I love murder mysteries. Who doesn’t? Stories of intricate webs weaved by diverse characters in unfortunate circumstances grieving a lost friend that leave the audience guessing until the end captivate the imagination.
I had heard about Hayseed directly from Nolan North. He attended Motor City Comic Con back in the fall of 2020 and had mentioned he was in Michigan working on a new project in Eaton Rapids. As a Michigander, it’s always exciting to hear when a film is being created within the state, so I planned on keeping an eye out for more information. Fast forward to 2023, that same film Nolan had worked on was announced as the closing feature film in the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival showing at the State Theater in downtown Bay City, Michigan, which happens to be my home town. It was the perfect setting and opportunity to support the independent film.
Hayseed’s plot revolves around the mysterious death of a church’s reverend and the investigation of the church’s congregation thereafter. Leo Hobbins, played by Bill Sage, spearheads the investigation of this eclectic group of individuals from a small town in the Midwest. The story follows Darlene Halsey, played by Ismenia Mendes, as she navigates her grief of losing a close friend and mentor and helps the investigator get to the bottom of what really happened to the reverend.
The film captured the true essence of what it’s like to live in a small American Midwestern town. All of the characters, or should I say suspects, know each other. Some are close friends, while others are casual acquaintances. Each character has their own perspective of the other members within the church congregation, which broadens the audience’s view as the story takes us deeper into understanding more about the unfolding mystery.
Some honorable mentions for the cast are Kathryn Morris, who plays Joyce Metts, the meddling congregation gossip; Jack Falahee plays Duck McIlrath (yes, you read that right, Duck), a local who is looking for ways to better his life despite being stuck in a small town; Nolan North plays Don Fulcher a local businessman and staple in the community.
There were plot twists and turns that take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions from sorrow to humor to realistic heavy topics to the hysterics of the chaoticness of reality. The story is brilliantly told, reeling the audience in for a well-rounded, intricately plotted finale.
My husband, Aaron B, and I sat down with writer and director Travis Burgess to discuss his inspiration and process in creating this masterfully told mystery. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd5R6WKs4Qc&t=88s
Hayseed is playing in select theaters beginning November 7th, 2023, so check out your local listings! It will be arriving on streaming on November 21st, 2023. If you want to watch something new, independent, and original, I highly recommend checking out this film!
Check out the official trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXjFY6cN25Q