This is a case where the story behind the film is more interesting
than the film itself. First question: "Why the multiple dates?" This
variation on the teen slasher genre was first screened at Toronto in
2006, where it was bought by the Weinsteins, who had fairly big plans
for it. Shit happens. Those plans changed and the Weinsteins re-sold
the film to Senator Entertainment. Except for some tiny theatrical
runs in Europe, Senator has basically just been sitting on the film
since they acquired it, and it now appears to be headed to DVD without
a theatrical release in North America.
Maybe. Assuming it ever gets to DVD in the USA.
A DVD release was supposed to happen in October of 2007, but that
was postponed, and there is now no definite date available, so this
flick just seems to be in limbo in every North American respect. (It
is available in Region 2 on DVD and Blu-Ray from
The film itself is sort of a hybrid between a teen angst film and a
conventional slasher pic. Mandy Lane is the pure girl who suddenly
becomes gorgeous one summer in high school, thus making her enticing
to all the cool guys. She resists at first and stays loyal to the
geeky boy who has been her best friend since childhood, but she seems
to change when a bizarre accident results in the death of an obnoxious
jock who seems to have been goaded into a suicidal leap by her dorky
best friend. After that incident, Mandy gravitates to the cool crowd
and dumps the nerd.
... at which time the prologue ends and the real story begins.
Mandy agrees to go off to an isolated ranch with three sleazy guys
and two slutty girls. Nobody else is on the property except a
mysterious caretaker who is supposed to have some mental problems
resulting from his service in the Gulf War. As the first night
progresses, the cool kids start dying one by one.
You should already have figured out the basic solution to the
mystery, even though I've only described the first ten minutes of the
film. Obviously, the ranch hand is a red herring. He has no motivation
to kill anyone, so the killer must be someone else. There are two
questions you should ask at this point:
1) Why did the script bother to show the prologue, which introduced
and dropped the character of the nerdy boyfriend? Wouldn't the film
have worked exactly the same if they started with the trip to the
ranch. If not, why not?
2) Why would sweet, virginal Mandy agree to go on a drunken road
orgy with three sleazebags who obviously wanted her there only to
mount an assault on the fortress between her legs?
To each question there is only one possible reasonable answer to
the question, and those answers supply the film's "surprise"
Despite the telegraphed solution, the film does rise above the teen
slasher genre for three reasons:
The interaction between the teens makes it a fairly interesting
teen drama before the actual slashing begins. The character
development is not especially deep, but the script does pay some
attention to it and makes an effort to make it realistic, which allows
the film to reach a wider audience than just slasher aficionados.
The style of the film, including a grainy kind of look, harkens
back to the genre classics. If you did not recognize any of these
actors and a friend told you this movie was made in the seventies, I
doubt that you would question him. I'm not sure when the story is
supposed to take place, but the characters conveniently lack the cell
phones which would have saved their lives, so that element adds to the
seventies vibe. Since every human being on the planet now has a cell
phone, I guess we are to assume that the story took place some time in
Although the film goes through the normal motions of a slasher film
until about five minutes before the end, there are then several kinda
sorta unexpected plot twists, some of which are more unexpected than
others. The last five minutes of the film are genuinely nutty, with a
bizarre showdown between the main characters and various plot elements
so improbable as to verge on satire. Notice that I'm listing that as a
positive. Your mileage may vary, but I like the over-the-top finale,
which injects a little craziness into a film which had earlier seemed
more like a soap opera than a slasher film. All sense of logic
disappears in a couple of the film's worst moments, and two of the
plot twists are completely predictable, given the questions I asked
above, but the ending does offer some surprises and a couple of
original, unusual set pieces.
All in all, not a bad little film. Is it good enough to have been
released theatrically? Well, it seems more like a STV film to me, but
there have been many worse films to receive theatrical releases in the
past two years, so this might have made for a decent addition to the
usual Halloween line-up.