A dramatic thriller about kidnapping

By Stephen Weir

Cutlass Director Darisha J. Beresford and executive producer
Drew Umland posed for
the Caribbean Camera at
the fall Caribbean Tales
Film Festival – Photo by
Stephen Weir

Kidnapping is a cottage industry around the world. The Trinidad Guardian newspaper reports that it “is a crime so epidemic that Trinidad ranks second in the world only behind Colombia for its rate of abductions”.

So it is not surprising that a kidnap movie made in Tobago has gained a global following.  Since its 2017 Canadian debut in Toronto at the local Caribbean Tales Film Festival, The Cutlass has become one of the most successful  of Trinidad and Tobago’s feature films.

“We’ve actually had a bit of news for The Cutlass since we were in Toronto in September,” film producer Drew Umland told the Caribbean Camera. “

“Independent films with a very limited marketing budget really have an uphill battle trying to reach their market. It truly is a grass roots effort. But showing The Cutlass at festivals like Caribbean Tales FF in Toronto really makes a difference in helping get the word out. We were overwhelmed by the turnout at the screening and the support shown by the Caribbean community in Toronto.”

It appears that Toronto really kicked off interest in the movie. “Probably the biggest news is that the film is now available ‘On Demand‘ on most major platforms throughout the United  States  and Canada,”  Umland added.

“This is a pretty big deal for us, and for the Caribbean film industry. The movie is available on Comcast, DirectTV, Dish, Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, Xbox, Fandango Now, VUDU and others. So we’re pretty excited!”

The movie was made by two Trinidadian women, director Darisha J. Beresford and writer Teneille Newallo. The Cutlass is a dramatic thriller about kidnapping set in the tropical wilderness of Trinidad.

Joanna  (Tobago actress Lisa-Bel Hirschmann) reluctantly takes a day off from caring for her sick father to hang out with her friends on the remote beaches of Trinidad. But what was expected to be a fun break, suddenly becomes a terrifying event when the group is robbed at gunpoint by a crazed thief and Joanna goes missing.

Joanna finds herself isolated in a world of natural beauty as she musters the courage to battle emotionally the unsettled mind of her kidnapper/rapist.

The opening credits for the 107 minute movie say that The Cutlass is based on a true incident.  “Out of respect for the privacy of the victim and the victim’s family we do not publicly discuss details regarding the identity of the victim, “ Umland told the Caribbean Camera.

“Although the actual crime is never identified, the plot line is similar to a  real life  kidnapping in the heavily forested Toco region of Trinidad,” he said.