AnnaLynne McCord as Eve Sullivan in “Condition of Return.” Photo courtesy of Pasidg Productions.
With the alarming increase in mass shootings across the United States, questions about the motivations behind these horrifying acts persist. Is mental health a contributing factor? Does toxic religious ideology play a role? The award-winning film “Condition of Return,” featuring AnnaLynne McCord (known for “90210”, Nip/Tuck”) and Dean Cain (“Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”), along with Natasha Henstridge (“Species”) and James Russo (“Donnie Brasco”), has sparked intense discussions as it bravely raises two thought-provoking questions: What if the perpetrators genuinely believe they have valid reasons for their actions? And more importantly, how can we better understand what causes these extreme outbursts of violence?
Directed by Tommy Stovall and written by John Spare, “Condition of Return” centers on the actions and motives of mass shooter Eve Sullivan, a devout teacher in a small American town. This supernatural thriller, which earned McCord the Outstanding Lead Actress award at the 2023 Sedona International Film Festival, refrains from providing simple answers. Instead, it empowers viewers to draw their own conclusions while observing Dr. Donald Thomas (Cain) as he interviews Eve to assess her fitness for trial.
John Spare, the screenwriter of “Condition of Return,” was driven to craft the screenplay in 2010 by his own quest for answers. Like many others, he grappled with the disturbing frequency of mass shootings in the United States. In trying to comprehend what motivates a shooter, Spare acknowledged the uncomfortable possibility that the perpetrator genuinely believed in their actions.
Spare elaborates, “This uncomfortable reality, morally reprehensible as it may be, must be confronted by Dr. Thomas (Cain). He is faced with the challenge of understanding how someone like Eve (McCord), who appears ordinary, could commit such a terrible crime, and this leads him to confront the issue of blind faith—the unquestioning trust individuals place in certain beliefs.”
AnnaLynne McCord (Eve Sullivan), John Spare (writer), Tommy Stovall (Director) and Marc Sterling (Producer) at the Los Angeles premiere screening of “Condition of Return” Q&A panel.
Photo courtesy of Pasidg Productions.
While “Condition of Return” does depict Liza (Henstridge), presumably the Devil, to whom Eve surrenders her soul to save her life, it resists simplistically blaming organized religion or toxic theology for mass shootings. Instead, it encourages viewers to consider the line between the unseen spiritual influences on Eve and the profound power of choice.
As “Condition of Return” unfolds, it delivers a poignant message: unquestioning allegiance to any cause or organization, without independent reasoning, can lead to disaster. On Instagram, McCord highlights the devastation that often arises when individuals, like her character Eve, relinquish their autonomy to blindly follow something.
McCord emphasizes, “We must recognize blind faith for what it is: a form of mental slavery. Obedience, without critical thinking, is perilous. It often results in either surrendering one’s inner sense of reason or a casual attitude toward consequences. Faith and spirituality should promote compassion, peace, and love. This explains the growing shift away from organized religions. Any group or institution that promotes its beliefs while suggesting harm may befall those who question them does not embody genuine faith. It is a trap seeking to accumulate followers.”
With the release of “Condition of Return” across America, it challenges viewers who are weary of mass shootings to reclaim their autonomy and to consciously evaluate the reasons behind their actions. It serves as a reminder that all individuals must take a step back from their faith, wherever it may be placed, to ensure it is well-founded and not based on blind obedience, leading toward a path of peace.
“Condition of Return” Debuted in North American Theatres September 22, 2023 and Video On Demand. Photo Courtesy of Pasidg Productions.
“Condition of Return,” a supernatural thriller directed by Tommy Stovall, produced by Marc Sterling, and written by John Spare, stars AnnaLynne McCord as a churchgoing schoolteacher who strikes a deal with the devil to escape her tumultuous life. The ensemble cast also includes Dean Cain, Natasha Henstridge, and James Russo.
“Condition of Return” debuted in North American theaters on September 22, 2023, including screenings at the Lumiere Music Hall in Los Angeles and in other cities such as Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Oklahoma City. Audiences can rent or purchase the film on Vudu and various cable services. Additionally, “Condition of Return” is scheduled for release on iTunes, Prime Video, and other TVOD digital platforms on October 23, 2023.
Pasidg Productions, Inc.
Watch the official trailer for Condition of Return
Follow Condition of Return on social media: