“Trinket Box,” a film co-written and directed by Patrycja Kepa and Acoryé White, takes its audience on a journey through a tale of newlyweds, Mike and Ava Wilson, as they navigate a seemingly idyllic new life in a home that hides a dark and historical secret.
The movie cleverly blends elements of horror, racial tension, and supernatural occurrences to create a unique narrative that, while not groundbreaking, manages to keep the audience engaged with well-developed characters and a suspenseful atmosphere.
The film opens with a chilling sequence, as a mysterious, gloved man is seen cleaning a home after what appears to be a murder. This initial setup hints at a traditional slasher horror style of film, possibly involving murders and suspense. However, as the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that “Trinket Box” is not confined to typical horror tropes but explores deeper themes, particularly those related to racial tension and historical injustices.
The narrative cleverly weaves between past and present, providing context to the ominous events that unfold. The 1930s backstory introduces a racist family living in a town with a history of witchcraft and witch hunts. The youngest daughter, Mary Ann spies on her elder sister who is having an affair with a young black boy. When their dad catches them, a chase ensues that leads to the killing of their father. Mary Ann seems to be most affected by it all. Later that night, she finds a strange box with a trinket and then she becomes possessed by some strange force when she tries on the necklace.
This historical backdrop sets the stage for the present-day story of Mike and Ava, who unknowingly move into the house which we later realize to be the one being cleaned in the opening sequence, connecting their lives with the lingering supernatural force.
As the Wilsons settle into their new home, the film introduces racial tensions through the character of Mrs. Davis, their neighbour played by Sandra Ellis Lafferty. Mrs. Davis‘s racist attitudes immediately surface, adding an underlying layer of hostility to the story. She gifts her new neighbours a trinket box containing a necklace which soon becomes the catalyst for supernatural disturbances that disrupt the couple’s happiness.
Acorye White, who also co-directed and co-wrote the film, delivers a satisfactory portrayal of Mike Wilson. He effectively conveys the character’s paranoia, protectiveness and concerns, particularly regarding racial stereotypes. Augie Duke, playing Ava, seamlessly transitions from a calm demeanour to a vile possessed state, showcasing her acting versatility.
“Trinket Box” successfully avoids clichés and jump scares, opting for a more psychological approach to horror. The filmmakers make a commendable effort to maintain a unique and original tone within the horror genre. The internal scenes and cinematography contribute to the sense of impending danger, creating a feeling of entrapment within the supposedly peaceful home.
Despite its modest indie production elements, the film struggles to explain the paranormal occurrences. Viewers are left with shadowy unsettling images and the sound of snapping bones but doesn’t give much clarity on the supernatural forces at play. This ambiguity may leave some wanting more concrete explanations for the events in the story.
The movie’s runtime of 103 minutes feels longer than typical, primarily because of a few unnecessarily prolonged scenes. Additionally, the flashback sequences alone account for about 15 minutes of the overall narrative, adding to the perception of an extended viewing duration.
The film’s climax leaves room for a potential sequel, hinting at unresolved mysteries and the possibility of exposing or confronting the supernatural elements within the narrative.
In conclusion, “Trinket Box” may not break new ground in the horror genre, but it stands as a decent indie film with well-developed characters, an engaging storyline, and okay acting. I would score this film 6/10.
If you’re in the mood for a simple yet effective horror indie that avoids unnecessary complications, “Trinket Box” could be a worthwhile watch, inviting audiences to explore the darker corners of racial tension and the paranormal.