When a person is damaged, in one way or another, sometimes the only solace they can find is by partaking in things that might not be reasonable within the bounds of normal human standards and practices. Some resort to drugs and alcohol to feel complete. Others may find that the only way to feel as if they are in control is through domestic abuse or even by partaking in some form of abnormal sexual deviancy. Then there are the select few that can only fulfill their emptiness in the most taboo of ways, by taking the lives of innocent people.
The latter is where Jon falls. Jon is not what you would call a very big fan of women. Well, at least not a big fan of women of the night, that is. You see, Jon spends much of his spare time away from his coffee shop job picking up hookers. But instead of letting them rock his world, he rocks theirs, by taking their world and ending it. While his reasoning for this awful habit is never made clear, Jon often spews out the phrase "filthy whores" (amongst a handful of other descriptives that most women do not enjoy being referred to as) as he ends the lives of these poor women. Therefore, it seems that at some point in his life, Jon was wronged or seriously hurt by a female that was important to him, thus creating an intense hatred for women and, more specifically, prostitutes.
Jon finds his happiness, his solace, in ending the lives of women that represent something very personal and possibly even painful to him. Something that is so deeply seeded that there is nothing that could keep him from continuing his nightly slayings. Nothing except maybe a woman. The right woman.
In walks Delia, an extremely attractive woman who has a certain swagger and charm that Jon has never encountered before. From the second she walks into Jon's coffee shop, Delia steals all of his attention, almost shining a ray of feminine hope that Jon has not seen in a longtime, if ever. Jon witnesses a woman that is unlike any other, unlike any of those filthy whores he is forced to slay on the regular. Delia sees a man in Jon who is genuine, sweet and someone who breaks the mold of what she knows about men, specifically the men who have been in her life. Of course, Delia knows nothing of Jon's murderous hobby, but Delia also has a few secrets of her own.
Much like Jon, Delia carries more baggage than an airplane (yeah, of all jokes I went with that one!). She too is a lost soul of sorts and has many issues to deal with. Like Jon, Delia is damaged, broken from many years of abuse. Delia is in a place where she will do anything to set her life, and the life of one very important family member, on the right track. However, getting there is a difficult road, and the only way she can see to create the right life for herself is to resort to selling her body.
Delia needs to find solace for herself as well as for her younger sister, and the only way she believes she can go about it is by prostituting herself out. However, it goes much deeper than that for Delia as she is a woman (well, more than likely a girl at the time) who was sexually abused by a man. Her solace may come in the form of her domination over her clients, the men she sleeps with for money. She is using them to get what she wants and bosses them around as she sees fit. She is in control, and uses this sense of dominance to fill the emptiness left gaping from a haunted past.
Two different people with two very different ways of coping, coming together and finding solace in one another. But can that solace be broken when one potential partner is a serial killer who enjoys murdering prostitutes while the other is just that, a prostitute?
Directed by Ryan Cummings and Frank Licata and shot in 16 days on a budget just under $20K, All God's Creatures has this certain level of charm about it, and much of that can fall on the well-written lead characters and the actors that portray them. Both Jessica Kaye (who plays Delia) and Josh Folan (who plays Jon and also co-wrote the film with Billy Fox) put out some great performances in this extra low-budget film. Folan is convincingly intense and intimidating as Josh, while Kaye has this indescribable presence about her that I find difficult to pinpoint. Her performance is quite refreshing, and she has this certain thing about her that is completely and utterly charming. She fully embodies the character of Delia, which is very important in a film where a serial killer is swooned by someone he would normally look at as a potential victim.
Despite the film's financial shortcomings, All God's Creatures is a nicely made independent thriller, though, there are a few questionable technical decisions. This would be specific to the handful of strangely handled montages that play throughout the film. The way they are shot and the odd, pop-infused music choices seemed to be quite off kilter from what the movie is going for and is slightly reminiscent of Canadian made, teen focused Lifetime movies. A traditional score or maybe something a little more simplistic with a slight edge would have worked better for certain moments. However, I do believe these montages and the music choices were meant to play more towards the sweet, romantic angle of the film, but they just seemed to be distracting from what is the heart and strength of the movie.
Regardless of those few minor tonal and technical fumbles, All God's Creatures is hinged on the characters, the performances and the idea that there is always someone out there that can help fill those empty voids in our lives. The viewer is put in a position to care and root for both Jon and Delia's relationship, despite their respective dysfunctions, and the fact that the movie is successful in generating sympathy, as well as a desire to see them succeed, says a lot about the success of the film as a whole.
If you fancy a date with a serial killer or, better yet, a nice looking hooker, then you can nab yourself a copy of All God's Creatures by clicking here and going to the official website.