The company BrinkVision, who represents for the most part the respectful the independent genre of the cinema, especially with their presentation of unique and twisted experiences of the latest released from director Sophia Cacciola (Clickbait ) and Michael J. Epstein (Blood of the Tribades ) who bring forth a low budget insane trip into the horror market and skating on the art-house design. The directors worked with writer Jade Sylvan and Sarah Wait Zaranek, which sometimes brings confusion to a screenplay, especially in the low end of horror, however the talent troupe put aside the egos and focused on exploration of clichés and stereotypical behaviors.
Ten tends to find itself hard to categorize and even harder to review for those unfamiliar with it or unseen by the general audience, though also brings a great aspect to try to weave the story with revealing the spoilers or ending. The horror genre often develops patterns, interchangeable plots and characters, in a cookie cutter business, but this story brings changes and challenges which brings a refreshing course for a viewer. The plot involves ten women, who find themselves trapped in a vacant mansion on Spektor Island in December 1972, each brought by various reasons, at this point one feels a supernatural force many beyond the decisions, but a storm and missed ferry doom their existence. Now herein lies a twist, the characters represent the stereotypical weak traits found of actresses in horror films, with a renegade, religious fanatic, real-estate investor, medium, actress, model, folk singer, and so on, each varying wildly to the next, and reflecting numerous characters from cardboard cutouts of the horror genre. Noting that these characters are not representations of a specific character in a horror movie, though in hindsight that might have actually been a neat touch, no these characters run the gambit for the viewers, party girl to spewing good girl mentality and condemnation to the lesbian woman, and a money grabber backstabber versus a book smart genius. The sets present pig references everywhere, from statues, charms and likely one of the strangest and underappreciated songs in recent memory next to The Baby Shredder Song, a short film in this same vein. The film also needs to solve multiple murders of the guests and other goals too, that borrows a little from the movie Clue , and viewing Ten one will see the connections quickly, especially when it references the lack of motivational caring of deceased guests and secrets. This opens the household to a slasher mad person running amok in the confines of the location removing numerous piggies off the set, attempting to add suspense and challenges. Fret not the gore runs rampant, though the disgust does note, and for those seek a bit of excessive T&A, that equally finds a place in the movie, with humiliating verbal bullying that the scene feels a tad disjointed and yet the graceful beauty overwhelms the views,
Cacciola’s film comes from the standpoint that men are treated as men, when women are treated and placed in a category of sorts, this point while holds a foothold overwhelming in the 80s market and later horror films, the male roles have equally comparatives. For example, such roles exist to place men as the geek, nerd, stud, jock, and so on, for the stereotypical aspects are tremendously apparent for both genders, and not limited the horror genre. The acting feels a bit stiff and one wonders though it is implied as the film pokes insults at itself, with the audience laughing at the horrible dialogue and disjointed interactions of the cast, however it can only truly for a while not a constant feature film length. Although the feature presents a mixed bag of oddities and weirdness not seen since Coyote  starring Bill Oberst Jr. or Frankie in Blunderland , the writers seemed intent to present a slice of the women in horror cinema, though loses touch with the horror fans, with taking itself to extreme and overstepping the cunning too much. The role of women in the horror genre, have found a seat at the men’s table though, the barriers might still exist in some narrow minded views, the contributions are overwhelming, from many taking the reins of directors and producers. For example, Jessica Cameron, director of Truth or Dare  and Maria Olsen, who runs her own production, company MOnsterworks66, these two alone have contributed tremendously to the genre, and thorough embraced by fans worldwide. The entire gender while very true has had to work and continue to do so to showcase themselves, in fact often noted and mentioned Alma Hitchcock, often gave more to the editing, screenwriting development than the master of suspense Alfred, point that later clarify they equally shared in success and failures.
While the film brings a satirical look into the genre itself, testing a tense thriller aspect it feels a tad forced, while the opening credits and DVD cover presents an interest to the viewer the characters on paper present quirkiness but on screen a lack of direct understanding whether from the cast or crew leaves the audience confused at times. All the technical aspects find themselves working perfectly well, the cinematography spot on, the sound and lighting work equally well, but the pacing feels a bit sluggish for lasting and repeated viewings. One wonders if the bad acting feels as a tool used to show to the ineptness of the cast of women to the roles often presented to them in low end horror, either the over usage becomes a letdown.
In all horror movies, the villain, the killer regardless of who, from Carrie to Angela, they have a reason for the killing, and herein the motivation stays well too hidden for the one to care, however that does not stop the carnage; Ten, will not ever have that many survivors. A bizarre storyline, with leaning to be more art-house discussion film than achieving lasting standing the genre, but either way it is not a movie for everyone, and the fans that seek straight no-thinking gruesome horror, will find some disappoint herein, this film needs your total attention to convey an intelligent hidden plot.
This review was originally published in August 2015 on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website.
- No one is who they seem. Not even you.
IMDb Rating: 5.2/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10