Back of Box:
It's 10pm. The night before Walnut Lake's neighborhood supermarket closes its doors forever. The owners and night
crew have a long shift ahead of them...longer than they think! Ace check-out girl, Jennifer (played by "Lethal Weapon's"
Renee Estevez), has a deranged ex-boyfriend who's fresh out of prison. When he appears outside, weird things start happening.
The phone lines are cut, and the night crew starts dying...one by one, in the most gruesome ways imaginable.
An ex-cop is trying to find out who the killer is and what possessed him to start
the bloody rampage. But is it the ex-boyfriend or is it someone else?
Plot: First of all,
I want everyone to know that the Back of Box is way off. The film does not take place the night before
the store closes forever, actually it's like a week or more before. Jennifer is not played by Renee Estevez and there
is no ex-cop in the entire film. There's a bunch of cops, but not one ex-cop. With that being said, the rest
of the description is okay. There is an ex-boyfriend fresh out of prison and he may, or may not, be the one killing
the night crew in gruesome fashion. Nothing overly new, but this is one of the only slasher films I know of set
entirely in a supermarket so...thumbs up.
Acting: The acting
here is so-so. Renee Estevez and the Raimi brothers are delightful (As one would expect them to be). Bill (Danny
Hicks) and Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) range from incredibly stiff to surprisingly versatile...it's pretty much a hot mess, but
it hit when it counted (For the most part). By no means is the script here award winning, but it did
have a lot of dialogue that could've worked, had the cast stepped up a little bit.
Gore: Body Count (8) As
far as '80s slasher gore goes, this one is pretty much legendary. There is some extremely brutal stuff here and it truly
must be seen to be appreciated. Meat hooks, butcher knives, box crushers...it is awesome. A grocery store setting
makes for a lot of death instruments. My favorite is the poultry cutter. Check...It...Out!
Suspense: As the death
scenes get more elaborate the tension level rises. When it gets down to the final girl situation it delivers, which
is why I can overlook the less than satisfactory acting. The cat and mouse antics here reminded me of running through
a funhouse. I think the scene in the meat locker is the best.
Directing: Scott Spiegel
has a very unique style. He's all about the set up and execution, but he's extremely creative with the way he goes about
it. Shots from the inside of shopping carts and rotary dial phones, well timed zoom in and pull back
shots, and a hint of storytelling sarcasm. What's not to love?
Tech: I think
that the editing here was the most fun, upbeat and creative. The lighting was very clean and very competent. The
sound was very well done, considering the time period and the budget. The soundtrack was also very well done, and again
in a very playful, sarcastic sort of way.
Other: I reference
sarcasm a lot in this review and the main reason behind it is to point out the comedic aspect of this film. It's
not really too over the top, just a lot of tongue-in-cheek with a dash of irony...almost like they were being sarcastic about
the fact that they were making a slasher film. That self-irreverence really works for me and that's why I
had to mention it. My only big gripe with this film is that the ending is way too much. It plays out like a cartoon,
and a very disappointing one at that. It just doesn't work for me. I also still don't understand why Bruce Campbell
gets top billing for only being in two minutes of the film. I mean, I love the guy as much as any other Bruce Buff,
but really? Come on.
Final Word: All-in-all it's still a must
see. Aside from the staleness of some of the acting, this one is a winner. They just don't make 'em like this
anymore and it's a damn shame.