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Review: Words Like Knives (2013)

Directed by: Travis Legge
Written by: Kelsey Zukowski
Genre: Short / Drama / Horror
MPAA: Not Rated (But does contain mature content not suitable for young viewers)
Released: 2013
Starring: Kelsey Zukowski, Michael Wexler, Melissa Revels, Myke Wilson, Valerie Meachum, Michael Dilacova.

Synopsis: Words Like Knives is a dark, discomforting, and surreal psychological horror that focuses on a young girl’s inner turmoil as she tries to dismiss horrendous rumors that are being spread about her.

Review: 8/10

My Thoughts: They say rumors and knives are one and the same; both with an edge as sharp as it is deadly and those who weld it can strike without notice. The only difference between the two is while a knife can only kill us once, a rumor can kill a thousand times over… in the old nursery rhymes they teach us “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, sadly in today’s age words can in fact hurt you, and in some cases, do for worse imaginable. What the children of yesteryear lacked was social networking, but in the cyber age of Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging, bullying and malicious rumors run wild and ramped, leaving no corner untouched by its poison. Today you’re an innocent princess, an honor student, and loved by many. And then tomorrow you’re a slut, a whore, and the scum of the earth… and treated like a leper by those you thought you could count on… there’s no going back from the life changing damage caused by a fictitious rumor that began with something as simple as “I heard”, or “did you hear?” And even when everything is said and done, the horrendous lie remains polluting your life, and forever poisoning the minds of others with doubt in you. Because the thing about rumors is once enough people hear it, it takes on a life of its own, and the lines between truth and lie fade away.

Written by Kelsey Zukowski, and directed by Travis Legge, “Words Like Knives” is a dark psychological drama which bring forth the disturbing nature of bullying front and center, and portrays the abuse and horrid scrutiny many have to live with because of the cruel intentions caused by others. Zukowski’s screenplay is dark and disturbingly surreal, and at times, unnerving to watch. And coupled with Legge’s own brand of atmospheric style behind the camera, and the result invokes such raw emotion teeming from its cinematic pores. You cannot help but feel some level of mixed, raw emotion as you watch; it invokes a sense of emotional disturbance so brilliantly… Upon finishing my viewing of WLK, I was left provoked in thought, thoughts filled with many questions, questions only another viewing may shade light on… after I allowed it to sink in a bit, I eagerly drank in the film once more, and upon my second viewing I found the writing of WLK to be far more complex than originally thought from my first viewing, it’s not as simple as black and white, and the further I looked into it I discovered how multi-layered it is. I also found myself noticing details I hadn’t picked up on during my first viewing, which made the second viewing all the more enjoyable and worth the watch.

As for the acing: While I enjoyed the film and its narrative a great deal, the acting was a hit with a few misses, but generally I enjoyed the cast overall. Kelsey Zukowski delivered a star stellar performance in the leading role of Emma, she displayed a level of professionalism that was both daring and forthcoming of her, and is a perfect display that proves she can do more than talk the talk. In short, as both an actress and writer, Zukowski is arriving. Michael Wexler and Valerie Meachum delivered spot on performances as Mr. and Mrs. Price. What I found most impressive was how both actors handled themselves on screen, body language plays a big role to a great performance, and both actors showed a good display of that. Melissa Revels who played Madison, did fairly okay, although there were certain instances where I felt the delivery was underdone. But nothing that was by any means hindering to her role. My only issue with the acting came from Michael Dilacova and Myke Wilson. Both actors clearly gave it their best shot, and I commend them greatly for it, but I just wasn’t feeling their performance like I ought to. In my opinion, it felt like both actors were holding back…

Final say: Words Like Knives lived up to expectations and then some. While the nature of the content in the film is suitable for a mature audience, I recommend mature teens view WLK at least once, as many who have suffered the effects of bullying will find relation to this dark psychological horror. I highly recommend it!