Official Selection, Nashville Film Festival 2014
“Captivating and suspenseful… a thought-provoking film that cuts to the marrow of our hopes and fears about harnessing human creation” – Evans Donnell, ARTS NASH
“Careful research on cloning has been conducted. Characters are developed and nuanced. By the seven-minute mark I sense the director knows (and cares a great deal) about the world I am about to enter and that like it or not, I will be on edge.” – Molly Secours, NASHVILLE ARTS MAGAZINE
Brilliant genetic scientist Dr. Victor Reed (Jeremy Childs) has successfully cloned the first human being. Her name is Baby Elizabeth, and Dr. Reed understands full well what the repercussions could be if news of this incredible event isn’t released with the utmost delicacy and care. He doesn’t want people to interact with her, or even to see her, until he’s had sufficient time to perform a battery of tests. Unfortunately, photos of Elizabeth get leaked, the media exploding with images of the experimental baby with an off-putting receptor on her forehead. Controversy erupts, furious, under-informed protestors gather outside his home, various government bodies contemplate severe legal actions and the Reed family is plunged headfirst into the volatile battle between science and religion. Making a bad situation worse, horrific past failures on the road to the good doctor’s success will not remain hidden for long.
A unique interpretation of the Frankenstein story that’s equal parts philosophical science-fiction/horror and paranoid thriller, CLOSER TO GOD is the engrossing feature debut from Tennessee writer/director Billy Senese. Longtime members of the Fantasia family will recognize that name, the filmmaker’s extraordinary shorts INTRUDER and THE SUICIDE TAPES having both been standouts here in their days, the latter winning a jury award. Reteaming with actor Jeremy Childs, he’s emerged with an unsettling and intelligently provocative work, one that’s driven as much by character and concept as it is by issue. In many ways it’s the genre film our era demands, a level-headed and confrontational question mark in the face of religious absolutism blocking science from its ability to explore that just as well serves as a warning of the unknown consequences that come alongside extremes of progress. It’s so smartly handled that one can easily see its science as not being merely plausible, but most absolutely current. This could be happening right now. And for all we know – and do not know – it just may be. Hypnotically cinematic and evocative of early Cronenberg circa THE BROOD, CLOSER TO GOD shines chilling light onto the shape of things very imminently to come.
— Mitch Davis