Bloody Disgusting got the chance to check out Faults at SXSW and here’s part of their review:
Faults is a modern cult thriller cut from a slightly different cloth than contemporaries like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Sound Of My Voice (though it more than earns its place alongside those films). It shares their menacing undercurrents but also manages to be laugh out loud funny in a manner that doesn’t even come close to undercutting its central objective. That’s all you should know going in (even though the movie is certainly strong enough to withstand all kinds of spoilers, there’s no reason not to blindly give yourself over to it at least once).
It also doesn’t hurt that Stearns has a stellar cast at his disposal. Leland Orser (Seven, The Guest) is at turns hilarious, despairing and achingly wounded as Ansel, something of a cult deprogrammer. Mary Elizabeth Winstead continues to reveal new layers of command over the craft she displayed in 2012’s Smashed. Though the film is largely centered around these two, it’s buoyed by unexpected turns from Beth Grant, Chris Ellis, Lance Reddick and John Gries. All of these people click together in completely unexpected ways as the film goes about its business with remarkable clarity and specificity.
The site gave the film 4.5/5 skull heads.
The Playlist also gave their take on the film:
Anyone familiar with writer/director Riley Stearns’ short films (his most recent, “The Cub,” being a personal favorite) will be happy to hear that his first feature, “Faults,” maintains his droll sense of humor and unnerving use of framing while telling a rather different tale of parents trying to retrieve their daughter from would-be custodians. The laughs are fewer and farther between once Ansel and Claire are confined to a non-descript hotel room, but for the sake of the first act, those countless humiliations are vital to empathizing with an otherwise petty, insecure has-been of a protagonist, one constantly assaulted in Coen-esque fashion when not pocketing just about anything free for the taking.
Winstead (“Smashed,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), gives yet another fragile, commanding performance as a young woman caught between oppressive parents, a well-meaning captor and her own brainwashed persona. Claire (who doesn’t care for that name anymore) points out that Faults takes its own name from seismic and psychic pressures alike, and after being steeped in Ansel’s unyielding stress, it’s not hard to recognize the appeal of such a self-actualizing mentality. Their quicksilver dynamic together isn’t just the focus of the film; it’s reason enough to see it.
“Faults” is a strangely funny, often eerie accomplishment, and it’s a testament to why people like us tend to call first features like this “promising.” [B+]