Tenebre (1982)

Directed by Dario Argento [Other horror films: L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970), Il gatto a nove code (1971), 4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971), Profondo rosso (1975), Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980), Phenomena (1985), Opera (1987), Due occhi diabolici (1990, segment ‘The Black Cat’), Trauma (1993), La sindrome di Stendhal (1996), Il fantasma dell’opera (1998), Non ho sonno (2001), Il cartaio (2003), Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005), La terza madre (2007), Giallo (2009), Dracula 3D (2012), Occhiali neri (2022)]

Dario Argento is a director that I’ve long appreciated, and while Tenebre isn’t the most famous work of his I’ve not seen up to this point (Phenomena is still a film I’ve not taken the time to witness yet), it is one of his bigger ones. Finally seeing it, I enjoyed quite a bit about it, but I also don’t think it’s quite up there with the big boys.

And by “big boys,” I primarily mean Deep Red, which is not only my favorite Argento movie, but among one of the 24 or so horror films I rate a 10/10. Tenebre isn’t that good – I feel the ending, while pretty solid, could have done with a bit more explanation, and I’d have liked to see a bit more information given on some of the characters – but it’s still a perfectly solid film.

I’ll say this much – I never guessed the killer. That took me completely by surprise. Maybe it shouldn’t have, but the fact that I can watch gialli and still be taken for a ride just shows how much I love this subgenre of horror, and Tenebre is a good giallo.

Anthony Franciosa (Curse of the Black Widow, Death House, and Julie Darling) isn’t a name I recognize, but he played a pretty strong lead, bolstered by quality performances from Giuliano Gemma and Daria Nicolodi (Phenomena, Le foto di Gioia, Schock, Paganini Horror). I was expecting a bit more from Christian Borromeo’s (La casa sperduta nel parco and Estigma) character, and Veronica Lario’s character didn’t quite connect to me, but whateves. Other good performances include John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Black Christmas, etc.), Carola Stagnaro (Minaccia d’amore), Mirella D’Angelo (Maya), and Lara Wendel (Killing Birds: Raptors, I frati rossi, La casa 3).

Of course, the kills here were pretty good. Someone’s arm got chopped off, which caused quite the blood spray, which I found amusing at the time. Murders by straight razor and ax were the flavors of the day, and even attacks by terrifying dogs. Perhaps one of my favorites deaths, though, is one done in a public square – a quick stab to the gut. Reminded me of a kill in The Case of the Bloody Iris, and if something reminded me of that one, then that’s a point to the film’s favor.

Even so, as good as the kills were, as fun as the mystery was, and as bitching as the soundtrack was (apparently recorded by three of the four members of the then-disbanded Goblin), I still felt like something more could have been tacked on. I especially was hoping for more from Lario’s character. Part of the reason I love Deep Red is that if you pay attention during the beginning, you get an important clue. Here, I don’t know if there’s anything comparable. I’m not saying the finale comes out of nowhere, but I can’t imagine too many accurately guessed the answer to this one, so in that way, it’s a bit of a let-down.

Tenebre is still a great movie. I don’t think it’s Argento’s best, but I did enjoy a lot about it, and during future viewings, I’m wondering if more will click into place. As for now, it’s definitely above average, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as many others may think.


Orlacs Hände (1924)

Directed by Robert Wiene [Other horror films: Furcht (1917), Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920), Genuine (1920)]

This silent Austrian classic, known as The Hands of Orlac, has been a film I’ve honestly been avoiding. It’s one of the few popular silent horror films I’ve not seen, but I got the feeling that I wouldn’t care for it, and believe it or not, I take no delight in writing negative reviews for films often considered classics.

Alas, we all have to face our demons, and so in that spirit, here I am writing a negative review.

Here’s the thing – if you want to see this same story, based off the French novel Les Mains d’Orlac written by Maurice Renard, then I’d highly recommend watching Mad Love, which is a fantastic film; not only does it have some legit creepy scenes, it also, of course, stars Peter Lorre.

Sure, the story is here too, no doubt. But at an hour and 52 minutes, this is far too slow-moving to really be that engaging. Things pick up okay at about an hour and 30 minutes in, but getting there is a challenge that I don’t want to compete in again.

