A young woman wakes up in the dark. She's in a casket. She manages to
break free, but finds herself trapped in the cold prep room of a funeral
parlor, surrounded by caskets and bodies. She can't seem to remember who
she is, or why she is there, but she knows two things. First, she has a
really bad headache. Second, she really doesn't like the looks of the guy
on the other side of the glass-windowed door. Nor do we. He's dressed all
in black except for a gleaming metallic mask, and he wears a small video
recorder on his shoulder, as a pirate would wear a parrot.
She manages to escape from that building, only to realize that she's
out in the middle of nowhere, in some rural area of the South, and it's
the middle of the night. She receives an unlikely windfall of luck - a
lone car happens along the deserted road. She flags it down and catches a
break - the driver is a kindly old fella who takes her to his own house.
Only one problem. Mr. Mask can track her, and he really, really wants
her back. Those who try to prevent that from happening are likely to find
themselves in a world of hurt.
If you read my reviews regularly, you know that I'm no fan of the kind
of film where people get body parts removed by giant saw-tooth knives.
This is such a film, and a rather explicit one at that, yet I got involved
in it. Why? A few reasons:
1. The plotting and direction are effective and reasonably original.
The opening paragraphs of this essay should show you that the film is not
just another copycat slasher film, but has some style and imagination, and
includes some extra layers of mystery. It's more like a Twilight Zone
episode with ultragore.
2. The bad guy is human and vulnerable to counter-attack. Let's face,
when kids are doing battle with Jason or Freddie Kruger, there's little
chance for them. It's not a matter of whether they will die, but when, and
how, and how many. This film is different. The killer is a psychotic fiend
who commits some truly depraved acts, but he can be hurt by the normal
means: a hard shove; a kick in the nuts; a bullet. With the right tools he
can be defeated. That fact alone confers some dramatic tension which would
not be not present if the baddie were the typical immortal figure. It's
possible that some or all of the main characters will make it through the
3. The characters are real and interesting. The three main would-be
victims are not the usual collection of snotty teens, but a tough old guy
who walks with a cane, a feisty hooker, and a computer nerd whose mom just
Oddity: The beautiful veteran English actress Lena Headey, who played
the Spartan queen in 300, and was acclaimed for her performance in
Aberdeen, appears in this film. She has a tiny part, and she plays an
American with a heavy Southern-fried drawl. No problem with that. She's
good in the part, but what the hell was she doing playing a Southern belle
in a virtual cameo in a zero-budget STV movie? There must be a good story
there, but I don't know it.