One of the buzziest films at last year’s South By Southwest film festival was Faults, a psychological cult drama-thriller-whatsit from first-time feature writer-director Riley Stearns. Centering on a powerhouse acting duo, the film stars longtime character actor Leland Orser as Ansel, a washed-up, self-appointed expert in cults, who’s asked by the parents of Claire (a tremendous Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to help deprogram her after she takes up with a mysterious pseudo-religious organization called Faults. While that may seem to be a pretty straightforward premise, trust me when I say that Faults goes in some very unexpected directions, maintaining a delightfully discombobulating sense of unfamiliarity throughout, along with a healthy dollop of pitch-black humor. (Ansel is a delusional sad-sack for the ages.) It comes from the same producing team responsible for The Guest and You’re Next, the former of which is sort of a helpful comparison point, though Faults is a lot weirder and more cerebral than either of those Dissolve favorites.
Faults was one of my favorite films I saw at last year’s SXSW, and it’s stuck in my head in a way few other films I saw there have; I’m looking forward to revisiting it when it premieres in theaters and on VOD March 6. A new trailer gives a good idea of what to expect from the film—perhaps too good an idea, as Faults is one of those great little movies that benefit from the viewer knowing as little as possible about them. Nonetheless, take a look:
The trail of the tape
Director: Riley Stearns
Screenwriter: Riley Stearns
Cast: Leland Orser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Ellis, Suzan Averitt, Jon Gries, Lance Reddick
Release date: In theaters and on VOD March 6
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “You realize there’s no hiding from them?”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
This trailer is a little misleading in terms of tone; Faults is a lot more cerebral and thoughtfully paced than the wham-pow second half of this trailer would have you think, but overall it gives a good sense of the feeling of unease and disorientation that makes the movie such a trip. Those who enjoy thinking “What the hell am I watching here?” during a movie should mark your calendars for March 6.