Kennedy (Julia Benson, Stargate: Universe) has dreamed about her wedding day ever since she was a little girl, and now it’s only a short time away. Sensing she needs a get away, her husband-to-be Ryan (played by real life hubby Peter Benson) arranges a get away weekend, for them to party with the core members of the bridal party.
Along for the ride on Kennedy’s side is her sister, Hannah (Christine Chatelain) and her bestie, Emily (Emily Ullerup). Tagging along with Peter is his best man, Chet (Kyle Cassie) and Peter’s cousin, Derek (Benjamin Ayres).
Heading to a remote rental in the middle of the wilderness, with a very creepy groundskeeper, Bo (Dave Collette), the weekend is off to a dubious start as it becomes apparent fairly quickly that despite being friends, not all of these people like one another, in fact some of them have or will be given motivation through the course of the film to hate one another.
Add in some unnerving stares and appearances from Bo, and some strange moments, and the setting is prepared for when things go pear-shaped.
The film never seems to fully embrace the exploitative nature of the slasher films it is using as it’s launching point, the kills are fairly basic, and there isn’t even the added factor of a lot of blood and gore to delight horror hounds, and of course there is a lack of sex and nudity that seems to go hand in hand with these types of films. Both are hinted at, but it’s more like the filmmakers are simply dipping their toes into the shallow end of Crystal Lake without taking the full plunge.
I do like that every single one of the characters is suspect. Someone is killing them all off, one by one, and it could be anyone. Each character has secrets, each character isn’t as clean as they seem, except for Kennedy who is pushed to the extremes and forced to become something she hates.
This film felt, to me, like a primer for slasher films, as if, chronologically, it could be set before any of the others had been made, before we knew what the genre was, what it could be, and how it could be turned on its ear. It’s a step backwards, instead of forwards, and like I said, seems to try to shun the very nature and rotes that have become a groundwork for any slasher film.
There are a couple of nice moments, and it was fun to see fan favorite Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica, Hemlock Grove) make an appearance, but overall, it just wasn’t all it could have been. There are some nice ideas, and some really well-played red herrings that helped to flesh out the characters and their motivations, but in the end, it just felt like it was holding back. I think if they had totally embraced their inner slasher film, this could one could have been something…
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Death Do Us Part is available now from Anchor Bay.