The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - DON'T LOOK | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - DON'T LOOK

don't look review
Hillbillies stalk a group of holidaying friends.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Luciana Faulhaber

Starring: Luciana Faulhaber, Javier E. Gomez, Lindsay Eshelman, Jeff Berg, Jarrod Robbins, Curtis K. Case

don't look poster

In the pre-credits gambit, a girl in sepia tones swings and sings before she’s interrupted by a gunshot. She walks into her house to find a man leaning over a gut-shot woman. "Look away," he says.

Now, whatever you’re imagining in your head is likely rendered far better than it is here, as this man is not even convincing saying two words, and the blood looks like jam from a donut.

After the credits we are introduced to the usual clichéd group of unlikely friends on their way to a weekend away. The car banter is forced and the camerawork often removes the tops of heads - quality!

don't look review

A gas station bathroom scene between two women is so shockingly wrongheaded I was floored to find this film was written and directed by women; just so you know: we barely talk while actively urinating, we don’t all put on lipstick immediately after leaving the cubicle and we all wash our hands!

The audience gets to know the ‘friends’ in the car as the loosely sketched caricatures of Ted the rich douche, Sebastián the wisecracking Latino, Lorena the hornbag,  Nicole the good girl (whose family home they are headed to) and her no-personality boyfriend Alex.

All these actors look to be around their mid-thirties, and none of them seem to be the kind of people who would even run in the same circles, let alone be friends.

The house, once they get there, is decorated like a Texan hunting lodge and seems perfect for a little stalk and kill action.

don't look review

Douche and Hornbag step into a garden shed for some nooky, find some sides of pork and spend an inordinate amount of time fascinated by the meat.

Then, after running into the woods, they find themselves confronted by the residing hillbillies who’ve been renting the meat laden cabin, and don’t approve of the rich kid intrusion.

When the hillbillies crash the evening’s thanksgiving dinner and Kelley the husband introduces his pigtailed babydoll-dressed wife as SherryBaby, it’s clear someone has watched too many Rob Zombie movies. Not to mention the obvious Texas Chain Saw Massacre influence that runs throughout the entirety of this movie.

The first death is a gross melding of sex and violence, only heightened by the many, many shots of lingerie clad and blood splattered Lorena as she walks about the house, being ogled by her so called friends and then by the camera as it zooms in to her half naked derriere in a throw away shot.

Once Nicole’s secret is out and the most likely killer turns out to be a red herring, it’s all downhill from there; though I admit I liked her friends berating her for not telling them about her life - really Nicole, work on your friendship game!

The ending is fairly sloppy and jumbled so I wasn’t entirely clear on what happened, but I did enjoy the twist.

don't look review

Co-written and directed by Luciana Faulhaber (who gives a patchy performance as Lorena) with writer Jessica Boucher, this is an inconsistent effort. Sometimes it embraces the silly, fun slasher this could have been but it mostly fails to capture the unique tone and frightening but irreverent mood of classic slashers such as Friday the 13th or Evil Dead. Cabin in the Woods this is not.

The cast does their best but the only real successes would be Jailey Heisick as SherriBaby, whose charisma lifts her above the material, and Javier E Gomez as Sebastian, who is clearly miscast here but still manages to bring some warmth to his character.

There are some nice nasty deaths but they aren’t enough to elevate the material into the '80s kitschy fun it is aiming for.

A cast of unlikable characters, uneven direction and a strangely masked killer don’t help the cause and neither does the tired homophobia and slut-shaming; but if you’re looking for a film that features a sex scene in which a blindfolded woman assumes blood spray is premature ejaculate, look no further.

For the rest of us, it's pretty ho hum.

Don't Look is on DVD/VOD now.

2019 movie reviews