Beautifully shot and well acted, Stephen Tramontana’s “Grief Counseling” is a powerful tale of loss and the extent of a mother’s love.
After a chilling phone call, a grieving mother can no longer escape her terrible past.
Grief Counseling, the new horror short from filmmaker Stephen Tramontana (A Very Tight Place) and Angry Mule Productions, is a clever and haunting look into the horrid and heartbreaking trials of grief. Told through the unstable lens of a young woman who has lost her son to a horrific accident, this film is as unnerving as it is heartbreaking.
The performance from lead actress Clayton Joyner was phenomenal, as she produces a great window into the mind of her character who is unstable yet still highly sympathetic and relatable due to the pain and trauma she experiences after suddenly losing her son, Noah. This is also effectively shown through the many long drives — and tearful breakdowns she experiences in her car — that represent the long and, at times, dark road of grief.
Her struggle is further explored in her various therapy sessions, where she explains the strange occurrences that have taken over her life following her son’s death, highlighting the intense denial many grief-stricken people experience.
The horror and tension within the film is well-built and riveting thanks to clutching sound design and music, as well as the shocking yet powerful plot twist that completes the exploration of grief at the conclusion of the film.
It was also very refreshing to see Grief Counseling cleverly avoid cliché pitfalls in order to tell the narrative of grief-stricken denial and depression. The fact that this is more of a psychological horror film rather than a supernatural horror film also gives the story more weight and validity in comparison to just throwing a ghost in there for the sake of spooks.
Overall, Grief Counseling is a thoughtful yet thoroughly entertaining tale of motherly love and the consequences of grief.
Whether you’ve experienced the clutches of grief or not, the narrative is relatable and expressive thanks to the impeccable acting and filmmaking combined with the terrifying plot and themes that make this film so unique.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to keep an eye out for this one and watch it as soon as you’re able. In the meantime, we urge you to check out the latest short from Angry Mule Productions called A Night In, created specifically for the #CormanChallenge, a Quarantine Film Festival from Roger Corman. Corman urged would-be Hollywood directors sheltered at home to make a two-minute short, using whatever resources they had on hand, in an effort to keep the creative spirit alive during this difficult time. We had a great time with A Night In and think you will as well. You can check it out below, along with the trailer for Grief Counseling.