'The Barber' (VOD)
(Scott Glenn, Chris Coy, Stephen Tobolowsky, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Kristen Hager, et al / VOD / R / 2015 / Arc Entertainment)
Overview: 'The Barber' examines two men fixated on what triggers the enormity of evil: a father whose life is destroyed in pursuit of a monster, a son caught in a deadly charade as he tries to unravel his fathers obsession.
DVD Verdict: Eugene van Wingerdt (the always impressive, imposing Scott Glenn) is a small-town barber hiding a dark secret. Twenty years back he was arrested for several gruesome murders, but was released due to insufficient evidence. The detective in charge of the case killed himself in despair, his young son not only hearing the shot, but sadly investigating its origins in the front room of the family house.
Now the detective’s son (who is also a detective) is in the same town that Eugene van Wingerdt aka Francis Visser has resided/hidden for the past 20 years. 'The Barber' starts slow, but escalates quickly when John McCormack (Chris Coy) makes us wonder if he is simply seeking revenge - or hoping to learn from the master.
In truth, 'The Barber' contains a lot of what you would expect from such a premise outlined above. That said, there are some fine twists, plenty of red herrings, and some culminating made-you-think moments also. However, Glenn as Eugene van Wingerdt aka serial killer Francis Visser is never not that same man to us. He plays it off at the start, to both McCormack and, probably, himself, but within half an hour of the movie and you can see the evil seeping through his skin.
Stephen Tobolowsky as Chief Hardaway, van Wingerdt's best buddy is a role he was made for. Never underplayed, never overplayed, Tobolowsky is a gem in this role of a small town police man always thinking he is much, much more within the police system. However, Kristen Hager as McCormack's girlfriend; and also fellow detective, Audrey is a worthless role, for sure. Primarily dressed in hooker outfits, one can only assume she works Vice, but when she packs that same outfit to travel to the same small town to help her boyfriend "capture" van Wingerdt, well, it gets a bit silly.
Aside from the fact that van Wingerdt hasn't gotten away with having committed all those murders by luck, the past 20 years he's honed his skills to the point that coming out of "retirement" wouldn't be that hard; moreover, he can smell a set up a mile away. Max Arciniega as Luis, van Wingerdt's barber shop trainee, is a nice touch, although he flares up as we progress and starts to get annoying. However, Olivia Taylor Dudley as Kelli, the diner waitress does a great job, and director Basel Owies has definitely brought us a nice first time feature.
In closing, 'The Barber' - which opens with a gypsy proverb: "You have to dig deep to bury your father" - is a great, dark, and suspenseful hour and a half's ride, but if you can't figure out what the actual real ending will obviously be around the hour mark, then this must be your first time to this darkly-suspenseful rodeo, my friend!