The Beguiled is a little-seen, surprisingly good suspense drama that spirals into claustrophobic horror. Clint Eastwood plays against type as a dying Union soldier rescued by a little girl who brings him to her finishing school in the Confederate south. This has all the makings of a sweet drama or light comedy as several of the young women become infatuated with Clint during his convalescence. Even the teachers, played by Geraldine Page and Elizabeth Hartman, fall for him. But when Clint acts on one of the young girls’ advances, darkness falls swiftly and unrelentingly.
There’s blood, poison, mutilation, incest, and the death of more than one pet as Clint struggles to free himself from the widows’ web and the women band together to destroy him. It’s a beautifully fresh and complicated story dealing in moral shades of gray. And I’m thrilled to add that the movie has the balls to end on the right note, too. Despite a modest budget, the production values are high and the atmosphere is moody, all adding luster to a real diamond in the rough.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)