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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review: Don't Look

Director: Luciana Faulhaber
Screenplay: Jessica Boucher
Year: 2019

Synopsis: Five friends from New York City leave the city to go on a rural getaway. They soon find themselves being targeted by a murderous psychopath who may have connections to the group.

“Don't Look” is a small production from novice director Luciana Faulhaber distributed by Wild Eye Releasing. Faulhaber also stars in the movie, which brings us a story that follows the formula of 80’s slasher movies. Alongside Faulhaber, Jeff Berg (“House of Demons”), Hailey Heisick (“Diamonds to Dust”), and Javier Gómez close the protagonist cast.

In “Don't Look” a group of friends decide to go to a cabin from Lorena’s family, interpreted by Faulhaber, where a vicious event took place and that curiously no one knows about. This event is presented in the opening scene, where we see Lorena as a child witnessing her mother’s death, which looks like it was provoked by her father. Fast forward to the present, these friends decide to use that same cabin to party but were not aware that close by a couple of strange farmers lived.

Once the farmers appear, the movie takes a turn towards the bizarre. Here also start the winks to classic slashers, the most prominent being “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, although I have problems classifying this movie as a slasher, that is a topic for another moment. The classic chainsaw has good participation and is even part of a gory death, which the delivery of it ends up being slightly affected by the limited budget. Another scene that involves a meat hook also works as a clear homage to this movie.

As mentioned, “Don’t Look” follows the formula of slasher movies. A group of partying friends are stalked by a mysterious murderer and are killed one by one. As in the classics, we have the horny couple who are stopped by a murderer willing to avoid them from having a good time, a vague character development which only purpose is to have a higher kill count, and some imagination for presenting the deaths.

The screenplay of the movie, created by Jessica Boucher, even when developing a simple idea, could have been much more polished. In any slasher, the deaths are the most important part and the rest of the movie only serves to lead to these moments, but there are too many plot holes on Boucher’s story. Also, in her trying to portray the women as not being too vulnerable, it is taken to the other extreme, giving them a resistance that in parts feels unreal.

“Don’t Look” for me is the kind of movie that is useful for exposing the talent of the cast and crew rather than a movie that looks to be unique in the horror genre. The story is simple, and it never looks to get out from the formula we have seen so many times and visually it neither looks to impress. It is not a bad movie, but neither does it bring anything new and, in the end, you feel indifferent about it.

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