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Lost After Dark (2014)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/1/2015
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/3/2015
There's always going to be someone who wants to do something retro. Either because they have a true affection for something older or because the vintage things inspired them, they feel inspired to create a product which is reflective of or flat out mimics a throwback production. But, there's a difference between having lived through an era and admiring it from afar (time wise). This distance can mean that a certain amount of perspective is lost and what is meant to be a tribute can become something that falls between a clone and a spoof. Lost After Dark wants to be a homage to the slasher movies of the 80s, but the result is something a bit different.
Lost After Dark, which takes place in 1984, introduces us to Adrienne (Kendra Leigh Timmins), a innocent high school girl. Always a rule follower, she is ready to throw caution to the wind and join her friend, Jamie (Elise Gatien), in a wild night of partying, having told her father (David Lipper) that she was going to a slumber party. Tobe (Jesse Camacho), Sean (Justin Kelly), Wesley (Stephan James) procure a school bus, and they are soon joined by Adrienne and Jamie, along with Marilyn (Eve Harlow), Heather (Lanie McAuley), and Johnnie (Alexander Calvert), and this group is on their way to Adrienne's cabin at the lake. But, the bus runs out of gas, and the group is forced to try and find help. They approach and dilapidated house and soon find themselves being stalked by a vicious killer.
My formative years occurred during the slasher cycle of the 80s and I've seen many, many entries into that genre. And having seen many of those films, I know one thing: most of them aren't very good. Generally low-budget affairs, what we typically got was a lot of talking, a little T&A, a killer in a mask, and a far-fetched twist ending. The movies were often only worth watching for the kills and to see the unmasking of the killer. Otherwise, the films were boring, stupid, and never worth a second view. If Writer/Director Ian Kessner and Co-Writer Bo Ransdell wanted to replicated the 80s slasher experience, well, they've succeeded, as they've made a film which isn't very good.
The problems here are multiple, so let's break them down one at a time. There are two many characters here. This is because the movie wants to make sure that it hits every stereotype: the good girl, the slut, the jock, the black guy, etc. There is a decidedly un-subtle wink-wink to the audience with these cliched characters, which is fine, but there are simply too many of them (which equals more lame kills) and none of them are likeable. Why can't horror movies have likeable characters anymore? I didn't care at all when any of these people died. The fact that there is basically no story also hurts the movie. 80s slasher films were often over-written, as we were handed some crazy backstory in which someone was wronged which tied into the modern-day killings. All that we get here is some kids, a house, and a killer. The killer's identity is known and he's just a killer, plain and simple. Due to all of the killing, he has no time for an origin story. Did I mention the lame bit about the bus running out of gas?
The weirdest thing about Lost After Dark is that the movie sometimes features the scratches and dirt that one slaps on a movie to give it that "grindhouse" look. But, this isn't consistent. Why? Of course, that's only one of the questions raised by this movie. The movie does feature one surprising kill, but other than that, this is a by-the-books snorefest. And it raises the question, why would anyone want to emulate movies that were bad to begin with? If you want to make a slasher movie, that's fine. But make a good one.
Lost After Dark has a bunch of characters which are named after classic horror movie character or actors on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at average of 25 Mbps. For the most part, the image is sharp and clear, showing no transfer-related overt grain and no "real" defects from the source materials. Again, we get the "grindhouse" overlay which delivers fake grain and scratches, but in the scenes which don't have this, everything looks pretty good. There are some moments where are a tad dark, but the colors look fine, most notably Adrienne's yellow dress. The level of detail and the depth are both average. The Disc carries Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good, as we get some obvious sounds coming from off-screen in several scenes. The surround sound effects are OK, as they highlight some scenes, but are too subtle. We get some solid subwoofer action during the "shock" sequences.
The Lost After Dark Blu-ray Disc contains no extra features.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long