FilmDistrict Has The Last Word

Jason McDonald

I bet you’ll be seeing that headline used ad nauseum.  FilmDistrict has jumped aboard The Last Word to help finance the “true horror” film.  The film is being written by Ben Ketai whose previous writing credits include the sequels to 30 Days of Night (Blood Trails, Dust to Dust, Dark Days) and the Chosen series for Crackle.

Not much is known about the film except that it picks up after a Texas man is wrongfully convicted and executed for the rape and murder of a nun.  There’s actually a documentary film called The Last Word which is also about this event, here’s a synopsis for that documentary to give you a better idea about the story this film is based around:

This documentary takes the “Innocent Man on Texas Death Row” tale to a dark corner feared by all proving that an innocent man has been executed by the State. A clash between good and evil strikes up on the High Plains of Texas when Johnny Frank Garrett, a 17 year old retarded boy is arrested, convicted and ultimately executed for the Halloween night rape, mutilation and murder of Sister Tadea Benz. The 76 year old nun was attacked while she slept in her room at the St. Francis Convent in Amarillo, Texas. Garrett claimed his innocence from the time of his arrest until his dying breath.

Sixteen years after Garrett’s execution new evidence rose up from the cold case grave of the Amarillo Police Department proving they executed the wrong man! During interviews with key players the case of Johnny Frank Garrett unfolds as a recipe for executing the innocent. A death penalty obsessed District Attorney and his lap-dog Medical Examiner, ladder climbing cops, bloodthirsty media, enraged and fearful jurors, incompetent defense lawyers, politicized judges, witch-hunting religious zealots and an ironfisted Governor with national ambitions meld together as perfect ingredients for a plate of government sponsored murder.

In Garrett’s final statement he professed his innocence one last time but did so in a voice driven by hate and vengeance. In his chilling conclusion Garrett promised those responsible for his murder that someday he would have the last word and they would pay for what they had done. For most of Garrett’s enemies “someday” happened long ago. Regardless of faith, for or against the death penalty, liberal or conservative The Last Word compels viewers to feel not only the collective pain our societal conscience suffers for executing the innocent but also the individual fear of not knowing what margins of error our judges, jurors and executioners will find acceptable tomorrow.


So based on that last paragraph, my guess is that this film will probably take the “vengeful spirit from beyond the grave” approach.  It’s hard to imagine a ghost story being scarier than a true story about a man being wrongfully executed, but that’s just me.  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.


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