Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Penny Dreadful (2006)

Starring:  Rachel Miner, Mimi Rogers

Homicidal Maniac: Liz Davies as the Hitchhiker 

Run Time: 1:32:21

Quick Synopsis:  Years after her parents are killed in a car accident, Penny Deerborn plans a road trip with her psychologist in order to overcome her fear of cars.  Unfortunately bad shit happens.

I had first seen this movie when I was about 15 when ever it came out as part of the original "8 Films to Die For."  I really got suckered by that whole gimmick to the point that when I actually saw the movies I felt like I had been told Santa wasn't real all over again.  I was now a broken little teenager who felt as though he would never believe in a single horror movie ever again.  Obviously now I can see that I was just a little dumb kid who actually believed that a series of movies that were not picked up by any major production companies were going to be the greatest horror movies ever.  The problem with all of that was I could no longer be unbiased when it came to these movies.  It created a stigma on anything connected to the After Dark Films.  

So for years I refused to watch any of the films assuming there awfulness.  Now with the site I figured I could get a good kick out of bashing them to the four people that actually read these reviews.  You know, stick to the people that don't give a fuck about me or what I was going to say.  One problem came up though...I actually liked the movie on my re-watch.  I was expecting a complete bore-fest, but instead I got a pretty suspenseful, and mostly well-acted low budget horror film.  The first 30 minutes are able to create a decent feeling of seclusion and suspense while slowly developing the characters.  This is followed by a few kills surrounded by slower scenes made to build up suspense.  Some could argue this begins to become too slow, or Penny becomes increasingly boring.  However, it turns out, intentionally or not, to really help with the intensity of the last 20 minutes or so that will probably get a solid reaction of terror from most of the audience.  There are a few minor flaws and inconsistencies within the continuity of the film but nothing so big that it will turn off the audience.  Mimi Rogers is probably the only person you could complain too much about the acting.  The way she delivers her lines seems as though she is reading off cue cards.  Rachel Miner is good enough as the lead and Liz Davies is able to create a menacing killer.  The supporting characters all play their roles to an adequate level.  I was surprised by this suspenseful awful horror movie.

Fun Fact: The hitchhiker is routinely referred to as a male although played by actress Liz Davies.  Due to the voice of the character among other things there is some ambiguity in deciding whether the character is male or female. 

Hidden Gem: Michael Berryman, Pluto in Hills of Have Eyes (1977), plays a gas station attendant in the movie.

Total Kill Count: 6
Penny's Father- Adam Pinkstaff (4:59) Car Accident Gore Rating: 3
Penny's Mother- Elyse Mirto (5:45) Car Accident Gore Rating: 6
Orianna- Mimi Rogers (41:17) Stabbed in the Back Gore Rating: 5
Alvin- Chad Todhunter (1:03:37) Cut up with a knife Gore Rating: 3
Mary- Tammy Filor (1:06:30) Throat Slit Gore Rating: 6
Eddy- Mickey Jones (1:12:02) Stabbed/Offscreen Gore Rating: 1

            Horror Film: 7
            Entertainment: 7
            Suspense: 7
            Overall: 7