Red Letters (2019) poster

Red Letters (2019)

Rating:


USA. 2019.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Jim Klock, Producers – Emily Adams, Jim Klock & Darrell Martinelli, Photography – Emily Adams & Darrell Martinelli, Music – Jojo Draven, Visual Effects – Trick Digital (Supervisor – Adam Clark), Special Effects Supervisor – Chris Hubbart, Makeup Effects – Robin Dilapo. Production Company – Terror Films/Code 3 Films Code 3 Films.

Cast

Jim Klock (Jim Knowles), Mike Capozzi (Mike Gaston), Chad Ridgely (Scott Crenshaw), Kyra Kennedy (Pat Cooper), Robin F. Baker (Robin Harley)


Plot

Occult investigator Jim Knowles brings his old partner Mike Gaston to New Jersey to consult on a case. Police officer Cooper has gone missing after entering a warehouse. Blood from people who have disappeared all around the country has been found at the scene. The FBI have dismissed this as being no more than Cooper having run away with another woman. Mike is reluctant to take the case because of bad experiences with the occult on previous occasions but is persuaded by Jim. Clues lead to the local area known as The Imp of Darkness, which has a reputation as a bad place. Mike is fearful but Jim, who does not believe in the spiritual, is dismissive even as their journey takes them further into darkness.


Red Letters was the fifth film directed by Jim Klock. Klock is former police officer and narcotics detective from Virginia. He has accrued a number of credits as an actor since the early 2000s. As director he has made the crime films Murder Eleven (2013) and River Guard (2016) and began to specialise in the horror genre with the black comedy Murder on Aisle 12 (2016) and subsequently the likes of 6:55 P.M. (2017) and Slayed (2020).

Red Letters is an Occult Detective film in which one or other person with experience investigates a mystery involving the occult and deviltry – a more detailed listing of these films can be found under Occult Investigators. The detectives in question consist of Klock playing a former police officer, and Mike Capozzi as someone who gets psychic flashes from objects and in particular photos. The two set out to investigate a missing cop who vanished into a warehouse. Blood left from missing persons all across the country has been found at the scene.

This seems a potentially worthwhile set-up. The investigation scenes are passable, although Klock demonstrates the failing of amateur filmmakers in that much of the show consists of himself and Capozzi sitting around in a series of static scenes having conversations with people they question and little action. Klock borrows from The X Files (1993-2002, 2016-8) and has two investigators – one who is a sceptic and an atheist, the other a Christian believer who has psychic abilities. This does seem contrived in that, as with Scully’s constant scepticism in The X Files, it seems hard to believe someone would enter into a world of the occult and have the experiences they do and still remain a disbeliever.

Director/writer  Jim Klock as occult investigator Jim Knowles in Red Letters (2019)
The film’s director/writer Jim Klock as occult investigator Jim Knowles

However, there seems to be a purpose for this. Namely, that Red Letters does a bait-and-switch and is in fact a work of Christian Cinema. The title Red Letters, for instance, refers to some versions of The Bible that come with Christ’s sayings printed in red letters. (This is something that has become an actual religious movement in recent years). Klock has produced films with a Christian emphasis elsewhere so you can conclude that this is representative of his personal beliefs.

To this extent, the whole film is set up with an arc where the two detectives investigate the mystery warehouse that seems located in a Bad Place and a locus of diabolical activity, all of which is swung around to a position where Klock’s character finally has to accept Christ as his lord and saviour in the midst of occult attack. (For all that, his conversion doesn’t appear to help any and he is killed immediately after).

The film should not be confused with the earlier, unrelated Peter Coyote-Nastassia Kinsi thriller Red Letters (2000).


Trailer here

Full film available here


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