Bittertooth (2023) 

Bittertooth is available exclusively on Mometu.

A true crime podcasting due with wildly different backgrounds get involved in solving a local serial killer case. As they disagree on the approach, things take a turn for the bloodier. 

Written by Cooper Holmes, Monte Light, and Neal Tyler, with Light directing as well, the film is an interesting take on true crime investigations, how podcasters approach these, and how getting too close to reality can really bite. The story here is a timely one with all the true crime podcasts out there and the stories of some of them helping to solve actual crimes. The story makes the good move of limiting the number of characters to only those absolutely necessary, same with the locations, keeping the story tighter and easier to follow. There is something to be said for simplicity in writing to keep things more concise and interesting. The film here does this seemingly easily. Tight writing and solid direction really put this podcaster story above the rest of its true crime/crime/modern serial killer investigation above the rest. 

The cast here is solid with Autumn Ivy and Geneviere Thomas in the roles of the podcasters, the two of them bringing very different energy to the film. Their parts are interesting and the two of them make just the right choices in their performances to bring them to the screen in a believable manner. Playing the mom of Thomas’ character, Hélène Udy has a smaller appearance here, but one that is enjoyable and really adds to the film. This is not stunt casting of a horror great, but great use of a horror great. Joining the ladies are Joe Altieri as David Lee Dawes and Justin Michael Terry as Flint Dawes, parts that are better left mostly unspoken about to keep mystery around the story.  

Another strong point of the film is that it is a breath of fresh air given how true crime often goes, the film is shot beautifully with just the right lighting. There is no trying to see what is going on here, the images are clear and really allow the viewer to fully see what is going on. Kudos on that go in large part to cinematographer Neal Tyler. The film makes the most of its location and images in a way that elevates the look and the feel of the film. 

Bittertooth may seem like, yet another true crime inspired film, but it is one that is well-executed on all levels, putting it at the top of the sub-genre. It avoids a lot of pitfalls seen lately with this type of film and really goes for the ending that will satisfy the viewer without spoon-feeding everything to them. There is something here that makes it a notch above the rest and that something makes Bittertooth a film that is easy to watch and rewatch.