CRY HAVOC (2020)
Written and Directed by Rene Perez
A young journalist manages to secure an interview with an elusive criminal on the FBI’s most wanted list, known simply as ‘The Voyeur’. Accused of creating his own snuff films, The Voyeur is in hiding from the police in his remote compound where he continues to create his masterpieces with the aid of Havoc; a human killing machine. Hot on her tail is a police detective who suspects a missing girl he’s on the hunt for may be somewhere in the compound.
Action slasher CRY HAVOC may have popped onto your radar because it stars Charles Bronson-lookalike, Robert Bronzi. Having thoroughly enjoyed his performance in director Rene Perez’s low budget effort Death Kiss, I was looking forward to see what else the duo could pull off. In this film, he once again shows off his badass action prowess as the muscular Bronzi takes on not only a team of security patrolling the hunting ground of Havoc but the monster himself. Whilst the modern security team, with their automatic SMG type weapons, fire at Bronzi and roll around on the floor in modern, action-movie fashion, Bronzi looks as though he’s starring in a 70’s cop show as he casually runs through woodland, without so much as panic on his face nor beads of sweat dripping down his cheek, before pausing, aiming and firing off a single bullet at the enemy. It’s quite brilliant to watch as these two very different approaches to action collide in the same film. The retro vibe doesn’t start there though. At the beginning of the movie, we have the image of flared-pant wearing Robert Bronzi puffing away on his pipe, whilst observing a bunch of no-good bikers who appear to be plotting something. All he’s doing is standing there, squinting at the bikers and watching the journalist get into a car, but every single second of this scene is simply delicious to watch. Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same about the meat of the movie…
When you have a slasher movie, it’s all about the villain and their kills. The titular character, Havoc, is quite frightening to look at with his stitched mask wrapped in barbed wire a much better effort than some of the latest Slipknot masks the band have adorned. However, despite his thunderous size and appetite for blood, he doesn’t really come across as that much of a threat or at least it’s not translated well on-screen. The lack of tension build-up negates any fear from the viewer’s mind, even if there’s brilliant scenes of heads being crushed and intestines being ripped out of victims’ bodies. It’s all very wishy-washy with Havoc seemingly going over the same ground and killing indiscriminately, whether it’s the many actresses who’ve come to the compound under the false pretences of starring in a reality TV show or the security guys, who are meant to be keeping strangers off the site, getting in his way. Even as the film approaches the climax, with Bronzi tackling the heavy firepower of the security team, in what feels like a re-run of the showdown in Death Kiss but just in a different setting, there’s nothing here that really grabs your attention and the film slips into a slightly monotonous rhythm. It’s a shame as the film starts off quite promising with an interesting premise with the Voyeur, who describes his ‘art’ to the journalist and how he came to meet Havoc, before it culminates in the predictable scenario the reporter finds herself in.
There are clearly elements that work here and those that need tightening up. For instance, the FX work is brilliant and is a real draw for any horror fan but the fear aspect is never really given the chance to build with possibly too much camera time spent on action sequences with Bronzi. I really wanted to enjoy this movie more than I ended up doing but without the development of the killer or at least making the threat of him more intense to really show the desperation of his victims to escape, I felt a little dissatisfied. When Bronzi finally faces off with Havoc, it’s cheesy but great fun, however, even that isn’t the payoff I was looking for. As a side note, something I find quite jarring when I’m watching the film is that Bronzi’s voice appears dubbed or manipulated in some way to sound classic American as it’s not quite in sync with the footage. With Bronzi being from Hungary, it may be that this was done on purpose to give him an American twang but quite frankly, I wished they’d leave him with his natural voice, American or not, just so we have an au-natural Bronzi; he might look scarily like Charles Bronson but he doesn’t need to sound like him too – he’s a B-movie action star in his own right and deserves his own authentic treatment.
Richard Tyson, who starred as the villain in Death Kiss, returns to play the indirect villain of CRY HAVOC as The Voyeur. Limited to shots of him at his computer and his exchange with the journalist played by Emily Sweet, he oozes menace as the bearded criminal. I’d have liked to have seen more of him plotting his setups of his snuff movies and possibly recruiting and auditioning for his fictitious reality show before unleashing Havoc upon them but as it stands, his screentime is quite fleeting. Nevertheless, his performance is quite enjoyable as is that of Emily Sweet, who unfortunately finds herself right at the heart of the Voyeur’s ‘art’ and is forced to fight for her life.
If you’re looking for a horror-action hybrid with a sprinkle of retro, B-movie charm and scantily-clad women screaming for their lives, then CRY HAVOC may be up your street.