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Slasher Horror Film

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This is an interesting fresh spin on the slasher genre and one of the best horror films I've seen in quite a while. The film plays out like a surreal nightmare which is stylishly shot, intensely gory and deeply unnerving.

It starts with a guy being brutally murdered in a hotel room with no explanation. The action moves on, introducing us to the main characters as they party together. As they sit chatting, drinking beer and watching some obscure horror on the television a mysterious man comes into the house, dressed in a light blue suit with shining white teeth and a suitcase under his arm. No one knows who he is but he sits himself down anyway and reveals his suitcase is full of razor blades. He then insists each of the people in the room name someone they hate and cuts himself every time they do. This seems to trigger a supernaturally strong and seriously unpleasant killer to despatch the people they named and since the host of the party named everyone in the room they get a little nervous when the bodies begin to pile up.

The action is confusing at times and director Adam Wingard builds tension throughout by keeping you off balance and reeling. It doesn’t always make perfect sense but the effect is great and it is satisfying to watch a horror film with a genuine intention to scare and freak out the audience. His direction is excellent, the gory murder sequences are excruciating to watch but he also injects a deep sense of foreboding during some sequences where the onscreen action is relatively innocuous. He also gets the best from his cast and really brings the bizarre characters to life.

The stand out performance is from Bill Moseley as the razor blade guy or Mr Suitcase as he appears in the credits. He sets the tone for the entire film and he really is deeply unsettling. Tom Towles pops up later on as the gun mad Uncle Johnny and he is almost as good, giving an equally bizarre turn as a redneck militia and chilli enthusiast. Tiffany Shepis is quite good in this with an unchallenging character as she aims to appear in every low budget horror made. The rest of the cast are unspectacular but they play their parts well and you get the feeling the deliberately weird style probably helped to mask any overacting. The exception is the straight man of the piece, Tim played by Matt Lero. He delivers all his lines in a monotone and really got on my nerves.

The gore is very nasty and graphic and surprisingly well done for a low budget film. People are pulped with hammers and have feet sliced in half, fingernails ripped off and teeth smashed in as the killer determines to off each one in a different manner. Many of the death scenes were enough to force a squirm or glance away from the screen because they really don't pull their punches here.

Overall this is enjoyable madness and it makes the best of the available acting talent and the budget. Having seen so many horror films recently that are basically comedies or thrillers it was nice to see something which could genuinely be described as horror. There's no doubt it is absurd and rough around the edges and it threatens to degenerate into parody at times but it is also refreshingly different and really quite disturbing.

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