Sunday, January 11, 2009

Perkins' 14 (2009)

Note: This review is part of my coverage of Horrorfest III.

Perkins' 14

This was a good one. It's got an interesting concept, and it's executed strongly. There's a lot of emotion - a lot of humanity - in this film, and it's played well by Patrick O'Kane in the lead role of Officer Hopper, who lost his son to a serial killer who was never captured, ten years prior. Also, Hopper's daughter Daisy, played by Shayla Beesley, is a likable character - and lo and behold, she can actually pull off being a teenager! Actually, in some of the darker scenes, I was surprised at how much she looked like a younger version of Maggie Gyllenhaal. Weird. While we're talking about the cast, Richard Brake was pretty creepy as the titular serial killer, Ronald Perkins. It's a shame he actually only plays a short role in the film, because I would have liked to see him have a bigger part. (In fact, it would have been nice if he had survived long enough to explain just what the hell he did to the victims he abducted...)

And on that note, let's talk about the plot. Perkins abducted 14 kids ten years ago and was never caught, nor were any of his victims found (dead or alive). It's revealed that his stunt was actually an elaborate (and effective) plan to get back at the society which took his own parents' murders lightly, writing the incident off as a murder-suicide instead of making an effort to find the killer. It's not entirely clear just what Perkins did to the kids he abducted (other than having kept them in cages), and even whether or not they were ever killed, but in the ten years since the incident, they've transformed into murderous (yet intelligent) zombies. Perkins is actually a pharmacist, so it's not that far off to suggest that he may have perfected the Rage virus, since his zombies seem to be quite like the ones from the 28 series. Of course, I say that as a positive thing.

Exciting movie, the best part is the whole section around when Perkins is killed. Officer Hopper gets all his rage out and then it's like, ok, you got your "revenge", what are you gonna do with your life now? And then all hell breaks loose across the city. And the ending's pretty good, too. Not very forgiving. I kept wanting to tell Hopper to let it go, that he didn't have to put that much meaning into what Perkins did - that Perkins is just another sick freak doing terrible things, that Hopper should forgive himself for not being able to save his son - but this is a tragedy story, simple enough. And I do like a good tragedy.

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