By Andrew Buckner
Rating: **** out of *****.
Co-writer and director Tory Jones’ The Wicked One (2017) is a knockout retro style slasher film. It is tense, blood-soaked fun. Furthermore, it is clearly inspired by a plethora of classics in the sub-genre. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and the Friday the 13th series are among them. Even Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho (1960) gets a nod. Jones’ sly references to these previously mentioned features throughout this skillfully done work only augments the high entertainment value derived from this aspect.
Furthermore, the performances are strong. Correspondingly, Eryk Kyr (who is phenomenal here in his enactment of Mr. Miller), Sean Thomas and Vintage Voodoo’s music is atmospheric and haunting. The same can be said of Roman Jossart’s gritty cinematography. Andy Palmer and Jossart’s editing is terrific. Additionally, the project ends as grippingly, if abruptly, as it begins.
Jones also respects the many traditions, especially in terms of characterization and their often inexplicable actions, inherent in this brand of cinema. This is even if Jones and Cheyenne Gordon’s screenplay invests a bit too much time in the protagonists’ personal dramas. The simple, straightforward plot, which concerns a masked maniac (Jack Norman as the brutal, no- nonsense title protagonist) systematically hacking up a group of young friends on a weekend getaway, also reflects these qualities. Yet, never once does the narrative ever feel trite. It also rarely comes across as unimaginative or underwhelming.
Movies such as these hit audiences on a primal level. Therefore, they will never go out of style. Jones’ latest venture is invigorating proof of such a statement. It is also a testament to his prowess as a filmmaker and collaborative scripter. I eagerly anticipate the sequel the ninety-one-minute affair sets up in such a smirk-inducing fashion its concluding moments. See it!
(Unrated). Contains graphic violence and some nudity.
Available now on video on demand.