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War of the Wills

average rating is 3 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

May 2, 2023

Film Reviews
War of the Wills
Directed by:
George Dondero
Written by:
George Dondero, Bethany Browning
Steven David Martin, Kot Takahashi, Gina Alvarado, Emily Tugaw, Ilana Niernberger

An elderly man and his estranged son must spend a month living together in the same house in order to claim a vast inheritance.


A wealthy old man has passed away and he left instructions stating that if his son (Martin) and grandson (Takahashi) are to inherit his wealth, the two of them must live in his large house for 29 days and not leave the property during that time. The problem is that the two potential executors do not have positive feelings for each other and their departed relative arranged things that way in hope that if they spend so much time together, things will improve between them. Things will not go smothly, as father and son will often lock horns.


This feature is a comedy drama, particularly a family drama, as the center is the relationship between the two relatives who are hoping to inherit and it is a relationship that is far from a good one. The father, a man in late middle age, did not reveal to his deceased dad that he had a son until just before he passed away, so needless to say, he was never a proper parent to the young son, who in his turn is not very fond of him as a result. As they stay in the house together, just the two of them, the father keeps taunting, teasing and provoking his boy, hoping that he will leave the house and thus lose his right to receive the inheritance. The son tries to remain calm and endures his dad's cruelness, as he needs the money for an investment. Meanwhile, two women have been assigned to watch the property and make sure that neither of them leaves.


Martin's character is the one who steals the show. A grumpy, sarcastic, rude, childish and manipulative person who drinks a lot, listens to old music on a gramophone and is determined to claim the inheritance for himself, by trying to come up with all sorts of ways to make his son quit, including using people the latter knows. Martin plays his role convincingly and it seems that he is having fun with his character. Takahashi plays a part that is quite different. The vile man's son, who is young, means well and falls victim to his dad's mistreatment. He attempts to cope by remaining calm and by viewing online videos about anger management. He comes across as a decent person and the audience will most likely be rooting for him and not his father.


The general concept is amusing: a father and son who dislike each other force themselves to live together in a house that is filled with empty bottles that contain notes. The film is interesting and amusing at first, however after a while it runs out of steam and it is towards the final act that things pick up again, during which things move towards thriller territory.


Non-diegetic letters announce the number of the day that is taking place and praise goes to the animation during the opening and closing credits. The sinister music throughout the feature creates a tense atmosphere.


This movie is about family, confrontation, anger management and hard feelings. It does feel overlong, yet Martin's performance and the situation between the father and his son are enough to make this a viewing that is worthwhile.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film
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