I was actually a trifle speechless when the end credits rolled on this one. I mean, based on the previous After Dark Horrorfest entries, I expected the same hot, wet garbage juice as, say, Nightmare Man. And on another note, what's up with the advertsing of this year's already-passed festival? Back in February I went to get the dates and found the fest had already come and gone! Anyway, why was I speechless after watching Perkins' 14? Because it was simply a decent horror film; it was actually pretty good.
Okay, here it is: I am partial to Maine locale whether in books or in movies. Perhaps this is the sole reason I thoroughly enjoyed The Uninvited (US remake of A Tale of Two Sisters). Maine, for me, conjures up all of the great characters, plots, and atmospheres delivered by Stephen King in the 35 novels and 42 short stories I've read to date. Plus, Maine is just a darn great place to be! Though this movie didn't fixate on the typical lakeside cottages and rocky coastline, or lobster roll loving locals. Conversely, it delivered its punch mostly between a graveyard and a jail.
I'll be honest up front and admit that while the film is not necessarily horrifying, it effectively executes a dark, dismal atmosphere with its main plot (a troubled psychopath has abducted children and turned them into über zombies) and its subplots (a cop struggling with the abduction of his son; the cop's unfaithful wife due to an unfulfillment of needs; the cop's daughter hanging out with stoners in a graveyard and considering losing her virginity to the lamest male character I've seen in a long time). Everything about the movie shares a common theme: fear and regret.
And there was a good amount of gore! I was a little put off by the first few bloody scenes, as they seemed toned down, but as the film rolled on I realized that they were saving the good stuff for later--I've always hated movies that shove the goriest parts in your face at the beginning. It's not exactly on par with 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later, but the movie has its own small-town charm, and a deeper story than a science lab disaster. My only complaint with Perkins' 14 is the lame (Goth?) guitarist/boyfriend.
It seems to me that this year's entries could just be a turn in the right direction; that direction being the horror genre. This flick even has a great ending, even if it gets a bit predictable in the midst of the massacre. I'm looking forward to my next ADH movie, Voices, which should arrive from Netflix today.
Greeley Estates - "Desperate Times Call For Desperate Housewives"
The Dillinger Escape Plan - "Sunshine The Werewolf"
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