Director Henry Jacobson directs his first feature film, and his first venture into the horror genre, using a script from Ayra Fox-Lerndr and Will Honley (The Hive )), however makes it all very reminiscent of a long lost Italian giallo movie, as it contains an interesting series of cool blues and vibrant reds, and then at other times appears more as a thriller than horror, but deploys a tinge of slasher stylization. Three production companies worked on this production, the reason to mention two are significant the first a rising independent company called Divide/Conquer who is working on another remake of the 1974 Black Christmas flick and then the well-known Blumhouse Production, doing a rarity of non-commercial movie.
Seann William Scott, who may know of from American Pie (a movie I never saw, but recall him from Final Destination )) plays a high school counselor/social worker, Evan Cole, spends his days talking to at risk victims of violence within their own families resonates with him due to his own troubled upbringing. Something causes him to break mentally, what it is stays buried within his own psyche, perhaps the stress of becoming a new father to his son Andrew. Or it could be that he’s worried that he’ll repeat the sins cast upon him or even influenced by society’s so-call rules on childbearing. Evan’s evening hobby starts to overtake his daily working routines as a serial killer removing sinister people that effects those he interacts whether that be his mother, wife, or the children he talks with at school; whichever the situation he’s modified himself a vigilante. Evan’s mother, Marie (played by Dale Dickey (Trailer Park of Terror )) throws a unique wrench onto the dynamic of Evan and his wife, Lauren, who seems to be experiencing postpartum depression. She constantly feels paranoia from her mother-in-law, tormented about her abilities and the distancing of Evan’s random nightly drives, have affected her core of motherhood, all of this piling more into a psychological thriller than sheer horror. His ruthless, and quite obvious connection to the murders acquires the interest from police Detective Overstreet (Kevin Carroll (Velvet Buzzsaw )) who believes he knows who the killer is, but lacks the firm proof. There’s an exquisite T&A scene that opens the film, of nurse Carrie (Christie Herring), who had a rough encounter with Andrew, shown in a locker room stripping off her scrubs and showers before being murdered, this scene is replayed again later in the film to reveal another wrinkle in the storyline. Once the twist shows the essence of the killer, one can possibly extrapolate that this nurse lacks the motherly instincts and doesn’t care for the child rather her barren body of sexuality and career orientated, then again in horror always customary to have some sort of T&A and sadly that is normally borderline sexist showing only the female body.
Many critics and viewers of the film comment their problem with the movie, is Scott, because he’s often been a likable character in many films, this is something other actors have in their characters, take for example Robin Williams, often doing comedic roles, before settling for dramatic roles. A few of his strangest and most distant roles were in Insomnia (2002) with Al Pacino and then One Hour Photo (2002), it was hard for those who found him funny now becoming a serious actor. Scott likely looked at his career and knew it’s time for a change, and this role will lead to a different selection of auditions scripts presented to him. However, the issue with this movie comes in the form of a convoluted script that outsmarts itself, while adhering to the characters and story of Dexter, it never truly explores more about Evan’s character, with a psychological script the whys never explaining. The cursory glance of his life and family inferring with his killing rationale is always in direct conflict, and his connection to them too easily dismissed.
Jacobson is fortunate enough to have Isaac Bauman’s cinematography, those who have seen the series Channel Zero, realize his keen eye for sharp contrasts in horror, and this with Trevor Gureckis’ synth-heavy score, that clearly takes inspiration from John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981). The final act seems to increase the pace, this is a common pitfall, the jitterily attitude that to summarize all the loose ends, missing more depth of Evan and the bond between he and his mother. As blood-loss, there’s plenty and it’s all medically factual with bright red richness, a bold statement to show the rage and violence without cutting-away.
The overall production reminds me of The Clovehitch Killer (2018) meets Norman Bates from Psycho (1960), one understands early on , about the surface of our killer, and then the muddled reasoning for the killing, though enjoyable it’s found stumbling to pitfalls only to fast talk to escape the doom. As for killing method, its basic a knife and impaling, and slashing, nothing overly fancy, rather brutal violence and chilling effects of a relentless individual.
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
Baron’s Rating: 7.0/10