Having seen a decent amount of silent horror films, overacting isn’t something that’s too uncommon. I’d argue that most of the time, though, I don’t even notice it. I did here, though – as much as I love Conrad Veidt (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, The Man Who Laughs, Das Wachsfigurenkabinett, and Unheimliche Geschichten), he just felt way too dramatic at times, and that goes double for Alexandra Sorina. It may have been intentional, but it just bothered me, For what it’s worth, Fritz Kortner (Schatten – Eine nächtliche Halluzination) did well in the end, but staying awake to see his performance may not be easy.

I can admit that perhaps I’m in the minority here. The movie feels so damn sluggish to me, but if most people see it as compelling, then so be it. I wish I felt the same, though, because as Mad Love later shows, this can be quite a decent story (especially during the blackmail sequence, which is okay here, but infinitely creepier in the 1935 classic).

All of this is to say that I avoided Orlacs Hände for a reason, and though I am happy to have seen it, if only to say that I’ve now watched most of the silent horror classics, this movie went about how I thought it would. It’s just way too slow and way too long, and that’s not a good combination.


Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned (2008)

Directed by Brian Thomson [Other horror films: N/A]

With a title like Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned, you’d hope the film would be more fun. Honestly, it’s not a terrible attempt with whatever budget they happened to possess, but the comedy here isn’t entirely to my taste, and I just found the film a bit rough and occasionally tedious.

The central story isn’t too bad, at least for a film of this caliber. And sure, there are some funny lines and a few okay scenes here and there. The credits can be pretty hilarious (I love the random “fuck you,” they give to George W. Bush for killing habeas corpus), and in fact might be the most consistently amusing thing about the film (“based on a true story. Not loosely, either; ask my brother-in-law”), because otherwise, this just felt too long-winded.

I did like Gregg Aaron Greenberg as the lead. Really, no other performances aside from maybe Joe Testa made any impression. Trina Analee got some funny lines, and Joseph Riker had his moments, but when it comes to the best performance, I’d have to give it to Greenberg.

The special effects weren’t bad (and that scene in which a character removes a splinter slowly was pretty gnarly), but so many of the scenes were dark and really limiting in what exactly you could see. Whether that was intentional or not, I don’t know, but it was pretty consistent throughout, and just added to the rough feel of the film.

Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned is a film I wish I liked a bit more, because I do think they tried as best they could. I just didn’t dig the story, and the comedy at times was a bit too goofy for me. I remember when I first saw this one, I felt pretty much the same, so though I do adore the title, and I think it was a decent attempt, it’s not personally a movie for me.


The Orphan (1979)

Directed by John Ballard [Other horror films: N/A]

Sometimes known as, and perhaps only known as, Friday the 13th: The Orphan, this low budget movie from the late 70’s has it’s place. I don’t quite know where that place is, but providing it exists, well, this movie belongs there. The Orphan isn’t a bad film – there are some strong emotional portions and nice use of flashbacks and nightmares – but it’s far more a dry drama than a straight horror, and it doesn’t pick up near enough toward the end to help things out.

As such, the basic story is sort of interesting. A young boy David (Mark Owens) loses his mother and father, and so his aunt on his mother’s side (Peggy Feury) comes to care for him. She’s a strict woman, and also likely quite racist. See, David’s father went to Africa a lot, and brought back plenty of little African things, along with an African friend named Akin (Afolabi Ajayi).

Well, over the course of the first hour of the film, his aunt refers to his father as “bringing him up around filthy things” (Akin was literally standing right there), gets rid of Akin, tries to raise David “properly” (not speaking out of turn, going to church, that tripe). When the cook Mary (Eleanor Stewart) tries to help David, she’s yelled at for not knowing her place, and she’s also fired. Oh, and for good measure, the aunt kills David’s dog (it might have been an accident, but it was also entirely inexcusable).

You might be able to tell that so much of the film is drama. It’s not disengaging, but it is drama, and while you could say that around an hour in, it’s properly built up to something, I don’t really think the finale is grand enough to excuse how long it took to get there.

For a younger actor, Mark Owens does okay. But let’s be honest brahs – very few people here do well. The only performance I actually liked was Afolabi Ajayi, and that’s because I thought his character was dope. Peggy Feury played an uptight and atrocious woman well, I guess, and Eleanor Stewart had her moments, but really, Ajayi is where it’s at.

When it got to more horror-centric stuff, The Orphan wasn’t bad. David had a nightmare in which he’s brought into a really horrible orphanage and has his tongue cut out. Quality. A woman is covered up with a blanket and stabbed, and another person is attacked by a monkey and shot with an elephant gun. All of this is to say when the film veered in that direction, it could be rather entertaining.

