A group of scouts consisting of Derek the leader, Georgie his Brownie equivalent, Zoe, Beth, Annie and Jason are in the woods, happily having fun chatting and flirting. However, unbeknownst to them, somebody with a large mallet is also in the woods and the games he wants to play are certainly not of the chatting and flirting kind…..
If you have read the bit of news I posted about upcoming horror project Scrawl, you will know that Motto is Peter Hearn’s prequel to Scrawl, shot first as an introduction to the world of the movie and as a taste of what is to come. It seems to be that the initial idea for Scrawl many months ago was actually a horror film to be set in and filmed out in the woods. That changed when the script for Scrawl went through its many changes but obviously the basic idea stayed in Hearn’s head because now we have, though in short form, a horror film set in and filmed out in the woods.
Influenced primarily by early 80s slasher movies a la Friday The 13th though with a distinct 70s look and feel to it, Motto opens with some rather lush shots of the locale before proceeding along familiar lines…..at least for a while. We’ve all seen killers stalking silly young people hundreds of times, but Motto for me distinguishes itself from many recent outings of a similar ilk with its very old-school filming style, with none of that annoying shakycam/fast cutting that I moan about in far too many of my reviews, and a rather wicked sense of humour which increases throughout. Around half way through, the film actually begins to play with one’s expectations and ends up being rather different to what you may have expected. Not everything is explained, but, considering this is in part a lead-in to Scrawl, introducing characters which will apparently play a large part in it, this is not automatically a flaw.
There is most definitely blood in this movie, but Hearn also knows the value of implication, especially in the final scene where you don’t see what a character is doing to someone but you can certainly imagine lots of awful things. The cast, which includes two professional cast members Elizabeth Boag and Nathalie Pownall, all perform their roles with the right spirit. I personally wasn’t too sure about the electronic soundtrack by Lupo and Johnson at first but the grating effect of the opening track was obviously intentional and the music ended up being very appropriate for the production. The version of Motto I viewed is a rough cut so understandably it was a little rough around the edges, and actually had no sound except the music, but even in its 90% completed form, it is a really fun little film that certainly makes me very anxious to see Scrawl. More news on Motto when it is completed and hopefully available for wider viewing.
UPDATE: the film is now completed and can be viewed here;