Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Film Review: Exeter (2015)

Exeter (Review)
United States/2015 
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a grungy and cliche slasher veiled in a possession theme."

After a party at an abandoned psychiatric ward, a group of friends unwittingly summon something sinister during the after-party...

Exeter primarily follows Patrick (Kelly Blatz), a church volunteer who works at the ward, and Reign (Brittany Curran), a girl Patrick meets during the party. The pair are joined by Patrick's brother, Rory, and a bunch of other hollow characters. While indulging in their drugs, the pair perform an little experiment on Rory, inadvertently causing him to show symptoms of possession. The group soon find themselves locked in the psychiatric hospital, where they must perform their own exorcism. The problem, of course, spirals out of control. It leads to a predictable ending with plenty of exposition, but it's not all bad.

Exeter is a hit-and-miss film. Let me start with the good. It's straight to the point — it waste no time getting started. There are also plenty of gory surprises. Some of these death scenes actually caught me off guard! Necks are twisted in reverse, heads are blown off, limbs are dismembered... It's some grizzly stuff! There's also a pinch of black humor. Some of the humor actually got me to chuckle here and there. I especially enjoyed the homage to The Exorcist. In fact, a lot of the film seems to draw inspiration from The Exorcist, which isn't bad at all. Conceptually, the film was also very interesting.

Unfortunately, the film also suffers from some major flaws. For one, you have some very bland and stupid characters here — a common issue in horror. They're also very douchey and annoying at times. These characters hardly have any significance since they're never developed — I couldn't care for Patrick or Rory due to the weak setup. The story is interesting, but it's riddled with plot contrivances, exposition, and even some strange holes. The film only moves forward due to the negligence and often the sheer stupidity of its cast of characters. The horror will ultimately be subjective, I suppose. I already said I loved the gory scenes, but I didn't think it was scary. The film is simply lacking in suspense and atmosphere. The jump-scares don't do much either. As far as horror goes, it doesn't really leave an impression.

The acting is serviceable. It's not the worst I've ever seen, but it could have been better. Kelly Blatz and Brittany Curran are good, despite playing painfully generic characters. The supporting cast is more hit-or-miss, though. I like the film's grungy style. The music is a little repetitive and forgettable. The special effects aren't half bad, either. Director Marcus Nispel crafts a decent horror film. He clearly has a vision and a (sort of) unique idea, but he's often hindered due to sticking to genre cliches. I enjoy his older films, like his remakes to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday The 13th, but he can't seem to break out of his shell for this original story. Still, I'd love to see more from him.

Overall, Exeter is a decent film. It has as much good as it has bad. Regardless, I was able to watch it from beginning to end and I did not hate it. In fact, I was fairly entertained. It's essentially a grungy and cliche slasher veiled in a possession theme. If that interests you, you might enjoy this one.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and gore, some nudity.

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