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Film Review: Discopath (2013)

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SYNOPSIS:

The mid-70’s: a timid young New Yorker leads an uneventful life until he is fatefully exposed to the pulsating rhythms of a brand-new genre of music: disco. Unable to control his murderous impulses that stem from a traumatic childhood experience, Duane Lewis transforms into a dangerous serial killer exiled to Montreal.

REVIEW:

From Durango films and writer/director Renaud Gauthier, this 2013 release sets the stage for a maniacal serial killer in 1976. Duane Lewis (Jérémie Earp-Lavergne) sees his music loving father die of electricution from a poorly wired sound sysytem. From that tragic moment in his childhood forward, the sound of drum and bass makes him go a little nuts. He associates the sound of music with death, and if it doesn’t happen on its own, he’ll make sure it does.

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Our story doesn’t start there, though. We first meet Duane working at a greasy spoon in New York City. And not doing a very good job, by the way. Some guys roll in with a boombox and the disco sounds emanating from it distract him to the point that he gets fired.

During the “walk of shame” home after losing his job, he meets a pretty young roller skater who takes him home, loans him her father’s clothes, and escorts him out to the local discotecque…you know, like you do when meeting random strangers while roller skating. How could this possibly end badly?

Well, it does, of course. And after that Duane steals the wallet of the club owner (I don’t know how…just go with it) and grabs a last minute, one way flight to Canada…like you do.

Then we come back to the story four years later, in 1980. Duane now appears to be deaf (again…just go with it) and he works at an all-girls catholic college in Quebec. Fixing the public address system….(I KNOW!!)

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All those pretty young girls in school uniforms…listening to the Devil’s music….how can this possibly go wrong? I’m sure you’ve already worked that out, so….

The bodies pile up, and people go missing. Cops in Quebec and New York start putting the pieces together. Now it’s a race against time to catch the “Disco Killer” before he claims any more victims.

I gotta be honest – when I saw the title of this film, I got really excited. Sounded like a piece of trash right up my alley. Well, it is but it isn’t. A lot of missteps on this production, simple things that could have made this a much more worthy waste of 81 minutes.

That’s where I’ll start – the run time. A good 20 minutes could have been shaved off this thing and it would have brilliant. So many segments that just drag on…and on…and on….takes too long to get to the good stuff.

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The good stuff is worth the wait, FYI. Some amazing shock sequences –

The first on-screen kill, stalking the victim under the lighted raised dance floor and killing her most heinously while the club patrons dance blissfully unaware above.

Two college girls, having a tryst together in the college dorm, suddenly turned into bloody Cenobites in a blink of an eye.

A very stylisitc kill under strobe lights, on live television, as the killer takes out a lead dancer during a dance show broadcast.

the killer attacking a funeral procession with a car while dressed as a nun, throwing the body of the young, nubile victim out of the casket and giving us an awesome moment of “fan service”. If you don’t know what fan service is, Google it.

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The gore is minimal, but really well done. I won’t even go into the “two turntables and a microphone” sequence. You’ll just have to see that one for yourself.

The score is really fun. The dynamic sequences use established disco hits, such as “I was Made For Loving You” by KISS, “I’m Your Boogeyman” by KC and the Sunshine Band and my personal favorite, “Flight ’76” by Walter Murphy. It’s a disco version of Flight of the Bumble bee and man, is it a blast!

Flight ’76 is a running theme throughout the film. The incidental score by Bruce Cameron does an amazing job of reflecting this theme. This is his only film credit, and I would hope that his subtle work here will lead him to other work in the industry.

The cast is unknown to me, most of them being either one-time actors in this film or part of the Canadian film and tv circuit. Did I mention the film was shot entirely in Quebec? Half of the film is in French Canadian with subtitles. Another misstep, in my opinion, as the subtitles are white on white and hard to read.

There are a fair amount of stand out performances in the cast, the lead actor as Duane being one of them. This is his only listed credit.

One of the detectives from New York is played by Christian Paul, who some may recognize as a video game voice talent, but he also appears on camera in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,  Satan’s School for Girls and the remake of Death Race 2000.

On the whole, this is a classic period piece 70s slasher flick. The costumes, make up, and hair really sell the time period it is set in. Even the film quality speaks to that era, although I wonder if that is on purpose or just a side effect of being a low budget film.The story itself gets a bit disjointed from time to time, and can get a little confusing, especially towards the end. It’s not great, but there are moments of greatness in it.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 6 bell bottom trousers.

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