In 2012, Ramaa Mosely made the movie The Brass Teapot, a fairy tale allegory about a magic teapot that gives a couple money whenever they hurt themselves. With Lost Child, Mosely has created another modern day myth, and it doesn’t hurt that she keeps casting my favorite actresses.
Fern (Leven Rambin) comes home from the Army looking for her brother Billy (Taylor John Smith). Before she finds him, she discovers Cecil (Landon Edwards) in the woods and reluctantly agrees to take him in while they look for his family.
As soon as she does, Fern begins getting sick and her hair turns gray. A neighbor suggests that Cecil is actually a tatterdamalion.
Mosely and her cowriter Tim Macy create the mythology of the tatterdamalion. He has accessories he uses, and Fern learns his weaknesses, but it’s not total protection.
There’s a compelling sense of discovery about this new demon, reinforced by how scared others are of him. As scary as it gets, Cecil is still a little boy. It’s sort of like a Damian thing. You can fear his potential but he’s still just a kid. He didn’t ask to be a tatterdamalion.
While all the mysterious supernatural stuff is going on, there’s still the very real world drama of Fern and Billy. Plus, demon or not, Cecil is an abandoned child who’s sweet in his bonding with Fern, showing gratitude towards her but also the neediness and vulnerability of any child.
I fell in love with Rambin on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. She’s continued showing up in fantasy movies and TV series but it’s great to see her get a lead role like this.
Rambin is convincing as a veteran guarding her experiences. She also makes a convincing transition from dismissing those tatterdamalion warnings and gradually running out of alternatives to believe.
Mosely has proven herself at creating compelling mythology within the present day real world. I’ll look forward to her next story.
Lost Child is in theaters now.