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Writer director Joel Potrykus offers a mildly brewing saucepan of horror in this low budget accomplished feature. Ty Hickson plays Sean, a would be alchemist who seems to want to either talk to an evil spirit or banish him. We learn quite fast that Sean is on meds for a never explained illness so the film fast becomes; is this real or just poor old Sean having a mental breakdown?
His cousin Cortez (Amari Cheatom) visits him a few times with groceries and supplies for his science tinkering. This is where most of the humour comes from with Cortez representing most of the audience’s views by asking Sean what the hell is he doing? There is no introduction or setup for the film which is refreshing. We simply jump off in a make-shift trailer home in the middle of the woods where Sean is mixing chemicals and fending for his cat.
There are no big bangs or bump in the nights but subtle slowly unraveling elements (science pun) which make you realise there’s something in the woods and it isn’t a teddy bear’s picnic. A run-time of only 82 minutes is perfect for the amount of build up versus pay off needed to keep audiences happy. A criticism could be how the depiction of the breakdown or Sean losing it is a well that has pretty much run dry when it comes to horror thrillers.
Yet with The Alchemist Cookbook you admire it’s simmering development. This is a hearty well prepared meal unlike most of the junk food horrors we see so often.
Director Joel Potrykus
Cast Ty Hickson, Amari Cheatom, Fiji
Script Joel Potrykus
Producers Bryan Reisberg, Andrew Corkin, Ashley Young, Joel Potrykus