Category Archives: Reviews

Trouble Will Cause Q&A

When the Q&A is this good, a review isn’t necessary…

1) Why did you choose to tell this story?

I’ve always been attracted to true crime stories and when I first heard about the Lawson Family murders, it made a pretty big impression on me.  I immediately saw the potential in telling this story as a documentary and really exploring the idea of why Charlie Lawson committed this heinous crime.

2) Were there things left out that you wish you had included?

Film is a visual medium and as a filmmaker I really wish we had more footage to use to help tell this story.  However, the Lawson Family homestead no longer exists and much of Germanton now doesn’t represent the time from 90 years ago.  This film could have easily been two or three times the length.  There is so much more information that could have been presented to our audience, but we decided to stick with the idea of exploring Charlie Lawson and his motives from a psychological perspective.

3) What did you learn during this process, and what will you take away from this project?

I hate giving disingenuous responses to sincere questions, so let me honestly answer this question by telling you that I’m still trying to figure that out.  As a filmmaker, I’ve certainly gained experience that I can take with me for future projects.  But as a storyteller, and someone who has been struggling with the question of “why,” I think the biggest take away for me personally is appreciating the need to understand a tragedy.  It’s not enough for people to know who did this or how, but to really understand why.  I think perhaps that understanding is important for closure and healing.  I hope that our film can help explain this tragedy.

4)Is there an underlying message that you wanted to get across to those who see the film?

If there’s an underlying meaning to be drawn from Trouble Will Cause it’s that human behavior cannot always be easily explained.  Many have looked to scandalous motives and traditional thinking to explain Charlie Lawson’s actions, but the reality of the situation is much more complex.  In order to truly understand why someone would annihilate their family, you have to explore the psychology of the person and often times that’s done by analyzing their life and drawing comparisons based on the cases of other individuals in similar circumstances.

5) How many films have been made by Wreak Havoc, and how many people were involved in making Trouble Will Cause?

We’ve made a handful of films over the past five years including shorts and feature films.  Feel free to check out my IMDb page to see the sorts of films we’ve produced.  https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5951114/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

You can also check out our website to see all the various projects we’re involved in: www.wreakhavocproductions.com

Trouble Will Cause was a very small production.  I produced and directed, Jeffrey Cochran produced and wrote the film (including the research), Zack Fox served as our Director of Photography, Judson Hurd was the composer, Dr. Clarissa Cole was the Forensic Psychologist in the film, Mike Allred made our models.  Those are just a few off the top of my head, but feel free to check out the IMDb page for more details: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6394160/?ref_=nm_flmg_prd_7

6) What would you like people to know who haven’t seen the movie yet and are unsure about going to a screening?

I would prefer for folks to watch the film without too many preconceived ideas.  If I could manage people’s expectations, I would.  I tried doing that with some folks who reached out to us over the past year via email or social media.  Some people thought we had discovered some new evidence that would definitively explain this mystery.  Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of new information to be found regarding a 90 year old mass murder/suicide.  There are plenty of other sources for information about the Lawson Family and this tragedy.  What we wanted to bring to the table was a new perspective – a psychological exploration of the family annihilator.

7) Having now received feedback from an audience, what would you change about the film had you been equipped with that info beforehand?

We’ve screened the film twice so far and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both audiences, but there have also been quite a few negative comments and questions as well.  To answer your question – I wouldn’t change a thing about this film.  I made the movie I set out to make.  It’s meant to inform and provoke thought first and to entertain secondly.  We’ve had several people express a disliking of the film because they felt the film came off as preachy or simply wasn’t what they wanted it to be.  To me, it was important to not only tell the story of the Lawson Family but to also help put this tragedy into somewhat of a modern context and classify it as what it is – a mass shooting, which unfortunately has become more and more commonplace.  I see people’s discontent with the film as more of a reflection of our country’s extreme political polarization.  Some folks get so bent out of shape when exposed to new thoughts and ideas that conflict with their opinion – these people usually only seek out information and news that only serves to reaffirm their already held beliefs.  If we can expose some folks to new information that perhaps makes them think, then the film has done its job.

Some audience members seemed to express some dissatisfaction about our film because we didn’t focus too heavily on some of the traditional motives for Charlie Lawson.  Some of these motives include: an incestuous relationship with his daughter and that she had gotten pregnant, and another motive consists of Charlie Lawson becoming murderous after a farming accident caused traumatic brain injury.  We discussed these in the film but did not dwell on them because there’s very little evidence to support these ideas; and we also did not want to re-tread over material which had already been explored in other publications.  We wanted to bring a new perspective to the table – to explore the psychology of a family annihilator, which I think offers a more accurate and complete understanding than anything else we’ve seen.

Also, one last note on this subject that I’d like to mention – this is a short film coming in at 35 minutes.  This film was always intended as a short film and was never meant to be, nor claims to be a definitive source of information on this case.  In order to present all the information out there, we could have made a 10 part documentary series like Making a Murderer or something in that vein.  However, filmmaking is a visual storytelling format and honestly there isn’t much visual material to present to an audience.  I decided very early on that we would not do any re-enactments (which has been done in another documentary and a live stage performance) and there’s only so many times you can show the same portrait over and over before the audience gets bored.  I would highly encourage audience members who are looking for a more definitive source for this story to read “The Meaning of Our Tears”, or to Google or YouTube the Lawson Family murders, or search for podcasts about the subject.

