Davis Farm (2014) – By Philip Smolen

Young siblings Steven and Samantha Davis (Joseph Rene and Marci Journey) are struggling right now. Their mother (Mary Anzalone) is suffering from cancer and is bedridden. Worse, the bank has just informed Steven and Samantha that they intend to foreclose on their family farm unless the family pays them back the $300,000 that they owe. Desperate, Steven and Samantha hatch individual plans to get the money. Steven turns to his shady friend Cooper (Stevie Hendrix) who gets him a job delivering “packages” for some underworld types. And Samantha goes to see Will (Michael Sorrells), a thirty something bank manager who she’s recently slept with. Unless he gives her the money she needs, she going to tell the police that he attacked her. But both plans go horribly wrong and intersect with each other and calamity befalls the well meaning and innocent siblings.

“Davis Farm” is a gripping and well written indie drama from writer/director Vernon Smith. It’s a fascinating look at two well meaning but naïve siblings who try to do the right thing, but only succeed in bringing dark forces down upon them. Both Steven and Samantha feel obligated to save the family farm because it’s been theirs for generations. However, their youth and innocence lead them into separate troubling situations. Their tragedy is that rather than leaning on each other (or their mother) during a time of crises, they try to take care of the situation by themselves. They each make the wrong decision.

Davis’s screenplay features strong characters and moving dialogue. Scenes between Steven and Samantha reach an underlying emotional depth that’s exceptional. What’s even better is that there are no head scratching motivational moments in the film either. Davis has made an economical and powerful thriller.

The cast is uniformly excellent. Joseph Rene and Marci Journey rise to the challenge and imbue Steven and Samantha with nicely nuanced shadings. You see the struggle behind their eyes and you can totally understand why they do what they do. Stevie Hendrix lends credible support as Cooper. He’s smooth and slick and seems like he only wants the best for Stevie, but slowly and surely lures the youth into his web. His moral redemption at the end is a nice touch as well.

“Davis Farm” is a great indie film that’s as potent as any Hollywood movie that’s playing at the multiplex. Writer/director Vernon Smith has made a masterful and first rate thriller that’s sure to please anyone who loves good film.

For more information on “Davis Farm”, please visit: http://www.rascalagave.com and http://vimeo.com/63984086 to see the film’s trailer.