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Cast: Michael Ironside, Munro Chambers, Luca Villacis

Director: Michael Peterson

Genre: Thriller

Year: 2018

Rating: NR

Alone, and targeted on an isolated farm, 12 year old Henry finds himself at the center of a maelstrom of terror, and a dark family legacy, when his secretive grandfather dies suddenly in the night.

'Knuckleball' tells the story of 12-year-old, Henry who is dropped off at his grandfather's farm because his parents have to go away for a few days. His grandfather seems eager to spend some time with the boy but he also sees him as another hand around the farm to get things done. The only other person around is Dixon, a young man that lives nearby and helps out the old man from time to time. Right from the start you suspect there might be something wrong with Dixon.

The film uses its first half hour developing the story and introducing us to its central characters, after that things begin to change. The grandfather dies in his sleep and young Henry is left all alone. He attempts to make a phone call to his father but his cell phone battery is low so the message is received but it is muffled and full of static. Still his days call the authorities and ask them to go up to the farm to check on the young boy but the weather is getting bad and it might take them awhile to get there. In the meantime Henry only has one option and that is to go over to Dixon's and tell him what happened but it doesn't take Henry long to realize his life is in grave danger.

One of the first things I noticed about 'Knuckleball' was how great the film looked. Shot on a farm in the middle of nowhere during the winter the farmhouse, wooded areas and snowy landscapes add to the film's mood and atmosphere. It is almost like it acts as another character in the film. The final 30 minutes or so of the film is an adrenaline rush with nonstop action, suspense and tension as Henry attempts to avoid getting killed by Dixon. Henry is a lot smarter than Dixon expects so he is able to get the most of Dixon especially in the early going with special traps he makes. The film also does a good job of hanging onto Henry's family secrets until later in the film which adds to the shock value.

Another thing the film has going for it is the cast. Michael Ironside shines as always as the grandpa and Luca Villacis is just as impressive as the young Henry. Munro Chambers also delivers on Dixon, he seemed to really have fun playing a psycho. The rest of the cast had very little screen time but everyone was very good as well.

'Knuckleball' builds slowly as it leads up to the ultimate showdown and in the end it delivers an entertaining thriller that fans should enjoy. I felt the film could have used a little more tension and suspense but overall I was quite pleased and enjoyed watching the film for its Fantasia 2018 Premiere.

*** 3/4 Out Of *****