The Mutilator (1984)

Directed by Buddy Cooper [Other horror films: N/A] & John Douglass [Other horror films: N/A]

You know, I have to admit that my recollection of this movie may not have done it proper justice. I saw The Mutilator once many years ago, and ever since, I’ve been telling people about how underwhelming I found the film. Seeing it again with fresh eyes, though, I didn’t feel underwhelmed at all. 

It could fairly be said that neither Morey Lampley nor Frances Raines (Disconnected and Breeders) did much for me, but the other four central characters were pretty good. Bill Hitchcock and Connie Rogers struck me as a realistic couple, Hitchcock’s character even occasionally amusing me. Matt Mitler was strong, and making for a quality final girl was Ruth Martinez, who I really liked here.

Pulling all of this together is the fact that I really got the sense that these were friends just hanging out, so even during the moments void of murder, it was fun just seeing this group of friends chilling (and playing Blind Man’s Bluff, a game that doesn’t look remotely fun).

What adds a little bit to the performances, by the way, is the fact that this was filmed in North Carolina, and most of the actors and actresses have that southern twang in their accents which just gives the movie a little more regional flavor, something that I quite appreciated. 

Of course, what really adds to the film is the quality gore, which is something I perhaps missed the first time I saw The Mutilator. With such classy kills as a character getting stabbed with a piece of wood through the throat and thusly decapitated and another guy’s chest getting all ripped up with an outboard motor (which isn’t necessarily clear during the scene, at least to me, but the impact is most definitely worth it), this movie doesn’t slouch off in that department. There might be a weak kill or two (such as the character who was drowned), but that strong finale, with some dismemberment and someone being cut in half by a car, is enough to cancel those out.

While a small point, I wanted to mention the song that sandwiches the film (plays both at the beginning and the ending during the credits) titled “Fall Break” (on a side-note, Fall Break is an alternative title to this movie, and in fact, the print of the film that I saw had this title as opposed to The Mutilator). The song is a bit too jaunty for me at times, but I did think it was a lot of fun, and it’s one of those songs that’ll end up on my iTunes (the same fate which befell “Fade to Black” from Prom Night).

Oh, and another thing that I found a pleasant surprise – unlike many horror films, The Mutilator didn’t go for some final scene jump scare, which surprised me as it sort of felt like they were moving in that direction. Luckily, it was just a little somber scene in a hospital, which I definitely appreciated.

There’s no doubt that this film is somewhat run-of-the-mill, and given that the killer wasn’t particularly distinctive in any way whatsoever, it makes sense to me that for some, this might just not cut it. And to be fair, like I said, the same could have been said of me prior to this rewatch. Seeing it again, though, opened my eyes, and while it’s not a great slasher, I did have quite a bit of fun with it.

7.5/10

Scream for Help (1984)

Directed by Michael Winner [Other horror films: The Nightcomers (1971), The Sentinel (1977)]

Scream for Help is a movie that I’ve only seen once before, and honestly, a movie that I remembered very little of. Pretty much when it came to mind, I just thought of it as the spiritual prequel to The Stepfather (not unlike how I think of 1985’s Blackout). In truth, this really can stand up on its own, because while it’s not an amazing movie, I definitely think a lot was done well.

Problematically, much of the first half deals with a lot of melodrama, what with a step-father’s affair being found out by his step-daughter, and while I can get the emotional upheaval this would cause the family, it’s not always the most engrossing stuff.

Again, though, there’s still decent scenes here, such as the somewhat surprising and intense hit and run that happens quite early into the film. No doubt too there’s tension at different portions of the opening, and while things don’t really pick up until the final thirty minutes, there’s plenty of things going on that are likely to keep your interest.

What sort of interested me was how the story also largely dealt with a teen girl’s coming-of-age, in a way. Over the course of the film, she experiences her first love and experiences her first love-making, and of course love saves them all in the end. Of course, it also led to most of their problems in the first place, but like most teenagers, it’s a confusing time for us all.

Rachel Kelly was pretty convincing as a teenager naive in the ways of lust. I mean, no doubt was her character occasionally ridiculously melodramatic, but she was pretty fun, and she possessed quality strength. Her mother, played by Marie Masters, didn’t interest me as much, but she still did decent enough. Forgettable also was Corey Parker, but I loved how his character, the very day after his girlfriend dies, gets with the girlfriend’s best friend, so a quality example of man.

