Emmy-winning Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, stars in John Asher’s Wreckage, a loose ‘slasher’ flick that sets itself in a junkyard in the middle of nowhere with four friends and twisted killer. This film falls into the sub-genre category of b-movies, while never achieving a solid horror baseline, more of action thriller at times, with some suspense. However, in the this sub-genre, certain rules applies themselves to the films as to the audience relationship to them, and therefore one should never stray too far from them, especially for the dedicated die-hard fans to enjoy. Screenwriter David Frigerio’s simple storyline, and plot, and fulfills the checklist, with stranded couples, brutally attacked, unidentifiable murderer, and local police with clumsy attitudes. As character Randy, from the Scream (1996) stated, “There’s a formula to it. A very simple formula – everybody is a suspect.”
This formula applies herein too, and yet results in a wrong answer, in terms of the genre of slasher, the audience understand the method of killing, as the genre implies slashing but in Wreckage the prefer method – shooting. Next, item location, location means everything, where the atmospheric horror leaps to elaborate scares and killings occur and here again a junkyard. While, a junkyard works for a scene such in Thir13en Ghosts (2001) or Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), carrying-on for the entire film, feels more like Junkyard Dog (2010) though that film had the terrorizing drama. The location provides the battle zone, vastness of endless snow plains for The Thing to likely the best, and most relatable the fictional Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980) endless rooms and hallways, mixed with whiteout conditions and spooky woods. Filmmakers, those at the top of the genre and budding ones, understand familiar places ideally intended for great horror vehicles, to set the drama and suspense. The plot without alluding to spoilers starts with an 8-year-old boy shooting his mother’s drug dealing boyfriend and his mother, sentence to life in prison then an abrupt switch to Jared and ex-soldier and car guy, (Mike Erwin) with his fiancé Kate (Cameron Richardson of Harper’s Island fame). A quick introduction of the remaining center cast a pregnant, not showing or acting like it, Jessica (Kelly Kruger) with boyfriend and Jared’s best friend, Rick (Aaron Paul), join up so Jared can go drag racing. Nevertheless, this next item, hints to a small plot hole, as Jared races his 1969 Plymouth Road Runner against a 2006 Lotus Exige Type M117 and has a bit of engine trouble, his friends come walking into the shot, from out of nowhere, obviously Jared’s car got them all there, but their location relevant to Jared breaking down never explained. Then add-in a recently escaped convict randomizing crimes through the countryside and Rick toying around with handgun and slasher storyline starts fading fast. The bumble local sheriffs handing out assault weapons to civilians to hunt the grounds and eliminate threats, yes, we have left the slasher concept completely and venture into an action horror production. Alas, one-scene references a Final Destination conceptual kill scene with elements of surprise to offset the suspense; however, the rest becomes a routine shoot-out.
Asher hits all the technical aspects, with no dubbing, tight camera work and lighting, the pacing fits the storyline, with a significant handling of a plot twist, and yet struggles to give the audience reason or emotional care to the characters. Then the running, while on the surface 87 minutes looks 3-minutes short of the bare minimum of the required horror film not as a big-deal but take into factor the length of the opening credits and the actual film’s running time shrinks even more providing a quality SyFy movie.
A last note, the DVD promise a different advertised story, one with a tagline “The spare parts may be your own,” hinting to a torture porn genre film, and then with offering two variations on cover art, of two different women, one blonde with white clothing and one with black hair dressed in black clothing, suggesting good versus evil.
While some would suggest that the title Wreckage describe the film overall, as a broken down piece of film cliché, Asher’s film hints to his talents to present a PG horror film, that may not last in the minds of horror or b-movie fans, the budding fans of the genre will find it interesting.