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New Release Review (VOD) - WTF!

wtf! movie review
A survivor of a massacre relives her horror while on a break in a remote cabin.







Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Peter Herro

Starring: Callie Ott, Nicholas James Reilly, Andrea Hunt, Benjamin Norris, Sarah Agor, Perez Hilton

wtf! poster

Three years ago - in that oft used horror trope, a cabin in the woods - Rachel’s friends were murdered, leaving her the final girl survivor. Now, having moved on and in a new life, her freshly-minted friends suggest a spring break sojourn to, you guessed it, a cabin in the woods. Rachel, determined to overcome her fears, reluctantly agrees.

Surely lightning cant strike twice?

wtf!

Essentially a slasher walking in the very heavy footsteps of classics such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and, most obviously, Friday the 13th, WTF! hits all the notes you expect but then follows it up with a neat twist that gives this movie a unique spin. I saw half of the twist coming but not the entirety of it, and it's nice to be surprised by something as well worn and comfortable as the slasher genre.

In his first feature length movie, director Peter Herro shows an astute awareness of the genre and its tropes; when to play them for laughs and when to embrace and exploit them. The framing device - police interview interludes - works well and gives body to a thin story; and the dimly lit horror scenes add atmosphere and mask any low budget issues.

Some deaths worked (the women), and some didn’t (the men).

This film features a quality soundtrack that effectively builds the atmosphere; the effects are serviceable and mostly work well; establishing shots are used, which is a total hooray moment for an indie horror as they always seem to be one of the first things to fall by the wayside, and yet they are so vital to a well grounded film.

The opening and closing credits are expertly done and are well worth the price of admission - clever and cool, I dug them!

wtf!

The only slight issue is that cast.

Don’t get me wrong; no one is terrible, but it is certainly amateur hour here and that’s a shame as this film would get a much higher score with a more believable and charismatic cast. The three female leads are all reasonable but nothing special. Basically two party girls and a girl-next-door (Rachel) are not characters designed to stretch your abilities, but the actresses universally manage to make some lines sound as if read directly from the script. The males fared better with their lines but are bland and interchangeable characters for me.

Callie Ott, who plays Rachel, struggles with the emotional range she has been asked to express and so sometimes comes off as disingenuous. However, I suspect this is more to do with lack of experience and confidence, and I’m sure she will do much better in further movie roles.

The standout is Benjamin Norris as Jacob, a cool likable character portrayed by an actor with bags of screen appeal - this guy should have a great future ahead of him, as he elevated every scene he was in.

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The script (by Herro, Adam Buchalter and Christopher Centanni) is fun and gory and ridiculous; I have to say, I liked it a lot.

It’s a bare bones plot, as these types of simple horrors often are. Horror doesn’t need to be complicated to scare you, and in fact the most effective horrors often do have a plot that can be described in one or two lines.

Does this film scare? No.

But it does impress, and that is something to brag about.

WTF! is on VOD August 1st.



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