One of the most asked questions when it comes to horror films is why do people just hang around the haunted house, killer’s lair, etc waiting to be killed, why don’t they just leave. Mike Mendez’s new film has a novel reason, they’re hostages after a bank robbery goes wrong. And one of them is “The Windows Killer”, a prolific serial killer who takes his victim’s eyes as trophies.
It’s actually a pretty slick idea, a run down looking bank branch is closing down, with only a skeleton staff to handle the last few customer withdrawals. However it’s also a front for the Mexican cartels, and there’s a hundred million in cash stashed there. There’s also another stash, a collection of eyeballs who’s owner has arrived minutes before the highly armed robbers. Things go wrong and it turns into a hostage situation with everyone trapped inside to provide prey for the killer.
Henry Rollins as a serial killer, (not a spoiler, the film gives it away almost immediately) is a great bit of casting, and with his low key approach and humorless smile he is chilling. Unfortunately the film itself is a mess. The plot relies on improbable coincidences and plot holes like his randomly showing up to make a deposit as the branch is closing, the one person who can identify the leader of the robbers even in a mask, (his estranged brother), just happening to work there and picking up some OT on what would have been his day off, supposedly expert criminals forgetting to take a hostage’s cell phone so they can text the police, etc. Between that and the decision to reveal the killer’s identity from the start instead of playing it for suspense the script by Guy Stevenson just keeps shooting itself in the foot. Director Mendez certainly makes the most of the film’s action scenes, (give or take some obvious CGI blood splatter), especially in the last act when everything turns into a frenzy of double crosses and shoot outs. But even that can’t get the film over it’s plot problems. Mendez is a talented director, Big Ass Spider, The Convent and Gravedancers proved that, but after the disappointing Lavalantula this isn’t the comeback I was hoping for.
As mentioned Rollins is effective as the Windows Killer though at times he seems a bit too superhuman. The rest of the cast ranges from solid Torrance Coombs as the gang’s leader Paul and genre staple Kristina Klebe as Tracy to wasted, Nick Principe who has nothing to do except show off his ink and look big and scary as Biggs.
In the end The Last Heist isn’t a terrible film, but it’s not really a good one either. It never really builds the suspender it needs from it’s serial killer plot although the robbery plot line does give a few good twists near the end. Maybe they should have ditched the killer element and done a straight thriller, or conversely, dumped a few of the robbery oriented sub plots and concentrated on the killer. Instead the film is a hybrid that doesn’t really work.
If you’re a fan of Henry Rollins this could be worth a watch, for others it could be pretty dull going.