Director: Benjamin R. Moody
Starring: Akasha Villalobos, Brian Villalobos
Joey from Friends once said that if two actors have chemistry, it's because they haven't had sex yet. If they have no chemistry at all, it's because they've already done it. The passion of anticipation builds the heat, and when there's no more pressure, there's no more on-stage spark. That silly theory fits well here, as the two main characters of Last Girl Standing have no chemistry whatsoever and are, in real life, a married couple. I guess that's the problem with acting on screen or on stage with your significant other; no matter how wonderful your relationship might be off camera, it's hard to show that to audiences in the way two young potential lovers can, or with as much fervor. Anyway, that's only a small part of what's wrong with this film, it just struck me as interesting. You know what didn't? The rest of the movie.
A be-masked and be-horned crazed killer of the woods called the Hunter goes on a campy rampage that ends as all campy rampages end; with every single weekend trekker dead except one attractive female, who somehow kills the monster with her wits and escapes relatively unharmed. That's exactly how it happens for Camryn, as all her friends end up kabobbed but she leaves the bloody campsite with her life. The experience will scar her forever though, and moving on past the horrific events will not be easy. The Hunter makes all the papers, sparks legends, grows in terror, and Camryn may never really escape the specter of that evil man or what was done in the that forest what feels like years ago and somehow nightmarishly recent.
Attempting to move on, our sad survivor gets a job at a dry cleaner's, works hard, keeps to herself, lives alone, and tries to forget. But that's nearly impossible, and the killer still haunts her dreams. He even begins to haunt her days, whether in reality or not we can't be sure. Camryn thinks he's back, that somehow he's risen from his grave to claim his last victim. But no one else has actually seen him, so maybe she's freaking just freaking the freak out. A new employee named Nick seems sympathetic, and even introduces her to his gang of friends, some young folk who don't mind including her into their group. What they have welcomed along with Camryn is undefined; demons, ghosts, a secret past, and perhaps a very real and dangerous present.
The introduction to this film was good enough, and is deserving of a small nod before we move on to all that was wrong with all the rest. These images are all from the first five minutes when all the action happens, when the background is established, and when the film plays upon its traditional horror roots. The idea behind the movie is that we'll see what happens after the credits roll, what goes on in the psyches of victims after tragic events. It that way, there's a bit of a message here, a small amount of critique on abuse and trauma and recovery, so give credit to Moody for directing/writing something with a touch of depth. The film begins bloody and well, there's a small amount of moral, so all is off to a good start.
But that's literally where the positives end, about 10 minutes into the movie. From then on, it's mostly boring and mostly bad. The boring is any scene in which Camryn is scared or defensive, and that's about every one. She mainly worries about the Hunter, sees him, he chases her around, and then she wonders if it was real. That schtick gets quite old quite fast, and makes up way too much of the action of the film. The bad is any scene in which actors have to interact, because none of them really can. All the characters are terribly written, and their actors don't help them out much, especially the wedded leads. They bring nothing to the camera, don't mesh on screen, and drop the proverbial ball. There's a little more story/twist at the end, but by then I had totally checked out.
Video: With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, the video quality of this film is not only forgettable, but probably ought to be ignored. It's rather poor really, which isn't exactly shocking, given that the movie is a low-budget horror flick, but the picture just isn't strong enough and needs to be completely forgiven by audiences so that it doesn't become a distraction.
Audio: The DVD was done in 5.1 English Dolby Digital, with an option of 2.0 Stereo. In this menu, commentary can be accessed, from either writer-director Ben Moody and producer Rachel Moody or from writer-director Ben Moody and actors Akasha Villalobos & Danielle Evon Ploeger. Also, there are subtitles available in English SDH. The audio quality is only a step better than the video; unremarkable rather than bad.
Extras: There are a few quick, self-explanatory special features on the disc if you're thirsty for more: Making Of, Gag Reel, Fight Rehearsals, Hunter Test Footage, Set Tour, and a Trailer for the film.
Rent It. A good idea does not a good movie make, and this film is either a dull or shining example of that concept, depending on which way you want to look at it. What happens after the killing spree, how do the survivors move on, and what does this melodrama have to say about real trauma; these are interesting questions, but unfortunately this film didn't have to skill to answer them in the way they deserved. It asked the questions, but I wish someone else had taken a stab at addressing them, pun intended. As it is, this movie becomes something that can probably be completely ignored, even though it isn't completely terrible. The video is pretty poor, the audio not much better, and there are a few extras if you're interested. I can't say "run away" but I also can't manage much more than "it's not the worst thing ever", so take that as you will and probably don't take this movie at all.