The Movie Waffler New Release Review - FOUNDERS DAY | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - FOUNDERS DAY

Founders Day review
A small town mayoral election is disrupted by a series of killings.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Erik Bloomquist

Starring: Devin Druid, Naomi Grace, William Russ, Emilia McCarthy, Amy Hargreaves

Founders Day poster

Lovesick teenage lesbians Melissa and Alison are sharing a romantic moment on a bridge when one of them is brutally murdered by a person in a creepy mask. Welcome to Founders Day, a film that wants to embrace every slasher cliché under the sun and have fun doing it.

In the sleepy town of Fairwood there's an important mayoral election happening, but sitting mayor Blair Gladwell (Amy Hargreaves, 13 Reasons Why), in time-honoured Jaws-mayor tradition, has no intentions of cancelling the Founders day festival despite the murder the night before.

Founders Day review

The victim's father is none other than her political rival Harold Faulkner (Jayce Bartok, hamming it up) and he intends on ousting Mayor Gladwell from her place on the throne with his campaign for change.

There's teenage angst and infidelity within the core teenage friendship group, with regrets and hard feelings aplenty. Young Adam Faulkner (Devin Druid, so memorable in 13 Reasons Why, is charismatic in this role) flounders under his father's reputation and laments the loss of his relationship with Lily Gladwell, the daughter of his father's nemesis. Allison (Naomi Grace) dreams of leaving their small town and making something more of herself, but the killer seems to have other aspirations for her, killing those in her circle as he draws ever closer to her. With horny couple Britt and Tyler and bad boy Rob, not to mention the police who are hot on the killer's trail, there's more than enough interesting and well-drawn characters to get involved with before the killer gets to work whittling down the cast.

Founders Day review

Of course, being a slasher, it matters that things are handled well in the death department, and you can rest assured in that regard - the murders themselves are inventive and well-done, and utilising the many "tools" of justice and political support as weapons is a nice touch!

A horror ostensibly about politics, vanity and ego, this is mostly fun. I particularly loved the candy-eating world-weary Commissioner (Catherine Curtin of Orange is the New Black) – the script needed more of this character in my opinion; and the autumnal feel of the whole affair. What doesn't work for me is how I saw the killer's identity from the second they appeared onscreen; the earnest monologuing in the finale; and the length (at least 15 mins should have been shaved). There are also perhaps too many characters to do them all justice, but that's a minor quibble.

This is extremely well made with an obviously confident director in Erik Bloomquist (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Carson Bloomquist) and some inspired cinematography from Mike Magilinick. In fact, from the sound to the sets to the music, nothing indicates that this is low budget.

Founders Day review

I especially enjoyed the soundtrack as well as the individual songs chosen to play throughout the movie, and the awesome animated end credits.

This reminds me of Scream in its young cast and wry humour, but it also harks back to many horrors of the '90s with its story structure and look.

A solid effort, I'm sure this will appeal to anyone lamenting the lack of fun-but-not-dumb slashers that aren't ugly or mean spirited.

As far as recent slashers go, this one gets my vote!

Founders Day is on UK/ROI VOD from April 29th.