This is one of the harder reviews to report, as it is a limited cast with obvious direction to the actual killer that spoils the revelation, nevertheless the classic storytelling of a well-adjusted tale, and shows what independent filmmakers such as Joe Stauffer bring forth with minimal sources and quality concepts. Joe served as both director and co-screenwriter with David Long, and providing a clear representation for his passion of film. Often absent of indie torture-porn, lies the steady pacing, that aspect was not overlooked, in fact the scenes come across in tight surgical precision shots, framed excellently for the viewer. Stauffer, as typical in a meager production wore multiple hats successfully, as editor and most definitely the cinematographer whose vision generated refreshing twisted angles and over-the-top perverse dark humor.
The plot, without exposing too much, involves Charlotte (Kristi Ray) an aspiring actress who sadly cannot achieve a positive audition, and works at an underrated pitiful strip club as a waitress, struggling in an unhappy relationship with her mother (Barbara Weetman). One night of leaving her dead end job, she stumbles upon David (David Long), beaten and bloodied in an back alley, and finds out in the moment of kindness that he is a filmmaker working on a project and promises her a leading role in his film. David showed as an organized and cunning individual whose film, suckers in all types with understanding of showing society’s brutality of feeding on the gullible who seek advancement in life. Kristi truly pulls at the heartstrings, and wins the audience into caring about her plights, dreams, and agonies. Meanwhile, Barbara (who starred in Jessabelle (2014)), shows her character, Mary, as unsympathetic, chimney smoking booze hound, and actually portrays herself in a worst light than the freaky killer, David.
David’s character appears natural, not forced, warm, accepting, a person to have a beer with, although, one should never take their eyes off the drink and keep David at arms’ length. His performance at times reflected Christopher Walken’s role in True Romance (1993) when he interacts in a jovial moment with Dennis Hopper, before pulling a 180, and snapping into a nasty gear, just as David did often in the movie. David takes great joys in tormenting and ultimately killing his victims in wondrous styles each time shot beautifully by Joe, capturing elements overlooked by experienced directors of larger budgets and film productions. One must note, that in repeated viewings, David appears extremely overly comical with some of the lines of dialogue speaks, a deadpan mood creeps onto the scenes.
When viewing independent films one is unsure what the results might show, however, this film shines through with genuine style, providing a superior product for audiences, sinking its hooks into them, with the craft and an intelligent screenplay. The actors created a true sense of purpose, under Stauffer’s direction, there appeared natural chemistry and even conveying a queasy unsureness of impending situational horrors. As often found in a tiny budget, errors expose themselves in the sound quality and angles of limited cameras neither of these present themselves, in this stellar attribute of filmmaking. The imagines, covered brutality, never look amateurish, showing a true rare talent the carries over to believable exchanges of dialogue and convincing actions from villain to victim.
In addition, a key attribute often overlook on indie projects, comes from the special effects department, herein supplied confidently by Tony Rosen, using practical effects on a next-to-nothing budget, for conjuring stunning gore moments. His talents showed dark innovations and melded wonderfully into the straightforward storytelling, of Stauffer, and drew the audience into the trap before unleashing blood-splattering passions across the screen.
This is the type of horror, that fans crave and seek out, so often to come away hungry for the darkest scenes to vizierate the human soul, many desire this creation for many, now found and provided by director Joe Stauffer. This production holds elements close to the infamous film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and yet opposed to Michael Rooker’s Henry as a nihilistic, David more charismatic in both everyday interactions and his homicidal gleeful rage. This movie definitely captures the attention and eye of the most dedicated horror fans, as a must see picture, forewarned that not everyone will enjoy this chilling choice of cinematography.
Since the release of this film, a sequel commenced with independent funding entitled A Missing Piece (2015). Some wonder if the same belief from actors will arise again, that it was a snuff film? That just goes to show the convincing ability of both Joe Stauffer and David Long.