Griff Furst, a thoroughly experienced actor, writer and general filmmaker, and recently made Cold Moon (2016) with a name often associated with horror, having amassed over 30-credits in various manners and many announced projects, made this slasher film, also known as Maskerade. While Furst did write the screenplay, assistance came two experience horror screenwriters Eric Miller and Jake Kennedy, how, when, and where to layer the jump scares and build momentum in the film.
Evan (Stephen Colletti) surprises his girlfriend Jennifer (Nikki Deloach) with a proposal and a creepy abandoned old house, 40-acres of ground and everything inside the house extremely cheap, sounds great so they move in immediately and invite all their friends up to help fix it up. Through flashback sequence the audience learns about a mother with her young Leonard (Kennon Kepper) suffering from a serious medical condition of his face melting off, she used voodoo sacrifices, first animals and later humans to try to heal him, but only turns him into a monster that can’t be killed. The local townsfolk unhappy decide enough is enough; they stake him to the ground, witnessing his mother’s death all through a ritual ceremony. Back to modern times, someone removes the stake and a little blood transfer killer with a serious identity problem arises. A quick summary a young deformed boy witnesses his mother’s death, he comes back to take revenge on anyone who dares enter his property, sound familiar. Their friends come over to help on cleanup and rehabbing the house, while some go off to take in some personal pleasures. Other individuals show up, such as an electrician and meet with the killer, Leonard (Jonathan Breck, known for his portrayal of the Creeper in parts one and two Jeepers Creepers) who dispenses with them quickly, with pitchforks and axes, begins wearing their faces (oh is that new)? Wonder what happens next – not telling, however special effects having a pleasing effect with reference to some gory moments. Nevertheless, watch for the scene involving Fred (Michael Berryman, the horror icon of the movie) and two other cameos, one from Treat Williams (Dead Heat (1988) and recently on Chicago Fire tv-series) and then Jason London, in the role of Arthur Brown, sadly in a minor throwaway role. Many of the experienced and knowledgeable horror fans, will note many reference to other horror films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Friday the 13th Part 2, actually quite a few of the Friday films from the franchise play into this movie.
The writing creates for much of the tension, for a group of college kids looking and acting like students, romance and friendship all seem genuine, generally solid bonding moments. As with most independent films, budgets find many limitations, from one and done shots to loosey-goosey script moments. The ruthless business of a slasher subgenre, allows little time to get know anyone, most of the cast disposable, giving the killer the attention and bigger the cast, the larger and faster a body count occurs, all for the enjoyment of splatterpunks in the audience. While macabre and bloody, many likely to recognize many rehash elements from other slashers, which might ruin and at least bring a grin for the fondness of those other projects.
Of course, curses never end, that’s horror lesson 101, there’s not a fan out there who doesn’t’ know that, when one hears about a curse, all the bells and whistles go off at once, the ultimate warning. The ending is one of tragedy, teasing a sequel, (still waiting 8-years later) some strange elements occur in the movie, but at least gore and gratuitous nudity present for some enjoyment, but otherwise the storyline of slasher doesn’t truly live up to the DVD box art.
This review originally published on Rogue Cinema’s website in June 2017 with 1,464 views.
IMDb Rating: 4.8/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10