Mask Maker (2010)
(18) Running time: 101 minutes
Director: Griff Furst,
Writers: Eric Miller, Jake Kennedy
Starring: Nikki Deloach, Stephen Colletti, Anabella Casanova
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Mask Maker is a very safe, very familiar slasher flick that actually works. It borrows heavily from classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th and even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and even though it hardly brings anything new to the genre, there is a lot to enjoy.
A very simple plot see’s a young couple, Jennifer (Deloach) and Evan (Colletti) about to celebrate Jennifer’s birthday. In an attempt to give her something extra special, Evan has bought Jennifer a cheap house in the countryside next to some woods. The creepy old house needs a lot of work, and makes for a satisfying and unsettling setting as things begin to go wrong. Unknown to the couple, they awaken a buried madman from the grounds of the house, and this brute wants revenge, and he is gonna get it! We learn about the killers past through flashbacks, or Jennifer reading from a diary, and we learn of some dark and sinister happenings to a family who lived there. The killer has been buried near the house, but now he is free he will do everything he can to stop people interfering with it, and this cue’s plenty of stalk and slash moments, although more emphasis is on the stalk.
As with all good slasher’s, you need a good number of victims, and thankfully we get that as the couple’s friends come over to celebrate Jennifer’s birthday and renovate the house, and all become targets for the killer. The locals begin acting strange too, with old favourites like Michael Berryman and Treat Williams turning up to help creep out the viewer and the new occupants of the house with spooky stories, and warnings of bad things about to happen. The cast all do a pretty good job, with each character managing to actually make an impact and giving you someone to care about, something which can often be missed in slashers. The girls are all very pleasing on the eye, and are not at all bothered about showing off more than is required of them, and the guys thankfully don’t act as stupid as you would expect. The killer himself is a pretty cool creation, however is a complete blend of many different killers from horrors glorious past, so I suppose you could call this film a homage to what we all know and love.
The setting works perfectly, and Mask Maker, oddly, seems more concerned with atmosphere and menace rather than all out gore and cheap shocks. This is a bold, brave move, and one which works to the films benefit. The film is not perfect, it doesn’t even stand head and shoulders above other a lot of other slasher films, but the ideas are here, and the director and writers clearly love their horror. Mask Maker was a total surprise for me, one I did not expect much from, but a horror that delivered much more than I was hoping for. The film is well written, although it does have its moments when it drags, but overall this is good, quality horror. Don’t go expecting much gore though, as much of the killing is either brief or off-screen, but don’t let that put you off. Go in with an open mind, you just might like it!