“FOR TWO YOUNG WOMEN, AN ISLAND PARADISE IS ABOUT TO BECOME…A NIGHTMARE OF TERROR!”
Category: Retro, Slasher
Directed by: Justin Russell
Written by: Justin Russell
Starring: Lisa Krenisky, Jenna Fournier, E. Ray Goodwin, Beverly Kristy, James Emmet Lenahan
Music: Justin Russel, Gremlin
Cinematography: Justin Russell
As I said in my review of Dear God No!, retro styled horror films are making a comeback. Maybe these low budget filmmakers are sick of all the remakes and PG13 horror flicks and want to bring us back to a simpler, happier, and bloodier era of filmmaking. I love late 70’s-mid 80’s movies the best, if I ever get around to turning one of my half-written slasher scripts into a feature they’ll definitely be in that vein! So I get excited when I see newer directors going the old school route, and Justin Russell succeeds in making a pretty honest homage. Unlike Dear God No! and the Grindhouse family of films this isn’t an over the top caricature, he tries to make a serious movie with a good ol’ grindhouse tone.
The premise is two young female friends, Liz (Lisa Krenisky) and Taylor (Jenna Fournier), head out to Liz’s father’s summer home on an island (well, peninsula) for a little time away from the city. Unfortunately for them the locals are more interested in rape and murder than showing tourists lovely places to go site seeing. They also enjoy wearing weird animal masks, maybe they attend Furry Parties on the weekends to get some serious yiffing done. Liz’s dad (E. Ray Goodwin) comes a bigger part of the picture later on to make a really lame rescue attempt.
The acting is really the biggest downfall for this movie, the script ain’t great either. Liz’s character started to drive me mad after awhile from the all the screaming and being a giant pussy. Yeah I know it’s a horror movie, women screaming is a trademark in almost every slasher, but for some reason she started to really bug me, spending most of the movie screaming “Help Mee!!!”. Shut up and help yourself! Half the time she’s screaming for help she’s alone in her car or in her attacker’s clutches, who the fuck are you yelling for?! I initially hoped she was so feeble and annoying because we’d get some character developement and she’d transform into a boss, like any Final Girl should. I got a glimmer of hope when she kills one her attackers in a brutal fashion screaming a war cry. She then immediately drops her only weapon and goes back to being a crying mess. From that point on I was hoping for the crazy locals to disembowel her and promptly shove in guts down her throat to shut her up. I couldn’t tell if the killers were just trying to fuck with the girls like a cat does when it finds a bug, catching and releasing them repeatedly, or if they were just really bad at holding two small girls captive. Maybe they need a slasher lesson from Leslie Vernon.
Other than the acting, this movie rules! It looks like it’s straight out of the late 70’s. The cinematography is fantastic, the whole look and tone of the film is gritty as hell. There are some really great looking dream sequences. There isn’t a ton of gore, but the blood that gets spilled is sure to appease any goregeeks’s appetite. My hand’s down favorite part of the movie is the soundtrack. Between Justin Russell and a composer called Gremlin (couldn’t find any info on them unfortunately) they totally nail that classic, synth-laden slasher aesthetic. It sounds like a mix of Goblin and John Carpenter. If I make a movie like I’ve mentioned, they’re definitely getting hired for the music! These guys were working on a micro budget, a total indie production. If you watch the credits (there’s a lovely little post-credits easter egg), you’ll noticed that the same four or five people multi-task on about every crew role out there.
This movie really got that classic grindhouse feel down, I can’t get over how good it looks! It’s fantastic if you’re a hardcore slasher fan like me. If you can deal with the sub par acting and Krenisky’s nonstop screaming, then check it out.