06 June 2012

The Killing of Jacob Marr 2010 - REVIEW

Film makers have been creating on screen carnage in the form of slasher films since the early 30's. Most notably would be Thirteen Women then growing progressively more intense into the 60's with Psycho. The 70's brought us Michael Myers in Halloween and Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger graced us with their presence in the 80's. Let's not leave out the 90's when Wes Craven introduced us to Ghost Face. My point is that horror film history is riddled with what some would call the greatest sub genre ever created. I mean what horror fan doesn't love a good slasher film? Which brings me to my next issue. Slasher films, along with zombie films are some of the most over done film topics in horror. Any budding film maker with a cheap camera will hit on either of those sub genres because it's "easy". What you end up with is an over abundance of DVD's that are worth nothing more than fuel for a bonfire.

In The Killing of Jacob Marr, a boy finds a mysterious object that transforms him into a killer. After he murders his parents, he escapes into the woods never to be found. Flash forward twenty years when five friends rent a cabin in the woods for a little getaway only to find it's fully stocked with food and the closets are full of clothes. This leads them to believe there is another group staying at the cabin. They decide to hang around for a whole and see if the others return which proves to be a deadly decision.

Normally when you run across a film with a budget of 15k, you'll end up with a fairly subpar cast. Directors on a tight budget will bring in friends or even family to round out the cast. That's not the case here. I was more than surprised at the level of talent in this one especially from the lead character Morgan White, who has the dreamiest eyes that can only be compared to those of Dermot Mulrooney or Chad Lindberg. He pulls off the sensitive, level headed, not so predictable hero with ease. Another one that caught my attention was his goofy, sarcastic, comedic counterpart Brandon Beilis.Both are fairly new to the acting scene and it's always great to see new talent that actually has talent. Alyssa Mann, Elizabeth Drake, Samantha Cooper, Chris Keating and Oleg Ossayenko round out the cast and I have to say, for an independent film, director Brad Rego made some great casting decisions which only helped propel his film forward.

Rego also wrote the film and I have to say, the dialogue is really very solid. It seemed to flow very easily and it was appropriate for the characters he was working with. He also did something that very few Indie film makers today do and that's creating smart characters. Yep, you heard me. He didn't belittle his audience with the same inept characters you typically find in a slasher film. One character even confronts the slasher and does a hell of a job giving him a taste of his own medicine. I know, I know, other characters in other films have tumbled with their would be killer in but this was different and it came off as very r-e-a-l-i-s-t-i-c (which seems to be the magic word in this review). The effects were very well done for the minimal budget they had and the camera work was fantastic with some great outdoor shots.

It's sad really that one independent film is compared with those before it and that legitimate film makers like Rego have to work extra hard to be taken seriously in the industry. Yes, it's easy to tell the flakes from the real deal but a lot of the "real deals" never get the chance to show what they can do because of the hacks that don't take making a film seriously. He also doesn't resort to cheesy jump scares to frighten his audience. I watched this one while I was on bed rest after surgery. Loaded on pain meds, I accidentally fell asleep (nothing to do with the film whatsoever) and woke up mad at myself because I had missed a good chunk of the film. BUT, what I saw before I drifted off into my drug induced slumber made me want to see all of it so... when I wasn't so high, I popped it back in and gave it another go. I would recommend this film to any fan of the slasher genre. It's leaps and bounds better than other Indie slashers. I look forward to seeing more from Rego and his team.

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