Speaking of which, while his girlfriend, played by Sandra Clark, didn’t last that long, she was still pretty decent, which was a bit of a surprise given that this was her sole role in anything. David Allen Brooks (who pops up much later in Jack Frost 2) was pretty good here, and Rocco Sisto was even better, but Lolita Lesheim (who provided a bit of nudity) was just okay. Still, decent performances from most of the central cast, especially Rachel Kelly.

While traditional horror scenes were a bit light at times (and the finale felt far more thriller than it did horror), there were a few here and there, and like I said, plenty of tension throughout the whole of the film. Also, there was a kick-ass explosion at the end, which was pretty cool, and while the electrocution wasn’t up to par, it was still fun given the character in question who was electrocuted deserved it.

A lot could be said for the idea that this movie feels far more like a coming-of-age thriller than it does the pure horror movie that you might hope it’d be, and I can certainly see it, to an extent, but no matter what Scream for Help is classified as, I think it’s a movie that has a decent amount going for it, and if you’ve not yet seen it, it may be worth it, even if it’s not amazing.

7/10

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. [Other horror films: N/A]

So I first saw this cult classic under in a less-than-suitable way (I sandwiched it in during a day when I watched eight other movies), so it didn’t make much of an impact the first time I actually saw this, so watching it again was something that I was quite excited for, and overall, while I do find a few issues here and there, I generally found the movie pretty enjoyable.

What really stands out, as far as the opening is concerned, is the amount of time spent on Billy’s character as a kid, playing out almost like a character study. It does make some of the beginning feel a tad sluggish, but it’s not that bad, and things pick up nicely when Billy, now 18, gets a job at a toy store, just in time for the holidays.

Which leads to my all-time favorite montage ever in a movie. I mean, if Jesus Christ and Muhammad worked together with Buddha and The Beatles, they couldn’t have come up with a montage as beautiful as this. The focus is Billy’s hard work, both on and off the clock (and his boss’ smile and nod as Billy straightens that book cracked me up to no end), and set to a song called ‘The Warm Side of the Door’ by Morgan Ames. It’s truly magical.

Robert Brian Wilson did pretty decently as the lead, despite never really doing much else before or after. He had a good sense of foreboding that I appreciated, and when he went off the deep end, he went off the deep end. Though she didn’t add as much as you might hope, Toni Nero was good, though her character does bother me a bit toward her final scenes. Ditto Randy Stumpf, only I never cared for his character.

Aside from Wilson, the second-most important performance might well be Lilyan Chauvin (as Mother Superior), who was a solid showcase of the dangers of religious extremism. Superior was literally a horrible woman, and she consistently abused those children, so it’s a shame that she may have survived the film. Admittedly, Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead and Night of the Demons being among her most important work) supplied the film with quality nudity, so her character may well be more important than Chauvin’s.

For the most part, though, Wilson is the focus. Sure, we get a little Gilmer McCormick trying to find and help Billy, and related, some H.E.D. Redford trying to track Billy down, but we pretty much follow Billy as he kills random people on a rampage, which is good and all, but it does occasionally feel as though it’s lacking a personal touch.

I think it’s here that the movie fails a bit, as much of Billy’s killing spree lacks that personal touch that you might expect. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the kills themselves are still decent, but it almost feels hollow at times, which surprised me, if only because that’s not a common feeling I get from the average slasher film (though as said, to be sure, this is far from the average slasher in approach).

Still, that ending. It was both sort of ridiculous and ridiculously funny, so I can’t really complain. Also, on the finale, the fact that it took place during the daytime as opposed to night was an interesting choice, showing again that this movie isn’t the most typical slasher.

I can’t say with honesty that I loved Silent Night, Deadly Night, but I did have a moderately decent time once we got past the somewhat involved opening. It’s not necessarily a movie that I think I’d go back to that often, but there’s certainly a place for it, and for me, that place is probably around average.

7/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. If you’re interested in hearing Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this cult classic, look no further.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Directed by Joseph Zito [Other horror films: Bloodrage (1980), The Prowler (1981)]

Long-considered one of the best of the series by many, The Final Chapter has the elements you’d come to expect from a Friday the 13th movie, and it puts them together well.

With quality special effects (certainly not something new for the series), some memorable characters (just look at Dead Fuck’s – I mean, Crispin Glover’s – fantastic dance moves), and just an all-around solid story (not that it’s hard to mess up script for Friday the 13th), I think that this one is remembered fondly for a reason.

I love the beginning to this one, a compilation of scenes from the previous three films, and the film picks up immediately following the conclusion of the third film, which is pretty fun to see (we don’t get much of Jason at the hospital, but what we did get was pleasantly reminiscent of Halloween II). Given that the third film and this one take place over the course of just a couple of days really brings forth the slaughter.

Some of the characters weren’t that memorable (Clyde Hayes, Judie Aronson, and Peter Barton being the best examples), but then we get gems such as the cute Carey More and Camilla More, the funky fun Crispin Glover (of Back to the Future fame), the unlucky Lawrence Monoson, the innocent-yet-fun Barbara Howard, and all-around quality Kimberly Beck. I didn’t care much for Erich Anderson’s character, but Joan Freeman was good, and Corey Feldman of Gremlins fame) really gave a great performance as a younger actor.

Plus, Crispin Glover gave us a great dance.

Either the corkscrew or shower kill is my favorite, but there are plenty of decent kills throughout the movie. I also enjoyed the rain coming back during the finale, as rain always felt like a good way for these movies to end. Tommy Jarvis too was an interesting character to challenge Jason, and I enjoyed his decently intellectual approach, as it reminded me of Ginny (Amy Steel) from Part 2.

Both this movie and Part 2 are pretty close in quality, truth be told. I don’t think either one is significantly better or worse in any real way, which is a good indicator that these are the two strongest films this series has to offer.

Definitely The Final Chapter has been a favorite of mine for years, and it will continue to be.

8.5/10

Inferno in diretta (1984)

Directed by Ruggero Deodato [Other horror films: Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), La casa sperduta nel parco (1980), Camping del terrore (1986), Un delitto poco comune (1988), Minaccia d’amore (1988), Vortice mortale (1993), The Profane Exhibit (2013, segment ‘Bridge’), Ballad in Blood (2016), Deathcember (2019, segment ‘Casetta Sperduta in Campagna’)]

Commonly known under the title Cut and Run, this Italian movie is somewhat styled after the cannibal movies popular five years prior. Ruggero Deodato directed two of them (Jungle Holocaust and, most famously, Cannibal Holocaust), and came back to do this one, but it’s a surprisingly tame affair.

Make no mistake, if you watch the uncut version of this one, you’re going to get a lot of solid gore (such as a quality decapitation and, perhaps the best scene, a man being pulled apart by the legs), but there’s no cannibalism whatsoever in the movie, and I can’t help but feel the movie’s not near as gritty as it should be.

That may not even be the biggest problem, though. Portions of the story were sort of interesting, but I have to admit to losing interest around halfway through, and Richard Lynch didn’t engage me in the least, especially during his inane philosophical ramblings toward the end. Lynch (who was far better in Bad Dreams) wasn’t a great antagonist, but even the best antagonist here (Michael Berryman) disappeared halfway through the film, and when he popped up again, it was somewhat pathetic.

I just didn’t care that much for the plot. I liked the attacks by the native tribes (that opening sequence was on point), and Berryman made for a very scary opponent (I last saw him in Deadly Blessing, but I’d put this performance perhaps second only to The Hills Have Eyes), but I didn’t much find interest in Willie Aames or Valentina Forte at all. Lisa Blount (Prince of Darkness) was fine, but I wasn’t impressed by Leonard Mann and definitely not by Karen Black.

The gore here was great (and, again, I highly recommend the uncut version), but that’s really all that was great. The jungle setting was good, but why watch a watered down movie like this when you can just go to Jungle Holocaust, Mountain of the Cannibal God, or hell, even Man from Deep River (which I didn’t even care that much for)?

Cut and Run is an okay movie. I think it’s certainly below average, but I’d still recommend it to fans of the classic Italian cannibal movies, even though, in my opinion, this couldn’t quite capture the same vibe of them.

