Director – Don Coscarelli
Cast – Bree Turner, Angus Scrimm, John DeSantis, Ethan Embry, Heather Feeney
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Don Cascorelli made a name for himself with the popular Phantasm franchise, an idea which came to him in a dream(pretty creepy huh?). After showing the genre he can do more than the “Phantasm” flicks when he gave us the Bruce Campbell starring Bubba Hotep in 2002, he showed he still has the goods with this “Masters of Horror” entry. Sure to please the “real” men out there who dig anything regarding survivalism and mountain-man antics, this is one flick that gives us a pretty interesting plot with some nice horror.
This flick stars Bree Turner as Ellen, a women traveling solo through winding roads alongside a mountain. While giving her driving attention to her radio she hits a parked car, and after regaining consciousness comes into contact with a deranged killer dragging a screaming woman. The killer decides to give the majority of his attention to Ellen, and sends her on a chase through the mountainous terrain. Ellen must now use the survival tricks and tactics she learned from her cruel and overbearing boyfriend. A skill set she never thought she would ever need…
Being the manly man that I am(heh), I enjoyed this film’s survivalist element. I think even those with no interest in such things would find that element in this film pretty engulfing given we see this chick get somewhat Macgyver-esque with the traps she sets to stop this killer, credited as “Moonface”. This helped a lot with this film’s pacing because it kept me glued to the screen watching her set up these pretty impressive traps. I also enjoyed that we were given flashback scenes showing the struggles she went through with her survival-obsessed boyfriend as he tried to train her in such things. Seeing her finally have a need, and an appreciation, for the things she learned from him was a nice touch given she hated him for it. Conflict well done in my opinion. Storywise this is one of my most enjoyed entries into the “Masters of Horror” genre, and would personally love to see a storyline like this turned into a full length feature film. Will it happen? With the right writer, it sure is possible. We don’t get any information whatsoever on the background of Moonface, and I personally liked that because this killer was pretty sweet and the mystery element just adds to that. Seeing his graveyard of scarecrow-esque corpses hanging about was a nice touch, as was his tactic of drilling holes through the person’s eye sockets. Yup, awesome. But wait, there’s more. As if this film couldn’t sound any cooler, we get a climax I never saw coming. One so dark and horrific you will not forget it.
Don Cascorelli’s direction was well done, and showed the guy has what it takes to make a good film outside of his “Phantasm” series. The sets were awesome; dark, gloomy, and foggy. Do you need anything more than that for a film like this? Not at all. He did not stray away from the gore either, and laid it on pretty good during the scenes in Moonface’s lair. My favorite aspect though had to be the visuals we get when we are shown Moonface’s graveyard. Wow. It is rare we get anything remotely creepy like that nowadays, and it bleeds classic horror with the foggy atmosphere around it.
Overall, this is an awesome entry into the “Masters of Horror” series that I recommend to all fans of the genre, and those familiar with Don Cascorelli’s work. With its awesome plot and nice visuals, this was a real treat to watch.
– I ranked this #8 out of the 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.