Evan has the perfect birthday present for Jennifer, his investment-minded girlfriend: a sweet old fixer-up home with a lot of land he bought for a steal. But the home has a deadly history that the locals know all too well, a history they refuse to speak of. Evan, Jennifer and their friends, who have arrived to help celebrate Jenniferâ€™s birthday, are about to learn it for themselves.
Directed by Griff Furst
Starring: Nikki Deloach, Stephen Colletti, Annabella Casanova, Michael Berryman, Treat Williams
Best line of the movie: â€śSmells like Satanâ€™s balls in here.â€ť
Mask Maker is a movie youâ€™ve seen beforeâ€¦almost. It takes a big bite out of the classic slasher genre and has all the trappings youâ€™d expect: college aged characters played by bona fide grown-ups, a soulless, and faceless (literally) killer, and a predictable storyline. It had plenty of good kills in all the scenarios in which youâ€™d expect to see them: after sex restroom break, after sex restroom break â€śhey youâ€™re not my boyfriendâ€ť wearing only panties and a skimpy top, naked in the bathtub, etc. It even took the â€śif I wear the killerâ€™s momâ€™s clothes I can trick him into thinking he doesnâ€™t really want to kill meâ€ť thing from â€śFriday the 13th Part 2â€ť. But in spite of those things, it also had some nice touches.
While it is â€śCollege Friends Vacationing in Slashervilleâ€ť, the college friends are post-grads so weâ€™re spared the juvenile banter that fuels such movies. Theyâ€™ve already done the Spring Break, get drunk and have frivolous sex thing, and are now poised to face life in actuality. This is refreshing to watch. The screenwriter, Eric Miller, did really well in this arena, writing a script that didnâ€™t make me think I somehow missed out on an entire era of my life by not experiencing the party days of moron college students (though, now that I think about it, maybe seeing them get eviscerated is part of the appeal of these movies to begin with). Contrary to the norm, the dialogue here is natural and unobtrusive which allows the actors to develop their characters organically. Itâ€™s almost like watching â€śThe Big Chillâ€ť, the dialogue and the character relationships are that good. Actually, itâ€™s like watching the love child of â€śThe Big Chillâ€ť and any number of slasher icons over the years, specifically Leatherface (the use of other peopleâ€™s faces), Michael Myers (impossible to kill), and as mentioned before, Jason Vorhees (dead mother vengeance). I suppose if youâ€™re going to so liberally borrow (steal?) from horror icons, those are the ones youâ€™d want to choose. I think my problem with it is that it comes off like they watched â€śBehind the Mask; The Rise of Leslie Vernonâ€ť, used all of his rules and made a movie. I was reminded of this movie when the Mask Maker easily caught up to his sprinting victims time and again with no more effort than a briskly paced walk.
Mask Maker is no doubt a well made film. Itâ€™s shot well, casted well, and the special effects are up to par with anything out there. Even the soundtrack is well done. I can also gauge how much Iâ€™m enjoying a movie by noticing the times I cry out, â€śNICE!â€ť in reaction to a particularly gruesome kill or well placed â€śGotcha!â€ť (thatâ€™s what I call those moments in a horror flick that make me jump out of my pants. It comes from the old Jabberjaws cartoon with the shark that didnâ€™t eat people, just scared the crap out of them by jumping out of the water and yelling, â€śgotcha.â€ť What a great cartoon that wasâ€¦), and I cried out, â€śNICE!â€ť on a couple occasions. I only hope the same group of writers, actors, and crew members will come together again and do something more original. Weâ€™ve seen this one before.