6/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Cut and Run.

Rats – Notte di terrore (1984)

Directed by Bruno Mattei [Other horror films: Casa privata per le SS (1977), KZ9 – Lager di sterminio (1977), Virus (1980), L’altro inferno (1981), Violenza in un carcere femminile (1982), Zombi 3 (1988), Terminator II (1989), Non aprite quella porta 3 (1990), Occhi senza volto (1994), Cruel Jaws (1995), Snuff killer – La morte in diretta (2003), Mondo cannibale (2004), Nella terra dei cannibali (2004), La tomba (2006), L’isola dei morti viventi (2007), Zombi: La creazione (2007)] & Claudio Fragasso [Other horror films: Virus (1980), Leviatán (1984), Zombi 3 (1988), After Death (Oltre la morte) (1989), La casa 5 (1990), Non aprite quella porta 3 (1990), Troll 2 (1990), Una notte da paura (2012), Italian horror stories (2021)]

This Italian movie, most commonly known as Rats: Night of Terror, is one that I’ve wanted to see for quite some time. I can’t say I’m overly impressed with the film after seeing it, but I can admit that I was amused throughout a lot of it.

The version I watched was English-dubbed, which I think caused the film to come across as a lot more goofy than it originally probably was. Some of the dialogue here was just really bad, but in a somewhat hilarious way. Related, so much of the acting was over-the-top, and I don’t think that can be blamed simply on the poor dubbing job.

Playing the main character Kurt was Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, who had some of the more ridiculous acting portions. He was pretty fun, though, and I generally thought he was one of the few really stand-out characters. Fausto Lombardi fits that bill also, and he was certainly my favorite in the film. If there’s one character that I wish we got any background on, it’d be this guy. On the other side of things, Ann-Gisel Glass and Moune Duvivier were among the worst performances I’ve seen. Mercifully, Duvivier was one of the first ones dead, but we had to suffer through Glass’ melodramatic, overwrought performance throughout most of the film. Others did about as well, in a cheesy way, as you could expect.

I thought that there was some pretty decent gore here, though I’ll be honest and admit I was expecting a bit more in that department. Still, seeing rats crawl out of peoples’ mouths and jumping onto people was fun enough, so while the film didn’t shine insofar as the gore was concerned, I don’t think it was that big a problem.

How different this film would have been if I saw it in it’s original Italian, I don’t know. It wouldn’t have changed the bad acting, but it probably would have been a bit easier to take seriously. On the other hand, the ending is so ridiculous, it has to be seen to be believed. For a post-apocalyptic film, I didn’t have nearly as much fun as I did with 2019: After the Fall of New York, but Rats: Night of Terror was still a somewhat amusing film, and though it’s below average, I can see myself giving it another view in the future.

6/10

Children of the Corn (1984)

Directed by Fritz Kiersch [Other horror films: Surveillance (2006), The Hunt (2006)]

In some aspects, Children of the Corn has aged somewhat poorly, and it’s not necessarily the best translation of one of King’s short stories (from Night Shift, a copy of which was shown on the dashboard of the main characters’ car at one point) to a full-length film, but despite this, Children of the Corn is a very solid attempt, and one I’ve loved since childhood.

Let’s start with two things – the opening of the film and the music. It opens with a massacre in a diner by the youth of a small town, and a violent massacre at that, with plenty of scythes and the like. And that haunting music, a choir of sorts, belies the notion of the children’s innocence. That is a fantastically effective opening, period. End of story.

Now, few scenes really compete with that sequence, but later in the film, there is another pretty good scene in which a mechanic is being tormented by the Gatlin kids, and ends up getting entirely messed up. These kids know no mercy, thanks to the beast that is Malachai (Courtney Gains).

I want to touch on the interesting concept of the King story, and of this movie, then onto a small examination of the relationship between Malachai and Isaac, as it certainly impacts my view of the film.

Pray tell, why did kids kill adults at the beginning? Interestingly enough, the youth of Gatlin rallied beyond young child pastor Isaac, who held secret meetings in the corn, and decried the depravity of adults. The adults of this small Nebraska town were generally Baptist, but that’s not old school enough for Isaac, who believes that once you’re past a certain age, any hope of salvation is gone.

