Little girl Francisca (a fine and moving portrayal by Olivia Bond lives in a secluded farmhouse with her former surgeon mother (superbly played by Diana Agostini) and dour father (the excellent Paul Nazak). Following a harrowing run-in with lethal drifter Charlie (a supremely creepy turn by Will Brill) and the deaths of both her parents, Francisca grows up to become a deeply unhinged and dangerous young woman (a brave and fearless performance by Kika Magalhaes) who resorts to some really drastic measures for the sake of companionship.Writer/director Nicolas Pesce adroitly crafts a potently brooding gloom-doom mood with a strong underlying feeling of sadness and despair caused by extreme isolation, relates the grimly compelling story at a deliberate pace, offers several startling moments of macabre beauty, and makes a poignant and profound statement about the basic human need for love, company, and intimacy.Better still, Pesce presents all sorts of horrific stuff in a low-key and matter-of-fact manner that makes said horrific stuff come across as chillingly mundane and normal. In addition, Pesce's major artistic triumph is the way he somehow manages to depict Francisca as a heart-breakingly tragic figure who elicits a complex mix of fear and pity from the viewer. Gorgeously shot in stunning black and white by Zach Kuperstein, this deliciously dark and depraved doozy packs an exceptionally powerful emotional punch.
And in this case, it's a normal good guy, William Schallert, playing the villain. As earthlings Robert Clarke, Raymond Bond, Margaret Clarke and Schallert discover an unknown planet heading into the direction of earth, they prepare for the best or the worst. When a lone creature from the earth man named planet X does show up, all but Schallert treat the visiting and nonspeaking being with sensitivity. Schallert, obviously a suspicious type, takes drastic measures to get into the visitor's mind, even going as far as physically attacking it.This is 1950's sci-fi without the camp, without ridiculous subplots that really don't belong, and without a ridiculous looking creature. There's nothing but the story of conflicts in humanity over what's the best way to deal with the unknown, and a theory that we shouldn't shoot first and wonder about the alternative later. It's moody and deliberately slow, subtly fascinating, and more intelligent than most audiences going into expected. That makes this slow going at times, certainly having a conflict yet never fully grabbing you past feeling sorry for the poor visitor who seems to be there with good intentions. An interesting moment in the career of cult director Edgar G. Ullmer. 59ce067264