Her name is Christa. An unsettling love story about the dead.

Her Name Was Christa is the directorial debut for James L. Edwards (Wrestle massacre, Urban Legend, The Dead Next Door, Milfs vs Zombies) James wears many hats in the movie: Director, writer, and actor.  Stephen is a socially awkward, middle-aged telemarketer and is desperately alone. At the suggestion of a co-worker, he goes out into the night to find a prostitute for “The Girlfriend Experience”. With this, he meets Christa, a streetwise call girl who is happy to fulfill his needs. Yet something unexpected happens. What starts as a business agreement blossoms into true love. But what happens when death enters the picture? How far would you go to keep the one person you have always wanted.

The movie is a remarkable story that keeps the audience interested from beginning to end. Especially with the running time of 1hr and 59 mins. James has worked hard for this movie, making sure his directorial debut was entertaining and thought-provoking.

The character Stephen, played by James L. Edwards, showcases the life of a lonely man; he comes off sweet, harmless, and just an average guy. No distinct qualities, no signs of anger or anything. He merely exists as a wallflower. When his co-worker Nick (Drew Fortier) tries to help him get some action. Nick plays a pivotal character that sets up the film. Stephen is hesitant at first but goes on his first “Date” with a female escort. The idea is foreign to him, but eventually goes with it. Not for the fact of paying for sex, but he’s old fashion and is looking for love vs. instant gratification. With all hope lost, he goes to a diner to get his thoughts together where he meets Christa played by Shianna Daye. The two talk and become acquainted. They work out a deal between them where Stephen gets what he wants, “The girlfriend experience.”

What I love about this film is that James made a movie that plays out like an indie drama. We see him comfortable and happy with his “girlfriend” we see confidence overnight in him. Honestly, Shianna does a great job being a human being with him; she’s sweet, friendly and warns him she’s armed just in case if Stephen gets out of line, but that’s the thing he doesn’t become obsessed or jealous. He doesn’t care to hear about her job.
The film gets dark, but that’s later on. James doesn’t let you forget it’s a horror movie one bit. He is a veteran himself working on many films. This is his first film he directed and wanted to make sure they did it right. Even to non-stop rehearsals with Shianne to get the chemistry and lines right. I have to admit I went into the movie blind but honestly James did a great job creating so many emotions for him that it builds up to where the third act is pure nightmare fuel. There’s excellent FX that got under my skin. However, the transition from drama to horror is so natural the movie doesn’t lose any  momentum.

We still feel for the characters; we always get creeped out. James and Shianne steal the show, giving us so much emotion, heart and even terror. Where Stephen is aware, she’s dead but still loves her, and even Christa knows she’s gone but doesn’t haunt him or pursue him to do evil, but remind him that also though we’re still together, we’re not. Throughout the film, Stephen talks to the audience in an interview about his crime. Never once showing any sign of unstable mentality. He’s just honest about his life. Given the death wasn’t his fault, he still feels terrible but doesn’t do the right thing by calling the police but just keeping the body letting it rot. I strongly advise rent, buy this movie in any format. James L. Edwards may not sound familiar to some, but he’s a true veteran in the horror genre who has now shown he’s capable of storytelling, and I’m interested in what’s next. You can buy the movie on the following sites to stream or own physical copies. Makeflix. Diablolik Dvd. Grindhouse video. Amazon. Amazon UK. Google Play. Vimeo.

 

Posted by Jai Alexis

Associate Producer for the films Teacher Shortage, Violet. writer of the short film "The First" when he's not working he's eating Mexican food and watching The Golden Girls

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