Starring: Jeff Berg, Luciana Faulhaber, Curtis K Case, Hailey Heisick , Jarrod Robbins
Written by: Jessica Boucher
Directed by: Luciana Faulhaber
Running Time: 71 Minutes
Reviewed by: Dan Oles
Define cognitive dissonance.
Don’t Look is structured, scored, written and acted as if someone was trying to describe to another person who had never seen one what a horror film was like. Familiar beats are here: the opening incident, the group of bantering friends pulling over in a creepy old town with multi-tier love triangles, ominous backwoods locals acting ominous, even a pop song over the credits. Every element is delivered so awkwardly it’s frankly charming.
Half the dialogue seems improvised or borrowed, and that goes for a majority of the sequences as well. If Don’t Look was an intentional parody very little would have to be changed, but every trope present is played so completely straitlaced it’s unclear if these decisions were made in ignorance of prevailing trends or just very nostalgic dedication to the purity of the classics. When someone basically remakes Texas Chainsaw Massacre on a budget and doesn’t wink once at the audience it’s either admirably or pitiable. I’m leaning towards someone taking this seriously given just how much lingering is done over the gore and depravity.
I’m guessing someone who wasn’t inundated with slasher productions might find something shocking or compelling here. For me, it was all a little routine, but what made it entertaining was how much fun the cast seemed to be having.
John Carpenter once said there’s a surprising calming effect to splattering fake blood around and that seems to be the case. Everyone present is pretty green, but they’re just so enthusiastic it’s infectious: biting into their ‘acting’ scenes, selling the horror of their situation with piercing shrieks, and gamely bringing needed life to some of the wonkier lines. The effects work isn’t terrible. The cinematography tries for some inventive floating angles and editing tricks to create jump scares (thankfully without blasting noises).
It’s strange calling a movie with decapitations, nudity, and blood aplenty ‘charming’ but there’s some real love on display for the legacy of the masked killer stalking teens here. If you’re a fan it’s gratifying to see a new generation taking inspiration from the past, but if this isn’t your first experience you’ll see a lot you’ve seen before with potential to improve.
I want to see these fine guys and gals behind and in front of the camera keep on keeping on!
Anti-Hero: an original motion comic series with professional voice actors! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmmouuBlWTk