'Lost After Dark'
(Robert Patrick, David Lipper, Alexander Calvert, et al / DVD / NR / 2015 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Overview: In this clever homage to 80's slasher films, a group of teenagers looking to party get stranded when their ride breaks down, and end up being stalked by a cannibalistic killer.
DVD Verdict: Directed by Ian Kessner, a man born in Montreal, Canada and who moved to New York after graduating in Cinema Studies from the University of Western Ontario, yes, he might well still be a newbie to this directing thing, but the man who then went on to NYU's summer film program and directed 'Gone Fishin' certainly knows his 80's horror/slasher camera angles, that's for sure!
Also a writer for the movie, 'Lost In Dark' is, as the Overview explains, simply an homage to 80's slasher films, where a group of clueless teenagers looking to party get stranded when their stolen bus ride breaks down ... and, before you know it, they are being knocked off, one by one by a cannibalistic killer! So yeah, shot using crazy 80's color lighting, abstract camera angles, weird, close ups of mouth's wide open screaming in terror (males and females), and cheesy lines delivered with a diligent throwback swagger, 'Lost After Dark' IS definitely everything that it says on the label - and more!
From the off you know you're in for something special, given that the Principal of the school is Robert Patrick ('T2')! But, there is a major mistake at the start of the movie, and one that, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why they kept in. You see, we start off in 1988, in Michigan, at the house of death, so to speak, and then after a quick killing, move forward to Bloomfield, Michigan in 1984 ... but the title that comes up on screen clearly states BROOMFIELD, MI!! If you still haven't gotten it, the real city is called B(l)oomfield, the title stated B(r)oomfield!
Anyway, moving on, as there's another mistake when after the kids steal a school bus (well, it was actually the fat young Josh Gadd lookalike who crossed the wires to do it) the same night as their school Spring Ball, along the country road journey to a cabin owned by the father of one of the girls on board, one of the guys swaps out a cassette for a rap cassette; but the tape we see is Mr. Big's 'Lean Into It,' from 1991 (actually to be released some seven years after this film was meant to be set!) Hmmmm, perhaps with everything going on in the world this month, they simply went "back in time," so to speak?
Anyway, moving on, once again, and the school bus runs out of gas, the kids walk to a seemingly deserted old house. Entering unto it, one kid turns to the group and says, "The f**king house is a death trap," and sadly for him and his friends, he couldn't have been more correct! And so, yep, very quickly, one by one, they are killed off! That said, the first one to go is definitely the least expected of the bunch, that's for sure. Indeed, and on that note, the cast of teens really make this movie work, because (as mentioned before), they are working with a script that's oozing cheese to begin with, and yet delivering lines like champs! I always love the stereotypical roles in these movies, but in this case they are not the usual bland run-of-the-mill forgettable teens, trust me. You actually care for, well, 95% of them, as one guy you want to see knocked off way sooner than later, of that, you yourself will attest to upon viewing this movie! Oh, and there's also one girl you just hope will survive, to run screaming away into the night, of course. Sadly, neither happen for these two!
So, come the end you can guess what happens to all of them, and yet you still feel sorry for one or two of them. The team behind the film also went to great lengths to create that 80's feel here also, from having the right vibe of music playing, the colorful clothing, the teased up high and wide hairstyles (male and female), the "lost reel footage" in the middle, and even having one of the girls playing with a Rubik Cube (before it gets thrown out of the bus window for being too difficult to figure out!). Add to that a zoomed in on, and rather lengthy shot of Ronald Reagan, framed and hanging on a wall, and the scene was set, for sure.
So, you must be asking what was wrong with the film, if all I have to say are good things, right? Well, aside from those two noted-above mistakes, the actual cannibalistic killer looks more like a vagrant with David Bowie eyes and a bad dental plan! For being who he was meant to be re: the plot, the story line, and for being someone that had meant to have "survived" in and around that house for 'x' amount of years or so, his facial skin was smooth, his beard long, but trimmed, and his speed to get from door to door was incredible! Oh, and his superhuman, bullet-taking body was in fine working order, trust me! As for the actual "ending," well, no, I won't give that away, but suffice to say that a sequel (of kinds) might well be being prepared as we speak - and deservedly so. Oh, and if you are the kind of person who stops their movie as the credits roll, don't as there is one more quick scene right at the end after them! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but sadly does not come with any Special Features.