3 September 2007 | lost-in-limbo
Last curtain call.
The Cates family inherited an old mansion in Beverly Hills from their late uncle Tyler Walker, who was a well-known stage actor. When they get there, they find the rundown place to be overrun by some street punks who want nothing but trouble. After the Cates' teenagers make fools of those punks, they want to make their lives living hell. But also their uncle Tyler's spirit still hangs around the house, and doesn't seems to like the street punks' intrusion.
Roger Corman's Concorde churns out an uneven, but well intended low-rent b-horror film that stage an entertainingly weird mixture, where it has the story criss-crossing into campy fields of supernatural and revenge, and then finally combining the two. Everything about it is stereotypical with the usual shenanigans, but director Bert Dragin does a well enough job with his pacing and makes the twisty style unpredictable and always engaging. Limitations don't hold it back, as the competent make-up and special f/x generates some creative and effective moments. It slowly builds itself up, for a crackerjack closing half. Some demented scenes towards the end, are well worth the attention. Sure the technical side of the production might not be perfect (with the boom mike constantly becoming visible), but it was surefooted. Zoran Hochstatter's murky camera-work sometimes had a neat frenetic touch and dreary colour use, and David Bergeaud's simmering music score stewed up some spooky cues to add to the atmospheric urban setting of the grand looking mansion. The gimmicky screenplay by Bert Dragin and Robert McDonnell seems to work, but if you don't take it for what it is. The ludicrous, and somewhat illogical and loose nature might be hard to shake. Also its change in moods, from being broodingly dark to suddenly comically light might be an inconsistent turn off. The script feels one-note for most part, but weaves in some amusing flourishes of dark humour; jaw-dropping dialogues and an oddly unforeseeable twist here and there. The performances are well suited and come across fair. Tom Bresnahan and Jill Whitlow are likable as the siblings. Christopher Burgard chews it up as smarmy gang leader and Todd Bridges shows up in a little part.
Junky entertainment, but I wasn't expecting the modest quality that it dished up. Fans of low-budget horror should give it a try.