The solution? Kill off all the adults, form a new religion worshipping ‘He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows’ (in a small farming community, you can see why that title would have appeal), and sacrifice everyone who turns of age for the sake of their soul. Realistically, a small town, even in Nebraska, couldn’t disappear off the map (though apparently, it wasn’t on the map to begin with) – even if you can ignore out-of-town relations, the IRS want their taxes, not to mention eventually the Census.

Still, the idea’s damn cool.

The relationship between Malachai and Isaac (John Franklin) is an interesting one – Isaac is the clear spiritual leader, but Malachai has a strong following, and is seen as doing more for their faith (it doesn’t hurt that he’s more of a hard-liner than Isaac, as music and games are forbidden, but Isaac lets that pass at times). Them Gatlin kids ain’t got no time for Isaac’s ‘mercy,’ and so turn to Malachai. That scene where Malachai revolts against Isaac’s authority (screaming ‘seize him’ didn’t get Isaac anywhere) is another one that pulls this movie to higher grounds.

Also, when he’s holding Burt’s wife (Linda Hamilton) at knife-point in the center of a dead town, crying out for the Outlander, again, fantastic scene.

Of course, it’s not all good, as the movie is somewhat drenched in the aura of the 1980’s, especially the somewhat cheesy conclusion and final scene. Believe you me, the original short story was so much better, and this waters it down just as bad as the adaptation of Cujo did. Also, it does take a little bit for the movie to get going, as a lot of the first half of the film are the two main characters (Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton) looking for any signs of life from the aforementioned dead town, but personally, I thought it had solid atmosphere.

And on that note, while I wasn’t really blown away by either Horton or Hamilton (Hamilton, of course, soon becoming famous for her role in The Terminator movies), both John Franklin (Isaac) and Courtney Gains (Malachai) were fantastic, and I can’t applaud their performances enough.

I think the idea behind this movie (and story) is better than the final product, and I wish this movie touched more upon the religious views of the kids, but still, Children of the Corn has a lot going for it, and while I’d never say it’s perfect, I don’t really understand the hate this one sometimes get. But again, maybe some of my viewpoints are drenched in nostalgia. Still, I find this a very solid movie, and always have a quality time with it.

8.5/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if interested, you can listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one below.

Wild beasts – Belve feroci (1984)

Directed by Franco Prosperi [Other horror films: Mondo cane (1962), Africa addio (1966)]

This Italian movie is something of a hoot. Truth be told, while it has the tendency to drag a little, overall, I definitely think it’s a film worth seeing, should you be a fan of Italian entries to the genre.

I wouldn’t say you should see it for the cast, however – make no mistake, I think the principal actors/actresses (John Aldrich and Lorraine De Selle) do fine, but neither one is special, especially considering the rather horrible dubbing job done. I did appreciate Ugo Bologna as the Police Chief, along with Louisa Lloyd as De Selle’s bratty daughter (and, on a side-note, I detected what had to be close to underage nudity early on in the film, which came as a bit of a shock). Still, these four are virtually the only important cast members, and while none of them are bad (which isn’t to say unlikable), it’s not why you’d come to this flick.

Instead, it’d be for the sometimes brutal animal attacks, of all flavors. Favorites of mine including an elephant stomping on a woman’s head (unfortunately cut somewhat short), an epic rat attack toward the beginning, which was beautifully gory, and a rather tragic attack upon a blind man by his seeing dog (which was filmed in a much more somber way than you might expect from a piece of schlock like this). The gore is never too in-you-face, and there are plenty of suspenseful scenes that go without, but when it did pop up, it was generally of solid quality.

At times, though, because of switching between mostly random people being attacked by random animals (such as the six minute cheetah chase, which was moderately suspenseful), the movie felt a bit aimless at times. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because within the context of the story, such a route makes sense, but Wild Beasts definitely felt a bit off at times.

Personally, I think that this movie had a lot of get-up-and-go despite some of the issues I had with the cohesiveness (I should point out that the conclusion is pretty cool, albeit a bit weak in the way it played out). It’s not a great movie, but I do think that this Italian flick has a lot of character, and while I wish it had more gore, there were some kills (such as the seeing dog attack and the rat attack) that were well-worth seeing, and generally, I’d say Wild Beasts is enjoyable, just not special.