The Intervention: Movie Review

Remember “The Big Chill”?  If you’re a fan like me, you not only remember, but you still watch it today.  And have probably said: “they just don’t make movies like that anymore.”

They do now.  Clea DuVall’s “The Intervention” can never take the place of, or upstage, our beloved 80’s comedy-drama, but it fits neatly on the shelf alongside it.

Written and directed by Clea DuVall, she gives today’s generation a big chill of their own, while giving us another laid back film to love.


If you watch it with critic intentions you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment, and missing out on an otherwise enjoyable film.  So, do yourself a favor… go into it knowing it’s similar to “The Big Chill” and be open minded.  You just might appreciate her spin on a favorite.

IMDB

The Unconventional Gourmet: Movie Review

A short film that’s not short on creativity.  It’s edited beautifully drawing the viewer in, with captivating cinematography and content.

The script captures the essence of a moment in time, with a twist.  By the films end you’ll have others wondering why you’re so eagerly saying, “welcome to the family“, with a peculiar grin.

Two thumbs up to Wendy Keeling who wrote, directed, and stars, in The Unconventional Gourmet.

Visit the films website for more info, and to watch the movie trailer.

Review: Ghost Hunters Live! 10-15-2015 with Jason Hawes and Steve Gonsalves

I want to start off with making it clear that Jason is NOT the self absorbed, attitude wielding man that he’s perceived to be. In fact, he’s the opposite.

So many people, including myself until attending the show, have written Jason off as this arrogant prick, and labeled Grant the nice guy of the duo.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let me say… If the guys are having a live show near you, GO!

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The Identical: Movie Review

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From the black and white 30’s to the rockin’ 70’s, The Identical will have you searching within, shaking in your seat, laughing and crying.

Drexel and Ryan, (Blake Rayne), may have been separated at birth, but their connection continues through the music they were born to do.

Packed with plentiful impacting scenes, this star studded cast, (Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano), really delivers in an honest and very real way.

Faith based and family friendly, this film is filled with music that’ll grab ya and have you singing for days to come.

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The Winding Stream: Movie Review

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Most have heard the story of Johnny Cash, but how many know the Carter Family story, how it began and how the Cashes and Carters intertwined?

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The Winding Stream tells the story of the Carter family… The struggles, their start and journey in country music, leading to a life-long legacy with the marriage of Johnny and June.

Eager for the screening of this film, and having watched it, I believe Johnny Cash fans who want the whole story should see it. Note… It’s NOT a film all about Johnny Cash. If that’s what you’re hoping too see, you’ll be slightly disappointed.

I must admit, this film educated me quite a bit on the foundation of country music, and the impact the Carter family had in regards to its growth. They were instrumental in building what is now known, as real country music.

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Field of Lost Shoes: Movie Review

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Faced with war and what they’re fighting for, the cadets of VMI (Virginia Military Institute) showed tremendous courage at the Battle of New Market, 15 May 1864. Based on a true story, Field of Lost Shoes is beautifully shot, packed with a talented cast and crew, and will have you weeping for the young lives lost that day.

From beginning to end, you’ll feel as though you have taken a journey back in time. Walking along side the seven boys this movie is about… taking part in their boyhood antics, struggle with reality, and courage on the battlefield.

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Take Me To The River: Movie Review

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Filled with laughable, tearful moments, this film not only embraces the music, but the people behind it. These words: we don’t have a generation gap, we have a communication gap… hit me with impact and have stayed with me. There’s so much truth in that statement.

Take Me to the River brings too life the process, the love, and where it began. With a heart too mend all that’s wrong, they’ve taken a huge step in the right direction towards bridging the gap. Bringing in young talent to work with, and be mentored by, some of musics greats, adds something special to the film.

To love music as much as I do, you gain a new appreciation and respect for those involved with this project, and want to see it succeed in a big way. It’s one thing to stand on the sidelines and talk about what was, and what has gone wrong, but these folks stepped up and took action.

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Self Offense: Movie Review

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This short film tackles a serious issue in a straight-to-the-point manner. Shedding light on domestic violence and abuse, the film is a gateway to conversation. Too many have suffered, and still do, by an attacker and/or abuser.

Self Offense shows four different stories and the path they take to free themselves, using self-offense (the act of attacking) vs self-defense (the act of defending). Scenes teaching the women instruction are powerful, teachable moments, that are shown at the films end.

Bravo! To the cast and crew for making this film, despite budget constraints.

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Lucky Them: Movie Review

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Music critic Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) sets out too find rock icon and ex-boyfriend, Matthew Smith, who disappeared 10 years earlier. Though a part of her wants to know what happened, if Matthew is in fact still alive, Giles (Oliver Platt) doesn’t give her much choice.

Charlie (Thomas Haden Church) joins Ellie in her search with a video camera in hand, to capture footage for a documentary. He’ll drive you mad along the way in an idiotic but fun fashion, and have you.. awww’ing at the end.

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