Director: John Asher
Cast: Mike Erwin, Aaron Paul, Scoot McNairy, Cameron Richardson
Plot: Four friends are forced into a junkyard in the middle of the night, only to be stalked by a killer who begins picking them off one by one.
I had a movie night with a couple of friends once and we sent one of my best mates to Blockbuster to rent a DVD. He came back with this and after spending 90 minutes on it, he was not a popular person. In fairness, I could see why he was duped, because it seems half of this film’s budget and effort went into making a pretty awesome DVD cover.
I don’t really want to lay the story out, because it is confusing and too over-powering to make the film work. Essentially, two couples (how original!) end up in junkyard at night and then the lead’s wife to be gets kidnapped. Scared but determined to get her back, the other three risk the wrath of a local serial killer, in order to get her back. The rest of the movie turns into a cat and mouse game, as we try to figure out who is going to get butchered off next. In fairness, if the plot kept to that simple premise, I might have enjoyed this film a lot more. But, because the director doesn’t seem to understand pace or tension, he piles on some more stuff, until the film gets bloated. Every time they find a lost friend, another one goes missing. When the film gets bored with its four characters, it writes in a load more to try and keep up with (only one brings anything to the plot and that is some comic relief from Scoot McNairy, which I hated, but other critics claim it is the film’s saving grace). The film gets too focused on story, rather than characters or horror. While the characters are hardly worth spending time with, I felt that if the director slowed things down and spent time trying to make us actually scared of this masked killer, the movie might have felt more worthwhile nearer the end. Alas, it was not to be.
While we are on the subject, the killer makes no sense whatsoever. There seems to be no explanation for why this guy kills certain characters and then kidnaps others. When Cameron Richardson is captured, we assume he has taken a fancy to the female, but then he captures Aaron Paul (seriously, Jesse, you can do a lot better than this!), and murders the other female character, a cop that is the most painfully obvious ‘stripper given police uniform that can’t act to save her life’ cliché I have seen in a movie to date. The film vaguely tries to go for the insanity explanation, but we can all tell that the writers are just trying to be creepy. It also gets a little awkward, when the killer gets outnumbered. Junkyards aren’t all that big, when you have a group of teenagers and a few police officers at hand, but for some reason, thanks to the characters constantly making terrible decisions, the killer is allowed to freely pick them off one by one. It isn’t even laughably bad, because someone genuinely though they were making a terrific horror thriller here. There is no understanding of how to write a horror, and for someone who would kill to have a film budget and Aaron Paul in his horror, this becomes an unforgiveable, sloppy mess.
Oh, there is a twist near the end, as the movie finally gives up and realises that the only reason we are still watching is to try and figure out who the killer is. The script awkwardly throws us from red herring to red herring, until it finally settles on someone. However, we have come to expect absolutely no sense from the story, so we let the answer land on a random character, watch them awkwardly try to explain it with some flashbacks and then go away to watch a real movie.
Final Verdict: I simply don’t understand how someone can make so many mistakes in a horror movie. I have seen all these flaws before, but never in the same place. An abomination of a movie.