Alan Smithee is the pseudonym used by directors when they feel the studio has interfered with heir to the point they don’t want to be associated with it, seeing Alan listed as the director of a film is not a good sign. On the other hand, seeing two genre icons like Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley cast as psychopathic brothers is a sign that the film could still deliver the goods. So I decided to give it a chance.
Old 37 is the tale of two brothers who decide to follow in their father’s footsteps. He took them along with him in his ambulance when he went to answer calls for help. Of course he would torture and kill any survivors he found rather than help them while the kids watched. The opening scenes were actually disturbing enough that I had hopes for the rest of the film, sadly it goes downhill fast.
The first hour of the film is all drama, we learn about the two brothers and their backstory while the victims to be are involved in Dawson’s Creek type soap opera. None of it is very interesting and didn’t need to be dragged out as long as it is. It could have been handled in half the time and then make way for the killings, this is a horror film after all.
Once the killings start the film does pick up, but after an hour of boring exposition I just didn’t care about the characters or what happened to them. The effects are certainly excellent and done in old school, non CGI fashion. There’s a junkyard crucifixion scene that’s particularly nasty, but the killing that should have been a highlight actually happens off screen, (possibly as a cheat to allow a character to return for a sequel). If they had started the carnage earlier, even working it in with the soap opera sub plots, the rather brutal violence and effective effects could have raised Old 37 up a few notches, instead it looked good and got my attention, but there was no connection, no response beyond “Nice effect”.
Hodder and Moseley do their thing and do it well, but by this point we’ve seen them do it a million times, they can’t carry the film by itself. The rest of the cast tries it’s best, but the script gives them little to work with. An unexpected bright spot is provided by Brandi Cyrus who is indeed Miley’s sister but that’s it.
Apparently the director was Christian Winters who is best known as an editor. I haven’t been able to find anything on why he took his name off the film. Possibly there’s a much better cut of this that the producers meddled with. If there is we can only hope it surfaces some day. There’s no classic hidden in here, but there could have been a solid, nasty slasher. As it stands it might be worth a watch on NetFlix or id a friend has rented it, but I wouldn’t spend money on it.