PEPPERGRASS (2021) Reviews of dark drama thriller

 

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Peppergrass is a 2021 Canadian thriller about a young pregnant restaurateur who robs a white truffle from a reclusive veteran during a pandemic.

Directed by Steven Garbas and Chantelle Han from a screenplay co-written by Steven Garbas and Philip Irwin. Produced by Grant Cooper, Steven Garbas and Chantelle Han.

The BLS Productions movie stars Chantelle Han, Charles Boyland, Michael Copeman, Philip Williams and Craig Porritt.

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Reviews:

Peppergrass ends up being not a great film, but not a bad one either. It is well-intentioned and made with care by the people in front of the camera and behind, but that’s not enough to tip the scales away from the choices they made regarding genre and character development. Fans of survival horror and gorgeous cinematography will find something to love here, despite me thinking it is only ok.” Awesome Friday

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“If you are in the mood for something slow and thoughtful, then familiar plot points are being done just differently enough to make Peppergrass a rewarding watch. Unfortunately, this is so exceptionally slow that it risks losing a lot of viewers in the quiet mid-section. Everything Peppergrass could probably be done in an hour, with a lot of that slow scenic exploration feeling like padding to reach the 90-minute mark.” Grimoire of Horror

“Unfortunately, the pacing of the film kind of goes beyond slow burn and into the ‘why is this taking so long’ area. Billed as a thriller, one can’t wonder if it’s better suited to the drama genre simply because, while there are lives at stake, there is never any real suspense or tension. Ultimately, Peppergrass is a really pretty movie that doesn’t fully deliver on its promise of thrilling the viewer.” Haddonfield Horror

“Codirectors Steven Garbas and Han bring a good deal of style to their film, with a brooding edge hanging over the proceedings, fine cinematography from Grant Cooper, and an evocative score by Todor Kobakov. Han and Boyland give solid performances but their characters are wholly unlikable […] eliminating or at least decreasing any investment in characters and their outcome that viewers might have. Overall, however, Peppergrass offers enough unpredictability and chilling flair to make it worth seeking out.” Horror Fuel

” …the film devolves into a fairly standard reverse home-invasion film; it’s one of those “you messed with the wrong house” films like Don’t Breathe. However, the film works overtime as it shifts into survival horror, centering on Han’s Eula, who is clearly the more sympathetic of the two protagonists. Additionally, Han and co-director Steven Garbas very effectively use light to create some truly beautiful shots. Peppergrass is gorgeous, albeit a little clichéd.” In the Seats

“One of my favorite parts of Peppergrass was the hauntingly beautiful cinematography and nail-biting imagery. It really helps set the dark and grim tone of the atmosphere and make it feel like you’re experiencing all the horrific, nightmare-fueled elements of this film. This was the type of film that starts out one way in the beginning and slowly morphs into something completely different in the end, and will truly surprise you.” Pop Horror

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Peppergrass is a slow-burn thriller that ultimately turns into a survival film. It builds a similar tension that Alone did […] Peppergrass is nothing like I expected. It places you inside the action because there is literally nowhere else to go. The danger and isolation are palpable. It’s a solid film.” Reel News Daily

“For a “lost in the wilderness” thriller, I found that Peppergrass was a fine enough film with a few true moments of suspense that also takes advantage of its central Ontario location. However, the fact that the film takes place predominantly at night does result in Peppergrass appearing too dark at times and I felt there was something missing from the film’s conclusion.” Sean Kelly on Movies

“The cinematography creates some very nice shots and truly highlights the isolated woods setting much like using the pandemic as a back frame for the story at hand. However, the script is lacking with both its characters and the substance for the motive or even the character arc that feels almost overly simple making it have a decent set-up and finale but not enough to hold itself up in the second act.” Tranquil Dreams

“The film is deliberately paced. It doesn’t move like the wind. We feel the time pass at times as the pair drive across Canada, as they end up stuck in their care or have to navigate through the woods. The pacing is deliberate because we are supposed to feel what they are feeling on screen. I had a good time watching this. I loved where it went and I loved that it took its own path getting there.” Unseen Films

“Directors Steven Garbas and Chantelle Han working from a script by Garbas and Philip Irwin, have the elements of a successful thriller at their fingertips […] But they can’t manage to pull it all together. Neither of the leads are sympathetic and Rueben is essentially a non-character. There’s nobody to identify with, and almost nothing actually happens […] Unfortunately changing from a home invasion/crime film to a survival thriller doesn’t improve Peppergrass much.” Voices from the Balcony

Release:

Peppercorn had its world premiere at Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio, and has now been picked for release in early 2022 by horror and thriller specialists Black Fawn Distribution.

Press release blurb:

“With striking cinematography and a dark sensibility, the film captures a rough rural tone that enhances the danger of isolation and the pressure of high stakes.”

Cast and characters:

Chantelle Han … Eula Baek
Charles Boyland … Morris Weiss
Michael Copeman … Captain Reuben Lom
Philip Williams … Doctor  Arthur Fulmine
Craig Porritt … Fishmonger

Filming locations:

Niagara Falls, Orillia, Stayner and Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Trailer:

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