantage of spectacular Joshua Tree locations […] An actual monster does appear, and doesn’t quite fit the tone of the rest of the film but the elliptical climax – a double climax, since the gang offers two sets of five possible victims – reverts to subtler, more rewarding tactics.” The Kim Newman Web Site

Head Count is a really good and genuinely scary horror film that is light on gore, but not light on thrills. An existential slasher killer stalking a crew of friends with the new guy unleashing horror on them all inadvertently makes for a risk taking and adventurous entry into the horror genre that I can recommend highly.” Dolores Quintana, Nightmarish Conjurings

“There are some wonderful reveals, particularly with the use of the number five as they play out, first in the background, and then fairly dramatically […] It’s a very smart script that they are working with, and though some of the characters are rather arch, and prototypes, nothing feels overly forced, which is accomplishment for a director fairly new to the craft.” Scariest Things

Head Count has a lot going for it, especially some excellent characterizations. The awkwardness between Evan and Zoe is much more realistic than the usual meet cute/ instantly bond scenario we see in films like this. The same with the group’s response to Evan, especially once things start getting weird. The film also makes great use of its limited budget.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

” …impressively professional, looking like a studio quality production with a befitting eerie score. I didn’t even mind the budgeted CGI monster used which would have been more fun if done practical. A high Head Count of characters doesn’t lead to the horror kills you’d expect.” Without Your Head

Head Count is a pretty good feature debut for Elle Callahan. She knows her stuff and brings an eclectic cast of characters coming face to face with something they never expected. The tension slowly builds to a “grab you by your throat” finale that melds the predictable with the unpredictable.” World Film Geek

Cast and characters:

  • Isaac Jay … Evan
  • Ashleigh Morghan … Zoe
  • Bevin Bru … Camille
  • Tory Freeth … Tori
  • Michael Herman … Sam
  • Sam Marra … Bryan
  • Chelcie May … Vanessa
  • Billy Meade … Max
  • Amaka Obiechie … Haley
  • Hunter Peterson … Nico
  • Cooper Rowe … Peyton

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