Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films
Images from the Internet
Directed by Jason Matherne
Terror Optics / CFK Entertainment / Wild Eye Releasing / MVD Entertainment
94 minutes, 2017 / 2019
Going into this film, I could tell it was a bit on the schlocky side, sort of like the late ‘80s slasher VHS releases. Of course, that is more encouraging to me that turns me away. There was some fun bad stuff in those days.
For this film, after a cool kill for the present-day prologue, we are introduced to photographer and evidently silk screen freelancer Art (Hunter McGregor); photographer = Art, so you see they’re not scratching deep here. He’s taking pictures along the coastline of New Orleans, where the story takes place, when he’s hired by his pal Tee (Steve Waltz) – get it, Tee works in a silk screen shop? – to fill in for a missing person (that opening segment).
Apparently, the silk screening business is quite cutthroat and it’s becoming a reality… okay, I confess, this joke is used in the film, but it works for this descriptor, so there you go. There are a lot of inside comments abounding in the shop, with tees and posters that revel in Wild Eye Releasing, the Cockface Killer (a franchise created by the director, and shows you the comedy level to which we are aspiring), and the Pallbearers, a band with whom the film’s writer is involved. There’s also those music and film festivals that come up often.
Now, I’ll be honest with you (as I always am), I did not go into this expecting much beyond Middle School humor, and found I was both right and wrong. Some of it is just plain stupid, such has someone angrily stating, “The next thing out of your mouth better be your tongue,” but then again I laughed really hard at a spoiled brat of a character screaming as he’s looking into his fridge (played by cameo king and the first person to play young Voorhees, Ari Lehman, who plays in the real band The First Jason), “The maid forgot my fucking chia seeds!”
|Bill Heintz and Jason Matherne|
However, my favorite piece of dialogue is as follows:
Cop: “Are you pleading the Fifth!?”
Shop owner 1: “No, I’m pretty sure it’s the Fifteenth.”
Shop owner 2: “Yeah, payroll was today.”
Let’s get to those two owners for a sec. The first is bearded Mark (Bill Heintz, who wrote the film) and then there is Reggie (Jason Matherne, who directed the whole shebang). Mostly, they interact with each other (a lot) throughout the film, and are not afraid to let themselves be complete asswipes as characters. They are not the greatest of actors, but the camaraderie they share makes up for that.
For a small film, there are a lot of characters in the story, either working at the shop or are buyers. Nearly all of them are unlikeable, including our two heroes Art and Tee, but with a large cast of weird and shady characters, the filmmakers wisely see that as a large number of kills, which is what the viewer is actually there for anyway, right? And even beyond the main and secondary people, there are a couple of unintended kills from a dropped assault rifle that actually is quite funny; though seriously, has no one heard of a safety? I’m going to assume that the writer was making a commentary on how most people who have guns have no idea how to use them properly, and move on.
So, while I’m enjoying the zeitgeist of the production, here is the problem I am also having, going back to that Middle School thing. The gender normative level of this is astronomical. The guys are nearly all macho doofuses, and the women are either “dumb,” sexy enough “to make your penis pregnant” (yes, that’s a real piece of dialogue), or bitches. The one character I liked was one of the latter, Lace (Lisa Mackel Smith), who plays a strong woman trying to get business done. Of course, by the end, they must denigrate her somewhat, but I stand by what I say (and no, I am not into her lifestyles).
The men are constantly ogling the females and the women just brush it off. In the era of #metoo, this does not sit well. I’ve been in workplaces like that, but not since the ‘80s when it was deemed annoying but begrudgingly acceptable. I’m glad it is not any longer. This remains a common motif in low budget filmmaking, especially those in the slasher genre.
But getting beyond that and some of the other issues, there are some nice touches here that are worth mentioning. For example, there is a scene where the police are looking over a list suspects and our intrepid wannabe detectives Art and Tee are doing the same. They cut back and forth between them showing how sometimes one group is right and the other isn’t, and vice versa. It’s a clever device that works really well and had me smiling. These are the gem moments.
Another nice touch is that the story does well in keeping the killer hidden (at least from me). I made my guesses and was twice taken by surprise. That was great. Also, the blood and gore are well done, and there is a lot of it. There’s also some decent nudity, but not surprisingly, only female.
The extras are kind of sparse. There is the film’s trailer and a few others from Wild Eye Releasing, and an 11-minute “Making Of” which is mostly fun and worth the watch, even though it drags a bit here and there.
Overall, this is a hunka-hunka burnin’ cheese, but in the right frame of mind, if you’re not spoiled by the likes of what’s on the big screen, this can be a fun way to spend an afternoon in the basement with the buds.