Lock the doors. Bolt the windows. And whatever you do, after you seen Jamaica’s horror film Nefarious don’t go walking the streets of Kingston, Jamaica at night. No matter what.
This Jamaican horror film – it was made in 2018 – is coming to Canada for its first public showing at the 15th annual Caribbean Tales Film Festival.
It’s headlining CTFF’s September 19th Boomflik – an evening dedicated to the screening of Jamaican films.
Many of the feature length films shot in Jamaica make it onto the big screen one year or another after here in Toronto at the Film Festival.
No matter how many Jamaican movies viewers might have seen over the 15 year history of the CTFF, no one will have seen a Jamaican film like Nefarious – the island’s first horror gangsta flick.
Gang bangers, bandit street fighters. vampires and demons walk the streets of a Kingston ghetto, killing everyone who gets in the way.
Mark (played by high school teacher/actor Kevoy Williams) tries to live on the straight and narrow in the poorest part of town. He leaves his girlfriend to be with Natasha (played by lawyer/actress Ana-Stassia McLeish) a woman of rank and privilege) in a mansion high above the city.
Mark wants to go to college and get out of the ghetto. But just before hooking up with Natasha, he and his aunt are mugged and his hard saved tuition money is stolen. Mark is out for bloody revenge and soon finds it.
While his new girlfriend is all things good and pure, her evil brother, Andrew comes as part of the relationship package. Willing to do anything to stay with Natasha, Mark secretly becomes part of Andrew’s blood thirsty gangsta crew as they pull-off a series of violent and necromantic acts. Mark is possessed but ultimately, Natasha knows that love can be his cure. But is it too late?
The action is furious and the gore is almost non-stop. Blood literally flows in the streets. If you like Horror, this movie is for you.
Rhett Butler, the director of the film is a man with a foot in two countries. He is living and working in Toronto while planning his next Jamaica release. He is used to the Caribbean commute. While making this 1 hr. and 47 minute long film, he took time out to come to Canada to study at Humber College.
“Principal photography began in mid 2015, which accounted for about 90 per cent of the shoot, as I was leaving for Canada in September of that year,” explains Butler. “Subsequently, the remaining 10 per cent was shot over the years during my visits back home.”
The film was delivered shortly after it was completed to Palace Amusement Jamaica and was awaiting a release date, the director told The Caribbean Camera. However, the release is now delayed as result of the pandemic. While Nefarious hasn’t been officially released, the cinema test audience really enjoyed the film. The audience was asked to rate the film on a 10-point scale within specific categories, and the average grade was 8/10.
Much of the filming takes place at night, which does causes some viewing issues in the screening. You can hear the screaming and the bones being crunched but it is difficult to see what is actually happening.
“ I’m currently working on the screenplay for my next film, which may begin shooting in 2021. In addition, I’m considering the sequel to Nefarious.” said Butler. He will be talking about Nefarious and his plans for further Jamaica horror gangsta instalments in an online Talk Back following the airing of his film.
The 15th annual CaribbeanTales Film Festival runs from September 9 until October 2. This year, because of the virus shutdown, the CTFF will take place online with nine nights and more than 25 short and feature films of live stream entertainment.