Back of Box:
The town of Shady Grove holds many dark secrets. Amongst those secrets is the sadistic tale of "Shane," a boy who was
tortured and chained to a tree as a youngster. Legend has it that for years he survived in the woods all alone until
one day he managed to escape. Now, damaged and broken, he wanders those woods in search of blood, with his trademark
chains fused to his wrists. Despite years of tales and urban myths, no proof of his existence has ever been discovered,
until five unsuspecting teens reveal the truth on an ill-fated trip.
Plot: Shady Grove is just
your average small town, and, like every small town, Shady Grove has a campfire legend of its own. This legend's name
is Shane. When Shane was young he saw his father murder his mother and her lover and, for various reasons,
got chained to a tree for a long time. So long, in fact, that the chains fused to his wrists. Well, someone
found Shane and let him loose and now he's free to seek revenge on the town that turned their backs. Throw
in your quintessential group of college kids in the wrong place at the wrong time and you've got a slasher fan's wet dream.
The main story isn't overly original; teens, road trip, breakdown, weird circumstances, death...the standard (But
how original can you really get now-a-days, as far as basics are concerned anyway). The thing
that makes this one stand out is the back story. The flashbacks in this film really hold everything together and
add this really sinister feel. The flashbacks also work for the film because they add an extraordinary depth and personality
to an already captivating killer. The only thing that let me down here was the overly obvious twist
and the lack of emphasis between the early flashbacks and the family connection. I don't mind the occasional "I
Totally Called It," but if that's the way you're going to go then commit because the "Where The Hell Did
That Come From" doesn't do it for me. Otherwise this film is on point...which is a lot more than I can
say about most others lately.
Acting: It was nice to
see a largely Latino cast, very refreshing and it even added to the authenticity of the film's Florida location.
The only downside is that sometimes accents can hinder performances and stilt line delivery, but that's a small gripe
because the cast, for the most part, is very likeable. Cecilia Huete as Maria was very genuine and I loved Eddy
Acosta's Diego character. The real stand out here, though, is Adam Leadbeater, he out-shines everyone and it's
almost effortless. The only "unlikable" in this film, for me, was Cristina (Vivi Pineda), just an annoying
bitch of a character...but we all know what happens to those kind of characters. In the end it all works
out (Nothing personal, just not for me).
Gore: Body Count (20)
Well, if there's one thing we've come to expect from modern slasher films, it would definitely be gore factor.
With such an ambitious body count one might be thrown off, but rest assured that every single one of those bodies delivers
on the red stuff. The killer has an affinity for chains, which is fun, but he also carries around a very interesting
knife that he uses to it's full potential. The murder weapon list also includes a baseball bat, a rock, and, the
pinnacle, a Guitar Hero game controller. If your into slashers for the death scenes, this film brings it.
Suspense: As the film
progresses the death scenes become more elaborate and intense. The flashbacks come back into play here too, they're
so vivid that sometimes they can be quite disturbing. In fact, because the final "twist" hinders the film's momentum
it's nice that the flashbacks stand strong. I also commend Jason Daly's use of imagery and setting. The whole
film was hypnotizing.
Directing: You know,
it's very rare that I have much to say in this section. There are director's that I just love and that everyone can
gush about for hours or despise and bash for days, but then there are directors that have that something more that deserves
to be talked about. Jason Daly is one of those directors. What Jason Daly has done with this film is
very interesting. Quick cuts, rhythmic edits, abstract close-ups, his style is very distinctive and I think he brought
the "hip" back to the slasher film. Daly even manages to make my least favorite character enthralling. The
POV music video scene Cristina had in the bathroom was top notch. Daly has an eye for things that slasher fans
haven't seen before and I think they're really going to enjoy it.
Tech: The lighting gets
the majority of my praise here. I don't have one complaint about how dark it was, every light just seemed to fit.
The sound got a little loud now and then, but that's better than it being too quite. The soundtrack was very upbeat
and fun. The modern alternative music also complimented Jason Daly's style perfectly. Even the editing gets
a nod. The flow took some getting used to, but it really is effective.
Other: If anyone was
worried, there are boobs in this film. In fact, there's more than enough tits to satisfy and even a little humor
with some of them (The opening scene made me laugh until I cried). When someone sees someone else covered in
blood and their breasts are bare the first logical thing to do is put your shirt on. Not here...and for that I thank
you. The killer is great. The back story, weapon of choice and even the mask ooze originality. I'd
also like to mention the Florida setting, it was put to great use and I couldn't be happier about it.
Final Word: Finally, a modern slasher that gives
us something new. Finally, someone behind the camera that isn't afraid to do something different. Finally, something
for slasher fans to talk about. Florida has something new to fear...and its name is Shane.