Black Balsam (2022)

Sometimes the perfect home is not worth its cost.  This rings true in the unsettling events of Black Balsam, a moody slice of American pride and paranoia.  It’s cold.  It’s haunting.  And, thanks to the performances by all involved, it’s totally within the realm of possibility as one demented soul refuses to move on when his family house is sold.

"a moody slice of American pride and paranoia"

To put it bluntly, Black Balsam, directed by Heath Franklin and co-written by David Schifter and Bow McCormick, is a blast which echoes the horror hearts of the past.  Sure, there’s little new to this remote cabin in the woods set-up, but the unnerving results are strong as one unlucky couple finds that their perfect home, tucked deep in the North Carolina woods, is not something that its previous tenet is going to give up anytime soon . . .

. . . or at least not without a fight.

The signs are there from the beginning.  Something is off. 

From the remote location to the angst on the face of the realtor, this property is not all it seems to be.  For one, its sale will evict the strange man who calls it home.  Where will he put his taxidermy collection?!!  The house is  not staged - as the realtor says, “don’t expect sugar cookies” - and when Bill and Ellen Roth (Brian Kurlander and Josie Davis) discover that Wes Goins (a deliciously evil performance from Mark Ashworth) is banging some chick in an upstairs bedroom, well, all bets are off on EVER getting this property sold.

Which is exactly what Wes wants.  Yet, The Roths are not spooked. Black Balsam (2022)

As they gaze out over the view, it suddenly becomes home to them.  They can’t shake its effect.  They should because what's about to be unleashed on them, as they move in with their daughter (Emily Topper) and their son (Ryan Baugman) is all sorts of hell on earth.  To its credit, the camera holds things close to the bone.  There are clues sprinkled about, but only true fans of horror will be dialed into its closing moments.

Being the creeper that he is, Wes welcomes them to the home.  WHAT?!  He’s watching their every move and his presence on the property is felt by all . . . even when he is nowhere to be found.  The police are alerted to his unwillingness to leave and even the Goins' history seeps into Bill’s dreams.  Something is off here and he’s willing to get to the bottom of it in order to make this his dream home . . .

. . . but it remains a nightmare.

Black Balsam is now streaming on platforms everywhere.  Settle in.  Just don’t get too cozy.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Black Balsam (2022)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.

: Heath Franklin
David Schifter; Bow McCormick; Heath Franklin
Josie Davis; Emily Topper; David Schifter
: Thriller
Don't Get Too Cozy.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Cut Entertainment Group
Official Site:
Release Date:
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A couple find their dream home in the North Carolina mountains. But dreams turn to nightmares when the son of the deceased owner, is about to become homeless and takes revenge on those about to take his lifelong home.


Black Balsam (2022)