Director David Rountree with the assistance of screenwriter of David Banks present a smart slasher horror flick to the masses once more, in fact this team used many traits and inspiration of thick layered conceptual plots of the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, thereby creating not a mindless slashing flick rather a thought provoking concept. This film, like others, such as Girl House (2014), shows the slow and methodically steps to resuscitate the 1980s classic subgenre, which featured weekly massacring videos, directed with various degrees of T&A and splatter galore effects, hence turning the horror fans into raving junkies seeking their next fix, but the modern age seeks smarter victims and Ted Bundy killers.
The movie begins with blurring of images almost simulating the awakening from a dream, the sequence of scenes feels jumbled to the viewer, yet this masks a large film concept and masterfully done, to allow the narration and story direction to advance subtly in the background before shocking the audience. As one tries to comprehend the pieces they get statistical data pushed at them, concerning the serial killers at large in the nation, a scary trend quickly showing one’s own pecking order in society and identify if they’re prey or a predator. The team of director and writer also serves very well as the lead actors in this production Rountree as Travis and Banks as Lane, provide solid roles, and truly fit into the characters very naturally never forced, a special treat for the viewers luring them in deeper. Lane Hayes perceived as a man lost in thoughts, but expresses no true emotions, masking them, but sooner learning his criminal background and harden self to survive. Meanwhile Travis, a thinking and plodding gentleman with reason to stay calm, a checklist mentality, and laments about the directors of today’s market passing judgment on them and the cast. Travis and Lane brainstorm to create a very real story of murder, mayhem and massacres, wanting to scare the audience to shocking terror film screams. Lane chooses the victims and from here, the ride of the movie rides briskly onwards, yet it all feels more of a thriller than a horror movie. The overall production contains slickness to it, with discussion of backroom deals, camera angles, shadow casting, and sound all giving way to more cunning behaviors of the two filmmakers, creating multiple red herrings and false leads, always approach the genre in new mannerisms. Nevertheless, the cast truly contributes in fascinating ways, starting with Sam Scarber, stars a mysterious homeless man, who doesn’t mind getting his hands getting dirty, and then Dahilia Salem as Chloe Jo, and Gabrielle Stone from the fame Zombie Killers starring as Gabby, each brings their a-game to the movie and confusing the audience for majority of the movie. In addition, two incredible standout actors especially in the horror realm, first William McNamara lending his crafty kills most notable to the horror viewers for his work in Dario Argento’s Opera (1987) and then the famous Suzi Lanier-Bramlett her legendary performance The Hills Have Eyes (1977) grace this film.
This independent feature offers much to have it sought out by thriller and horror fans alike, with psychological thrillers sometimes trying to outsmart everyone, this does it with wonderful panache, all projecting a solid movie. Another great aspect is the inclusion of the camera as a character, not merely a gimmick and brings a bit reminiscent of the classic cinema from the movie Peeping Tom (1960). Rountree brings a flawless film to all viewers, with a great soundtrack and steady audio, the entire technical aspects of his movie, and the special effects highlights the very real situations, show sleight of hand and generating a tense ride with real suggestions of snuffing the characters. If one sought to find the defect in the movie, the pacing a slight trimming of a few of the scenes, however that becomes more of nitpicking, and in fact really becomes absurd into the film, and disregard the running time, keeping the audience attention always a key competent in generating business and attention for a movie.
Thrillers find themselves in a difficult venue, battle the careful line of mystery and horror genres, the latter seeking more gruesome and while it delivers that component in a deep dark disguised twisted tale. From a well written script and leaves an impressable tense plaguing film for the audience to recall fondly and leaves the door open for a part two and one hopes occurs with just a slightly better budget, which stretched itself with the final twists making one forget that very quickly and resolving the plot cleanly, never rushed.
This review was originally published in July 2015 on Rogue Cinema’s website and accumulated a view count of 1,735.
- What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
- Taking lives, one scene at a time.
IMDb Rating: 4.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10