Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on July 18th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, January 29th 2010
Director: Joey Stewart
Writer: Jason Kabolati
Cast: Marc Donato, Jascha Washington, Whitney Hoy, Justin Arnold, Travis Tedford, Julin, Lindsay Seidel, Mark Nutter.
DVD released: August 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Chelsea Cinema
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
High school jock Bradley (Justin Arnold) and his meathead buddies make life a misery for Dane (Marc Donato) and his nerdy pals. They are humiliated, beat up, verbally abused and laughed at every day of the school year. The girls are just as bad with superbitch Heather (Julin) and her cohorts driving Emily (Lindsay Seidel) to despair and thoughts of suicide. But when Dane’s uncle dies leaving him a remote farm in his will the victims decide to turn the tables on their abusers. A must-attend fancy dress party is thrown and all the most popular kids are invited but this may just be the last party they ever attend………..
A low budget can often lead to tedious and well worn stereotypes being thrust at us, especially in the horror genre, but occasionally originality and novel ideas seep through the indie veil and this little Texas based tale of teen terror does a bit of a balancing act offering a little of both. The first third of the film does a good job of introducing us to the nerds and the jocks, all a bit stereotypical sure but fun to watch nonetheless. Justin Arnold in particular is superbly punchworthy as the ace quarterback scumbag that has a tendency to smack the nerds upside the head at every opportunity. The trio of cheerleader superbitches on the other hand come across as sheer parody. One of the most effective elements in the setting up of Dane and the other damaged characters was the decision not to show any of the ‘responsible adult’s’ faces; teachers, parents are just voices or a pair of legs, not really connecting with the teenagers thus creating a sense of isolation. A subtle little trick used to great effect here. Unfortunately, after a clumsy attempt to spell out that FATE plays a key role in everything, by the time we get to the party and the kids are manacled to the floor and preached to by the nerds in ‘scary masks’ we’re pretty much back in well known horror/torture territory, with homages to quite a few movies you’ve probably already seen if this is your kind of thing. And fun as it is to watch the bullies get their comeuppance the film does begin to drag somewhat with a very po-faced miserablist attitude pervading – it all becomes very serious, preachy and stagey in the end which is a shame. But then given it’s subject matter (ie high school shootings) the writer and director probably think they are making some kind of profound statement here, very ill-judged methinks, especially marketing the film as ‘Saw & Hostel meet Columbine’ sheesh! Oh and what the hell was with the too good to be true token black kid that seemed to be inhabiting an almost completely different film; star of a TV commercial, loves everyone and gets kidnapped by a Vietnam vet – what a guy!
No doubt this one will be most embraced by the bullied teenager in your soul. To everyone else it will be overlooked or quickly forgotten. That said it’s a surprisingly entertaining Z-movie revenge flick, I’d say give it a rental.
2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is very dark indeed, distractingly so in fact – besides that however it’s a good picture, details are sharp and colors are vivid. 5.1 audio is excellent, clean and clear, as is the stereo track. The score is evenly balanced with the dialogue and ambient soundtrack.
The only extra provided on this screener was a commentary track featuring the director Joey Stewart and the writer Jason Kabolati – an interesting talk track in which the pair discuss the intricacies of low budget filmmaking and setting up a production company in Dallas, filming locally, casting the actors, etc. It’s a candid and informative track, well worth a listen if you enjoyed the film.