The third title I got to take a look at today from Anchor Bay is this b-movie slasher film that seems to be play like a bit of a cross between I Know What You Did Last Summer and Friday the 13th.
Horror icons Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley headline this film that despite the attachment of the Alan Smithee name (a generic name added to the credits that is usually done because the film’s director no longer wishes to be associated with the project) has some truly creepy ideas, but rarely elevates itself above standard slasher fare.
Littered with flashbacks that depict the lives of Hodder’s Jon Roy and Moseley’s Darryl, brothers raised in an abusive home, with a father who worked as a paramedic who begin to spiral into madness… The main story follows a variety of generic and disposable stereotypical teens that are simply there to be quickly disposed of, as Jon Roy and Darryl prowl the back roads of the county, awaiting an accident to roll up to in their old ambulance, No. 37, and commit abuses on the survivors.
And lacking any accidents, they sometimes simply attack, what seems random at first quickly reveals itself to be an organized plan, as the past comes back to haunt and eventually kill a number of the local teens.
Thrust into the middle of this is young Amy (Caitlin Harris) who is having self-image problems and is mooning over a boy, Jason (Maxwell Zagorski). She goes a long way to change her image to make herself more appealing to Jason, and there’s bound to be a deeper commentary that needs to be discussed here, but I’m probably not the one to do it.
The film teeters on the edge of being something really special. The idea itself, someone posing as a paramedic, responding to calls for help before the actual ambulance can show up, explained in the film due to cutbacks and the fact that they only have so many vehicles to cover a 300 mile radius, and then abusing and killing these injured people is truly terrifying. When you’re hurt, and think help has finally arrived, you inherently want to trust the flashing lights and uniforms, and this film that trust is betrayed time and again, frighteningly so. It truly is a horrifying idea.
Then the stuff with the younger characters despite the revelations, doesn’t make any of them specifically memorable. They are nothing more than recognizable teen tropes and end up being nothing more than fodder for the killers. So while some of the kills are brutal, and shocking (there is blood aplenty), none of them have any real emotional punch because you don’t care about the characters. A little more in the way of story and character development may have paid off when the bodies start to pile up, there is some nice work on with Hodder (though I do feel he was underused) and Moseley, both of them get arcs of a sort, but with nothing to intertwine and truly interact with in terms of their victims, it feels a trifle one-sided.
Still, that’s not to detract from the film. If all you want to see is a pair of horror legends tear their way through some generic teen characters, who apparently have lots of blood to spill, then have a look at it, as both of these actors seem to be having a good time.
There are moments in the climax that I questioned, and there are no real surprises in the film, it’s fairly paint by numbers for what it is, but it’s a bloody, violent, and best enjoyed in the dark with a bowl of popcorn and your brain turned off.
Check it out today from Anchor Bay.