A high school girl and her bullying peers are terrorized by an escaped psychotic killer who is more than meets the eye.
I read the description – “a high school girl and her bullying peers are terrorized by an escaped psychotic killer” – and I was like, YEAH!!! I do so love watching mean girls getting slashed to pieces. Does my little black heart good.
But there’s much more to this than a simple revenge fantasy flick. In fact, I think Shamalan could learn a thing or two from how a twist ending is actually done, as opposed to the Scooby Doo BS he has whipped out in recent years.
Let’s back up a bit, shall we?
Today’s film is SUSPENSION (2015), starring Ellen MacNevin as Emily, the daughter of a man who…well, they don’t really say, but apparently did some really awful stuff. Emily lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, so it’s not something she can easily live down.
Our story opens with a dominatrix called Paula (Lisa Ovies) who has an alleged serial killer in a dog kennel and is torturing him by request via Twitter. Alas, he gets loose and well…let’s just say it doesn’t end well for her. Total gore in the first five minutes is always a good sign in my opinion.
OH! But this is only the first misdirection for the film! See, actually this is only happening in a gruesome Frank Miller-esque comic book that Emily is drawing in class. That’s right, Emily is drawing her own revenge fantasy and gets caught. Her freaky born-again Christian teacher (Chilton Crane) catches her working on it and tries to confiscate the book.
Meanwhile, school mean girl Theresa (Courtney Paige Theroux) saw the whole thing. Did I mention Theresa is dating Jason (Steve Richmond), Emily’s childhood friend? Anyway, Theresa and a couple of her stooges corner Emily in the girl’s bathroom, shove her head down the potty, and make her admit on video she is crazy. Ouch. Not long before the whole school sees that.
So now suspended from school, covered in potty water, and really wanting to be invisible, it just gets worse for Emily as her mother doesn’t turn up after school to take her home. The sheriff just happens to be there, so he gives her a ride.
This is also the night of a huge party hosted by Frank (Rustin Gresiuk), which Emily’s friend Carrie (Taylor Russell) really wants to attend. She tries to convince Emily to go with her, but Emily insists she must stay home with her little brother Jeremy (Connor Fielding) while her mom works.
Now the stage is set – Theresa is a bitch, Carrie went to the party alone, Jason learns his girlfriend is torturing his child hood friend, and Emily is home alone with her little brother when……
HA! I’m totally not telling you. Just not gonna do it.
This film was quite extraordinary. I expected a half-hearted bloodfest, half naked girls in various states of agony, that sort of thing. No, this was a well thought out story, and well executed. I actually didn’t work out what was going on until the last 15 minutes or so, and I am surprised it took me so long. The clues are there all along, if you know what to look for. I may watch it again just to see what I may have missed.
This is a slasher film, so of course lots of blood spray. Most of the special effects seem to be practical, perhaps a bit cartoony, but completely within the acceptable limits. The characters are interesting as well, which is not something one finds in this sort of film. We’re not talking Citizen Kane here or anything, but it really is a lot of fun.
So in short…
good gory fun for the whole family…well, maybe if you’re the Addams family….
Just watch it. Trust me. Loved it a lot.
On a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 9 graphic pencils.