Also, I wanted to give kudos to one of the songs that pops up three times throughout the film, being ‘I Need to Live Alone Again’ by Janis Ian. I’m not the biggest Janis Ian fan (I only know a handful of her songs, such as ‘At Seventeen,’ ‘Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking),’ and ‘God & the FBI’), but she has a beautiful voice, and ‘I Need to Live Alone Again’ is a really peaceful song, perfect for a slow-moving drama as so much of The Orphan is.

I also want to add, though this has little relevance to anything, that I have seen The Orphan before, but under rather terrible circumstances. There was a video on YouTube of the film, but it was stuttering. It was like watching a flipbook moving quickly. Each image was still, and so movements were jerky. Truth be told, while I watched the whole thing, I got a terrible headache early on, and so remembered very little of it going into watching it this time around. It’s a good thing I didn’t remember, as it’s possible I would have waited longer to revisit this one.

And that might not be entirely fair, as The Orphan isn’t without it’s strong suits, but it really can be a dull film at times, and the finale isn’t near enough to make up for it. It’s worth seeing if you want to see a woman be racist and kill dogs (that was a harsh scene, on a side-note), but it’s not a film I could see myself watching again anytime soon.


O Segredo da Múmia (1982)

Directed by Ivan Cardoso [Other horror films: O Lago Maldito (1980), As Sete Vampiras (1986), Um Lobisomem na Amazônia (2005), A Marca do Terrir (2005), O Sarcófago Macabro (2005)]

Perhaps better known, though not by that much, as The Secret of the Mummy, O Segredo da Múmia is the only Brazilian horror film I’ve seen not directed by José Mojica Marins. To be sure, The Secret of the Mummy is more a comedy/horror mix, but even so, for that one fact alone, it stands out.

And it is a unique movie. It’s not exactly zany, but the comedy here can feel a bit goofy at times. Some of the movie is in black-and-white, and other sequences are in color, and what’s more, there doesn’t seem to be a thematic reason for switching between the two. Some of the plot is ill-explained (why is the mad scientist locking up half-naked women and turning them into werewolf-like things?), and so while I do think the film is different, I can’t say I’ve ever cared for it.

I have seen this once before, some years back. I remember thinking it was a bit wacky, but fundamentally okay. Truth be told, I may have been too generous – not that The Secret of the Mummy is bad, but it’s really not my type of movie, and I probably thought more of it just because I’ve not seen many horror movies from Brazil (the only ones I have save this one would be At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, Awakening of the Beast, and The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures).

Being a mummy movie, I will say I enjoyed seeing the mummy attack people. It didn’t happen near as frequently as I’d have liked but I did enjoy it when the mummy popped up. There’s not that many great mummy movies past the early 1970’s (Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb FTW), and this one certainly isn’t great, but at least there was a mummy, and his sequences were solid. Oh, and the mummy decapitated someone, so that was funny.

As far as performances go, I have to give some credit to Felipe Falcao, who played a servant named Igor. Falcao’s performance was a bit much at times, but he consistently reminded me of Anthony Carrigan from Gotham. I mean, he looked and acted almost exactly like him. It was uncanny. Otherwise, Wilson Grey was decent, but lacked character, and others, such as Evandro Mesquita, just didn’t get enough to work with.

I certainly wish I did enjoy this one more. It’d be cool to have some somewhat obscure Brazilian horror movie in my back pocket to recommend to friends and show that I’m a man of culture. I just don’t dig The Secret of the Mummy that much.

I liked hearing a foreign cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Should Have Known Better’ during a mummy attack, and I’m amazed at how much nudity Brazil was apparently okay with during the 1980’s, but otherwise, this isn’t a movie I’d really recommend unless you wanted a taste of something different.


Heavy Metal Massacre (1989)

Directed by Steven DeFalco [Other horror films: N/A] & Ron Ottaviano [Other horror films: N/A]

Well, this is about as inept as a movie can be. Heavy Metal Massacre is one of those SOV horror films that can be amusing, but ends up more tedious than anything else.

Part of it is a lack of story. No doubt, there is a story – there’s just not much of one. Some metalhead (played by David DeFalco, though credited as Bobbi Young) is killing women, and the police are looking for him. And that’s about it. There’s a little more, primarily revolving around two friends (played by Sami Plotkin and Michele De Santis) who run afoul of the killer, but really, there’s no conclusion to the story, and things just end.

