Monday, June 19, 2017

Film Review: Perkins' 14 (2009)

Perkins' 14 (Review)
United States/2009
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a roller coaster of quality, featuring a few ups and many downs."

During the night shift, Sheriff Dwayne Hopper discovers one of the prisoners at the station may be the serial killer who kidnapped his son 10 years prior...

Perkins' 14 follows Sheriff Hopper and the residents of Stone Cove, Maine. Off the bat, you're introduced to Hopper and his broken family. His relationships with his wife and teenage daughter are strained because of an incident ten years ago where his son was abducted. Anyway, Hopper eventually ends up at the police station to cover the night shift. At the station, he meets Ronald Perkins (Richard Brake). After speaking to Perkins, Hopper investigates his background and his car which leads him to believe that Perkins is the serial killer who abducted his son and 13 other children over the past 10 years. As he pursues his leads, he unwittingly unleashes something from Perkins' basement. The rest of the plot reverts to your basic faux-zombie flick. It leads to an unfulfilling ending.

Perkins' 14 is a roller coaster of quality, featuring a few ups and many downs. The plot starts off weak, showcasing some mediocre acting and flimsy buildup. However, it eventually started to captivate me, especially when Perkins is introduced. It feels dark and gritty. Then, after a disturbing revelation, the film flips itself again and becomes a zombie-like horror movie—sort of like [Rec], but without the nail-biting tension. You're basically forced to watch Hopper drive around town as he picks up his family and searches for shelter while "zombies" roam the streets and maul everyone. It loses steam because the plot refuses to evolve. Couple that with the plot contrivances (i.e. stupid/annoying characters), and you have yourself a disappointing second half. Some of the zombie action is exciting, but it is hindered by the shaky camerawork and hectic editing.

The acting was decent. Okay, some of the acting was stiff and, well, bad, but it wasn't horrible. That's good, isn't it? I think Richard Brake did a great job, though. The film has some nice shots of mayhem, but a lot of it is ruined by the shaky camerawork. It's edited like an edgy music video, too. The music was forgettable. The practical effects were decent, though. The screenplay was written by Lane Shadgett. Craig Singer served as director. The concept is interesting, but the writing doesn't do enough to fulfill its promises. There are too many holes and there's not enough plot to fill it. The lack of character was also disappointing. Singer's direction fares a bit better, but the film was over-edited to the point of hurting the direction.

Overall, Perkins' 14 is a mediocre horror film. The first half of the film was genuinely interesting and entertaining, but it eventually loses steam. The practical effects were also good, but the camerawork spoils it. It's not the worst 90 minutes I ever spent, but I've seen much better. If you're looking for a faux-zombie fix, check out [Rec] and its many sequels instead.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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