It seems obvious that the best way to get deep inside a teen's troubles would be by talking to a teen. So how close can any filmmaker get to a young adult's real issues? Damn close, it would appear, when the screenplay comes directly from the source -- in this case, a 14-year-old writer/actress named Celeste Davis. Producer/director Cindy Baer rests her feature film debut on this inexperienced creative mind, lending Purgatory House both plusses and minuses.
There's a lack of polish and, more importantly, an uninhibited demeanor to Davis's script which work well for the subject matter -- a high school girl (played by Davis), after taking her own life, finds herself eternally trapped in a bizarre home with other successful teen suicides. Davis clearly pours her heart and ideals into the narrative, conveying plenty of gravity and complexity (flashbacks, dream sequences, moments of spare dialogue) despite her youthful viewpoint. Baer's biggest accomplishment as a producer is in guiding this unapologetic, sometimes awkward voice to the screen.
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