Using all of your college money to fund a first feature is a risky move, but in the case of Quinn Shephard, it paid off. The 22-year-old debuted “Blame” at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, it received universally warm praise as a solid first feature. In his review of the film, IndieWire’s Michael Nordine wrote “Reminiscent of both Hannah Fidell’s ‘A Teacher’ and Melanie Laurent’s ‘Breathe,’…“Blame,” though under-realized, shows great promise from a filmmaker who’s clearly just getting started.” In the first trailer, Shephard is a beguiling foil to Chris Messina in a decidedly grown-up role.
Shephard plays high-school student Abigail (who else), a recent transfer from a mental institution who is battling a group of mean girls. When the dreamy substitute drama teacher (Messina) assigns scenes from Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” he casts Abigail as her namesake temptress. When she can’t find a scene partner, he agrees to read John Proctor to her Abigail. Shephard is more concerned with teenage power dynamics than with May-December romance, finding meaningful parallels with the play, even if they are a bit heavy-handed at times.
The new trailer is dripping with intrigue, scandal, and sex appeal in equal measure. “The Crucible” is rife with metaphors for the seductive and destructive ways teenage girls mess with each other, and there’s never too much blame to go around.
Watch the trailer below.
Samuel Goldwyn Films will release “Blame” in theaters and VOD on January 5.