That’s not exactly what makes Heavy Metal Massacre tedious, though. It’s more the constant dull heavy metal (many of the songs performed by an artist credited as The Electric After Burner Band) and really amateurish special effects. I don’t mean special effects as in CGI or anything, I mean in pointless aesthetics that can apparently be done with a video camera, such as changing the contrast or superimposing some scene on top of another, or even a corny blood dripping thing to convey a scene switch.

Really, I’m not a filmmaker, so I don’t have the vocabulary to describe exactly what they do here, but it’s something I’ve never seen in a movie before, and I don’t think it’s hard to figure out why after seeing this.

If I have to give credit for performances, I guess I can say that David DeFalco, despite a complete lack of character, did okay. I mean, he posed in his leather and spikes, staring into the camera with the best of them (that’s literally the first four minutes or so of this movie). Michele De Santis and John Thayer were okay, I suppose. Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot of strong points here.

Apparently filmed in Providence, Rhode Island (a fact you can tell by the police cars in the film), Heavy Metal Massacre isn’t a movie without charm, and if someone out there listed this as a guilty pleasure, I could sort of see it. Honestly, the kills weren’t awful – someone getting hit in slow motion with a giant sledgehammer was pretty decent (and in fact, this is the fate that befell two people), and another got #FuckedUp with a chainsaw, so that was all fine and well, but I don’t think that’s near enough to make this palatable.

For a long time, I knew this film would probably end up being a mess, and by all means, Heavy Metal Massacre is. The story is quite uninspired, and given there’s not really much of a conclusion, unsatisfactory. Maybe it’s worth a watch if you’re into SOV horror, but for most people, I think turning it off halfway through, if not sooner, is a more likely fate for this one.


Invisible Ghost (1941)

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis [Other horror films: The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942)]

I have a mildly fun story relating to this movie: I’ve seen Invisible Ghost once before (it’s even possible I’ve seen it twice, but I think it was just once), and the only thing I remembered about it was the opening. I mean, I remembered the opening with 100% clarity, but literally anything past that, I didn’t have an inkling.

To this day, I’m not sure why that was the case. Perhaps I fell asleep during my first viewing – it’s happened before, especially in October, when I can consume quite a bit of horror. Whatever the case, Invisible Ghost isn’t near as forgettable as my anecdote might make it sound. It’s not one of the classics, by any means, but it is a nicely serviceable film.

I appreciate how the film takes a somewhat psychological approach to the murders that are plaguing a household. I do wish that they added a little depth and explanation in the ending, as we’re not really told why the murderer is committing these murders, but either way, it is nice to have a different solution than so many other horror films from the same time period.

Bela Lugosi, of course, was a pleasure to see in this. Lugosi (The Devil Bat, Dracula, Night of Terror, and many others) did quite well, especially toward the end, as a somewhat tragic figure. Clarence Muse (White Zombie and Black Moon) is a strong runner-up – despite playing a servant (as so many black men had to do back then), I enjoyed his characterization as one of the thoroughly competent characters here. Polly Ann Young and John McGuire (in a dual role) both did decent, and McGuire had some strong moments, but I don’t know if he’ll end up being memorable.

Really, Invisible Ghost as a whole may not end up being that memorable, but I do think the story is decently strong, and as the film is just around an hour and change, it’s pretty digestible. I do enjoy the more suspenseful sequences, not to mention the answers presented, but I just wish they added a little more in the finale.

For a short and cheap film, Invisible Ghost is okay. It’s far from a classic, but it’s watchable, and though it may not stand out all that well, if you want a Bela Lugosi performance you’ve perhaps not yet bore witness to, you could certainly do worse than this.


A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Directed by Samuel Bayer [Other horror films: N/A]

Unlike some out there, I don’t hate this remake. I don’t think it’s a good movie, but I don’t hate it. What I feel is far more akin to disappointment, because while this rendition of A Nightmare on Elm Street wasn’t good, I will say that it really had potential.

To fully delve into this, I need to get into some spoilers. That’s something I try to avoid, because I like my reviews to be approachable even if the reader hasn’t seen the movie, but in this case, I have got to talk in detail about portions of this film, and so there will be spoilers in this review, starting with this next paragraph.

