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MOVIE REVIEW:  Frightworld

When I first popped in the prescreening DVD of the movie FRIGHTWORLD by Red Scream Films, and began watching the psychedelic flashes of gruesome torture and invading swat teams I thought I just might be in for something truly interesting. The first fifteen minutes of psycho-art directed gore told the tale of a serial killer with a taste for the twisted and the FBI agent (Michael Ciesla) who brought his reign of terror to an end. After being shot by the agent, the killer crawls away into an abandoned building to dissolve into a hissing puddle of black bones and fog. It was visually intense and disturbing with a superb usage of just about every special effect makeup technique available. Quick and brutal, it was over and I was left thinking that what I had witnessed was a unique short-film that would instantly become cult. If they had only seen to end it there…

When there is a lack of script or decent acting talent, a producer can always fill the remaining minutes with sex. Lots and lots of sex. This appears to be what David R. Williams and Mike Bohatch have chosen to do with their 2008 premiere. It was immediately obvious to me as the actual movie began that in the place of a truly unique script and actors that can, ahem…act, they chose instead to fill a large portion of the movie with overt sex scenes between the overly produced-looking group of alternative kids hanging out in the empty haunted house recently purchased by their friend Jack (Andrew Roth). But don’t let this lead you to believe that this is a “sexy” slasher film. The fumbling, drunken pawing these actors do to each other is hard to watch and makes me feel rather sad for any of their lovers in real life. Not only that, but it goes on and on, scene after scene, until you are simply begging for one of them to get the axe, literally. Which they do, one at a time, by the evil spirit of the dead serial killer Verden Fell (Gary Marzolf), risen to take revenge on a new set of unwitting souls, in typical slasher movie style.

What was most disappointing about screening this movie was the fact that Red Scream apparently had a very talented team of special effects and makeup artists at their disposal. Their wide range of skills was extremely evident and I hope that they are offered more substantial and credible opportunities in the future to display their abilities. With an ounce of originality to the script or even an iota of convincing delivery on the part of actors, FRIGHTWORLD could have been an extremely cult-worthy film. In fact, if they had followed the same bizarre sadistic art-pop direction they had utilized in the introduction before the opening credits, they definitely would have had a slick piece of memorable movie on their hands.

Instead, they opted for the lifeless porn aspect of the worst kind of slasher film known and, in turn, reduced what could have been an extremely creepy take on the haunted theme park into a sloppy, drunken screw in the backseat of a hearse. Then again, any movie that is an obvious marketing ploy for the opening of an actual theme park/haunted house (Eerie Productions, 2008) is always a bit suspect in my mind as to its artistic legitimacy.

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