Directed by: Stevan Mena
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Michael Biehn, John Savage and Spencer List
Running time: 107 minutes, Rated R, Available on Blu-ray
In 1989, a 6 year old named Martin is lured away from his swing-set by a strange man. He is forced to witness the brutal murders of young women and sometimes participate in their vicious demise. Five years later, a teenage girl moves to town to live with her uncle’s family after the death of her parents. She discovers the boy living at the slaughterhouse down the road and attempts to rescue him from his insane mentor.
Martin apparently has a disorder where he doesn’t feel pain. Straight off the bat, the insane guy Sutter (Brett Rickaby) slices Martin’s face and the kid has no reaction at all. This makes the audience believe the kid just went numb or is in some state of being catatonic from fear. He dreams of the demonic cow skull master that Sutter rants and raves to when a new victim has been sacrificed.
Allison (Daddario) is fresh off the bus from Chicago where both her parents just died. She goes to live with her uncle Jonathan (Biehn) who lives down the road from the slaughterhouse in the middle of rural Pennsylvania. She meets a neighbor boy who is in a dark place of his own after the death of his mother, and having to take care of his drunken paraplegic father (Savage). Allison used to be a runner, and on her solitary runs, she notices Martin standing behind a broken window of the slaughterhouse. She goes to investigate, only to find the horrific torture scene set up for the next victim. Lucky for Sutter, he doesn’t have to leave his home to find one.
I’m not going to sugar coat it; I didn’t like this film. It was dry, the dialogue was boring and flat, and there was never any high moment to the plot and I didn’t care for any of the characters. Here’s the plot: bloody murder, some inane dialogue, bloody murder, Alexandra Daddario’s nipples through a wife-beater, bloody murder, more bloody murder and lackluster denouement; it was a continuous downward spiral. I especially couldn’t get over the female victims being so annoyingly cliche-stupid, you really want them to hurry up and die. However, I felt the main cast was great. There was a bit of an homage feel for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which made me appreciate and respect the cinematography.
The special features include writer/director Stevan Mena’s commentary, a behind the scenes segment, a Making Of segment, several deleted scenes (a few of which I felt might’ve made the movie better), a still montage, trailer and the screenplay (accessible through DVD-ROM).
If you’re a slasher movie fan, you’ll like this film a lot. If you like dark and depressing horror films, this one is definitely for you. Like I said before, the acting is great and the cinematography is palatable. After viewing the film I felt kind of disappointed, although it’s not essentially a bad film. I’m a bit conflicted; I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it.
Total Rating: C
Reviewed by: JM Willis