7/10

Day of the Reaper (1984)

day of the

Directed by Tim Ritter [Other horror films: Twisted Illusions (1985), Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness (1986), Killing Spree (1987), Wicked Games (1994), Creep (1995), Alien Agenda: Endangered Species (1998), Screaming for Sanity: Truth or Dare 3 (1998), Twisted Illusions 2 (2004), Deadly Dares: Truth or Dare Part IV (2011), Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8) (2013, segment ‘Switchblade Insane’), I Dared You! Truth or Dare Part 5 (2017), Trashsploitation (2018, segment ‘Truth or Dare’), Hi-Death (2018, segment ‘Dealers of Death’), Zombarella’s House of Whorrors (2019, segment ‘Cosmic Desires’), Sharks of the Corn (2021)]

Tim Ritter’s first film (made when he was a teenager), this is one that I’ve literally wanted to see ever since I first heard about it many years back. It went pretty much as expected, for better or for worse.

Firstly, the story was rather lacking. Part of this was because both the video and audio quality of the copy I managed to see were atrocious, but those technical aspects aside, the story doesn’t have a lot to offer, and toward the end, when things take sort of a supernatural turn (which didn’t seem explained all that well, and felt shoehorned in there), I didn’t care for it.

It’s the gore that would probably interest most people, though, and it’s generally pretty good. A pencil in the eye, a throat-slitting, multiple dismemberments. All decent stuff. I just wish that the camera and lighting had been better, so we could have gotten a fuller effect of the mayhem.

Acting throughout was all pretty stale, though the individual who played the detective was hilariously over-active. I don’t know the actor’s name (he’s not listed on IMDb, and the credits of the film only list the actors, not the roles they play), but the way that man delivered his dialogue, in a long, rambling, “I don’t need books anyway, who needs books?” was beautiful to behold. No one else stands out, but for an extraordinarily amateurish film, that’s not really a negative.

And amateurish it was. Even stripping away the problems with the audio and video, the story wasn’t great, and more so, felt moderately hollow at times. Plenty of lower-budget films possess more feeling than much of this one did, but I mostly chalk that up to this being Ritter’s first film. On a slight side-note, I’ve only seen one other Ritter movie, being the somewhat enjoyable Killing Spree from 1987. I certainly wouldn’t judge his output on this one, as it’s his first outing.

Day of the Reaper certainly has a place in the genre, especially among SOV fans. It’s never quite as gory as some of Schiff’s work (such as They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore, which came out in 1985), or really as gory as H.G. Lewis’ material, but it still shows promise, despite all it’s shortcomings. Truthfully, though, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but if you’re a fan of early SOV horror flicks, or a major Ritter fan, I’d check it out if you’re able to find it.

5/10

Mr. Wrong (1984)

Mr Wrong

Directed by Gaylene Preston [Other horror films: N/A]

At many points throughout the film, Mr. Wrong feels like a traditional ghost story, and I think that it’s a feeling that works out pretty well, thought it doesn’t leave me feeling utterly wowed.

This New Zealand flick might be a bit conventional at times, and you can certainly see the ending coming from some miles away, but it has that spooky vibe that works. Featuring a woman who isn’t the generic beauty queen also helps out, and gives the film a somewhat more ‘everyman’s’ feel.

Heather Bolton does a good job as the main character, and at times, I think one can really feel the terror she too feels. David Letch has a good, ominous presence, though I would have liked a bit more back-story regarding him.

The biggest detriment this film has is the fact that while it certainly has chills, it’s extraordinarily light on actual kills. While I wasn’t expecting any gore (which was good, as there’s none to be found), I was hoping for a higher body count than what we actually got. Related, the movie occasionally feels as though it has a sluggish pace, and while there are really well-done and suspenseful sequences at times, it does drag a bit.

Still, if traditional ghost stories are your thing, then I think this would work out. It’s certainly nothing overly special, but it’s a very competently-made and compelling film, so if you can get beyond the New Zealand accents, I’d give it a go.

7.5/10