The beauty of "Angel's Perch" is that it could be anyone's story. There are millions of people living with Alzheimer's, a disease that affects almost every American whether it be directly or indirectly. In fact, the script was inspired by writer/star J.T. Arbogast's experiences with his grandmother when she began suffering from Alzheimer's.
Jack (Arbogast), a successful architect living in Pittsburgh, receives a phone call that his grandmother Polly (Joyce van Patten, "Grown Ups") has been found wandering outside alone at night. Her Alzheimer's is getting rapidly worse. He drops everything and returns to his family home in West Virginia in order to place her in assisted living. Only he realizes that task is not an easy one to carry out.
His arrival in town creates a stir among the ghosts from his past, and Jack has to confront all of them while dealing with his own personal baggage.
The scenes that are the most emotional and relatable are the ones where Alzheimer's is so accurately depicted. Such as the scene where Jack opens the door to his grandmother's house and she doesn't recognize him. Polly yells for him to get out while demanding for Jack to come home. Jack calmly shows her a picture of himself on his wedding day and asks her to identify the man in the picture. She immediately recognizes the man to be Jack, but it still takes her a minute to realize that Jack is also standing in front of her. The emotional weight of this scene is a testament to the talent of the actors in the film and the accuracy of the writing by Arbogast.
"Angel's Perch" was made for approximately $160,000, but the low micro budget is difficult to see. The film has recognizable actors such as Ashley Jones from the second season of HBO's "True Blood" and Ally Walker from FX's "Sons of Anarchy", along with Ms. Van Patten. The film was shot mostly in the small town of Cass, W.Va, and the Appalachian mountains make for a beautiful, free setting for this film. Even the famous Cass Railroad makes a cameo in the movie.
West Virginia is proud of its film community and embraces each film that is made in the state. J.T. Arbogast's real life grandparents lived in the town of Cass and he portrays the town and state in a completely positive light. It's very nice to see films made in W.Va. that are about real life situations. Horror films have their place too, but the state is about much more than that.