This film deals with teenagers who discover they have repressed memories about a preschool and a man named Freddy. Their parents refuse to tell them about it – when pressed, Nancy’s mother tells her that the kids said Freddy had abused them, and Freddy left town. During a dream sequence of Quentin’s, we see instead that the parents find Freddy on the outskirts of town, and angry that he may have abused their children, they burn his hiding place to the ground with him in it.

After Quentin sees this, it leads to what I find the most promising part of the film, in which Quentin and Nancy confront Quentin’s father about Freddy’s death. Nancy and Quentin wisely say that they were five at the time, and could have said anything – that there was no evidence Freddy was guilty, as the “secret cave” the kids mentioned was never even located, and that Freddy is seeking revenge on the kids who falsely accused him, which hurts all the more because Freddy loved the kids while he was a handyman at the preschool.

And you know what? If the film had continued to go this route, that would have been fantastic. Throughout the whole Freddy Kruger mythos, I don’t believe we’ve seen an innocent Freddy, and in this remake, they could have indeed made Freddy an innocent man who was killed due to false accusations of child abuse. The repressed memories of Quentin, Nancy, and company could have been Nancy, at five years old, deciding to play a joke and get her friends to accuse Freddy of things he didn’t do, and the finale could be her confronting her guilt, and an emotional scene of her apologizing to the innocent Freddy of her complicity in the events.

As you can probably tell, what with my hypotheticals, that didn’t happen. Upon exploring the old preschool, Nancy and Quentin come upon the aforementioned “secret cave,” and find photographic evidence that, indeed, Freddy Kruger was guilty. And everything that follows is just generic Nightmare on Elm Street stuff that you could get with a more classic feeling from almost any other film in the original series.

I think they blew a large opportunity to change the whole idea of Freddy, but instead of taking that leap, which might have been controversial, but would have been ballsy, they just keep with the “Oh, he’s just naturally evil, brahs,” stuff. I think this was a mistake, and instead of being an interesting movie, the finale of this remake is just generic and of about zero interest. Oh, and to make things better, they throw in a final scene that’s fucking awful. Even the ending of the original movie is better, and it’s not even close.

Perhaps it’s just me, but this pisses me off, because I really thought this film could have been something different. When I first saw this, I was really engaged in the story – was Freddy actually innocent? I thought it could have been so cool if they flipped the script. But they didn’t. And what was an okay movie (not great, but okay) just fell apart completely in the last twenty minutes, and I found it quite insulting, and again, a lost opportunity.

Rooney Mara (The Social Network) did pretty decent as Nancy, and Kyle Gallner (The Haunting in Connecticut) was good in the stoner-esque role. I thought the two worked well together as they were trying to figure out what their memories meant. Neither of the other teens, be it Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas, Wolves at the Door, and When a Stranger Calls) or Thomas Dekker, did much for me. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption and Pet Sematary II) was nice to see, but aside from one strong scene, he didn’t really add much.

When it comes to Freddy Kruger, I don’t think Jackie Earle Haley did terribly. I mean, let’s be honest – anyone who wasn’t Robert Englund would have a very difficult time getting praise. I don’t personally care for Freddy’s look here, but I also understand it’s more realistic as far as burn victims go, so that’s fine. More troublesome for me, though, is Freddy’s voice, which just grates. I could do without the one-liners (“I haven’t even cut you yet”), but what really takes me away is the voice. Honestly, maybe it would have been cooler if he didn’t talk, and was just a threatening figure slowly leading these kids to realize what a mistake they made in accusing him of a false crime.

Oh, wait. I’m sorry. I forget the movie wasn’t trying to be different, and so I momentarily forgot how cliché it was. My apologies.

The CGI was hideous most of the time. It’s funny that the scene in which Freddy is pushing himself out of the wall above the bed is done so much better in 1984, as well as the Tina-equivalent death scene. I did like the pool scene – when Quentin comes up from the pool and sees the flashback of Freddy’s origin take place – but otherwise, there’s nothing here that’s all that unique.

More than anything, I believe with all my heart that A Nightmare on Elm Street could have been a worthwhile remake if they had just changed the story up a little, and instead of making a generic horror movie, had gone with a more emotionally poignant ending about facing the consequences of your mistakes (the mistake being falsely accusing Kruger). Instead, you get a subpar movie that has it’s moments, and it has it’s potential, but is largely a waste of time.


Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel (1967)

Directed by Harald Reinl [Other horror films: Die Bande des Schreckens (1960), Die unsichtbaren Krallen des Dr. Mabuse (1962), Der Teppich des Grauens (1962), Der Würger von Schloß Blackmoor (1963), Zimmer 13 (1964), Der unheimliche Mönch (1965), Ein toter Taucher nimmt kein Gold (1974)]

Most commonly known as The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism, this German film is quite a disappointment. To be sure, I’ve seen it once before, but I didn’t remember just how uneventful and dull so much of this movie tends to be.

The basic story here is that two people (and their plus ones) are going to an old castle. Once there, a count who has been dead for 35 years comes back from the dead to exact his revenge (as the two people at the castle are descendants of those who led to the Count’s execution). Some spooky things happen, and the Count is defeated.

I can’t say exactly how long it took them to reach the castle, but I can say the trip took at least 40 minutes. Sure, there’s some creepy scenery on the way there, and I’ll touch on that, but it’s entirely uneventful and honestly doesn’t do much but perhaps give some meager atmosphere. Once they’re at the castle, it still takes a bit of time for anything to actually happen. In fact, in my opinion, things finally started moving at 55 minutes into the film, leaving just 25 minutes left.

Those 25 minutes, though, saving one sequence, were also on the dull side.

To be frank, no performance here did anything for me. Lex Barker as the lead felt quite uninspired, Karin Dor (The Terrible People, The Carpet of Horror, The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, and Dark Echo) was dull, and though I hate to say it, Christopher Lee was also pretty unexciting, as though his heart wasn’t really in this.

Yes, a few good sequences take place (God, you’d hope so, as the same story that spawned this film also spawned the fantastic 1961 The Pit and the Pendulum), two of them on the long ride to the castle. The horse-drawn carriage passes through a forest, and the trees here have body parts, such as arms and legs, seemingly sticking out of them. That did look creepy, as did another forest which had a lot of hanged men on every tree.

At the castle, there was a pretty quality sequence where a ledge was slowly being taken from Dor’s character, and with each inch receding into the wall, the closer she was to falling into a pit of snakes. That was good stuff. The pendulum, however, was sort of weaksauce – the guy just threw a rock at it, knocked it into oscillation, and it perfectly severed the ropes holding his body down without cutting him.

I can’t express how much I wish I liked this one. I took four years of German in high school, and so feel an affinity with the country and it’s films, especially horror. The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism is just dull, though. It was underwhelming when I first saw it, and it still is. It might have some hokey fun every now and again, but to be honest, I was bored most of the time.


Loon (2015)

Directed by Brandon Tobatto [Other horror films: Hacked Up for Barbecue (2009), Loons (2016), Cottontail (2017), Sugarplum (2017), Madhouse (2020)]

For a lower budget film, Loon is okay. It’s not great, and it’s possible calling it good is a stretch, but there’s a somewhat interesting story here, and though I don’t think I’d go back to it, I can appreciate what they were going for.

Truth be told, I expected most of the film to deal with the group of friends going to explore an old carnival attraction – something like a lower budget version of Haunt. You can soon see that’s not where the film’s going, as it switches gears to focus on a police detective (Ryan Gray) and his attempts to go after the killer stalking the woods around the carnival attraction, which is at least different.

Obviously, being a film of this budget, some of the acting is not great. I do think that Tara Moates and Trevor Moates worked as siblings, and given the last names, it’s quite possible that’s the case. During the opening flashback, Kerissa Porter and Randy Porter were good also, and I thought it was sort of a shame that opening scene was all they got. Otherwise, no one really did that well – Ryan Gray had some okay moments, as did both Anne Tuck and John Nieman, but everything else was just ehh.

What’s more was some of the dialogue felt iffy, and the delivery especially stood out as lower quality. I don’t think that really hurt the movie as a whole – God knows I’ve seen worse in other films – but it was noticeable at times.

Also noticeable was the fact that, save for a kill toward the end of the film, there weren’t many kills here worth seeing. The killer primarily used a bat to beat people to death, which is good and all, but after a while, I can’t say it’s not a little repetitive.

Even so, from my understanding, the budget of Loon was around $100, and I know that they probably got more out of the money than I could have. I don’t think the movie’s good, but I do think they did well with what they had, and though there were aspects of the story I wasn’t a fan of (I would have liked it if Tara Moates and Trevor Moates had a bit more to do in the second half of the movie), it’s not a terrible film if you know what you’re going into.