Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mask Maker (2010)

Over and over again filmmakers are trying to recreate the good old days of slasher movies. They claim to bring back the gore and grittiness of the golden days, but the truth be told the only slasher-style movie who I consider really gritty was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and that one almost completely lacks gore. And there's very few of the other real slasher classics who actually are so gory as modern filmmakers claim. I mean, Hatchet 1 and 2 are extremely gory compared to the movies they claim to have been inspired by. That's why I was surprised by the quality of Mask Maker (aka Maskerade) from director Griff Furst. I read some comments on the dreaded IMDB and people complained about the lack of gore, but I'm not sure they're understand what they're talking about. This is by far the most retro-realistic of the new slashers I've seen.

Jennifer and Evan are a young couple trying to stay together, to survive the everyday problems of having a relationship. But Evan has a big surprise for Jennifer, a house! A real vintage American gothic house. Sure, he got it very cheap, but with a little bit of renovation it will make good business in the future. What they don't know is that outside in the nearby shrubbery, a killer is buried. A killer with a mask made of human skin. He's been kept there, dead, for years with some ancient native American magic - but of course some fool breaks this spell and now he's back in business, trying to take back what's his!

Yeah, Mask Maker is very generic - but what it overcomes that weakness with being well-made and having a very good cast of both newcomers and veterans. The newcomers, especially the leads Nikki Deloach and Stephen Colletti, are interesting enough to care about and are portrayed with charm and wits by the actors. No Oscars here, but better than many of the bigger budgeted genre movies I've seen recently. But the veteran cast is really the highlight, from Treat Williams in flashbacks to Terry Kiser (yes, Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's and the nasty Dr Crews in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood). But the best of the bunch is the brilliant Michael Berryman who is typecasted against his usual screen persona as a nice, gentle, smart and kind man. He's very good and it's so much fun to see him doing something different.

So, what about the gore? First of all, which is even more important, Furst really handles the murder-set-pieces very well. They are intensive and looks great. Clever editing that enhances the brutality on screen. The gore isn't that much different from any Friday the 13th movie from the eighties. Not mega-graphic, but it delivers some gore, blood and violence of good quality. Leonard, the name of the killer, is basically a mix of Leatherface, Myers and Voorhees, but kinda come off as creepy himself even if he's not that original.

Mask Maker is out from Njuta Films and it's a recommended buy!

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