Sundance Film Review: ‘Sweetheart’

Variety | 1/29/2019 | Dennis Harvey
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Stripped-down creature feature “Sweetheart” stars Kiersey Clemons (“Dope,” “Transparent”) as a shipwreck survivor on an uninhabited island that unfortunately turns out to have one frequent, unfriendly, nonhuman visitor. The sparing glimpses of the scaly whatsis and near-complete lack of dialogue (to a point) make this a reasonably offbeat wade into a familiar Black Lagoon. But despite decent suspense, “Sleight” director J.D. Dillard’s good-looking second feature is a chiller that’s not quite original or stylish enough to be memorable.

Clemons’ Jenn washes onto her isle barely conscious, though in better shape than a fellow passenger (Benedict Samuel) on her storm-downed pleasure cruise, who quickly expires. The situation is dire, but the heroine proves resourceful, quickly figuring out how to spear-fish and make a fire. She also finds signs of prior habitation: A campsite whose vacationers oddly left their gear behind — and more disturbingly, an apparent group gravesite.

Sign - Morning - Corpse - Attention - Passing

The first sign that she’s not entirely alone comes one morning when the corpse she’s just buried appears to have been violently dug up and dragged away. Then while unsuccessfully trying to capture the attention of a passing plane one night, her flare happens to backlight something standing in the distant surf — something two-legged, but alarmingly tall and fierce-looking. Fierce it is indeed, making nocturnal visits that at first are satisfied with her offerings of fish and other food. But soon enough it come hunting for Jenn.

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Members - Trip

Eventually more members of her trip...
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