Exit 33 (2011)

Description (from exit33movie.com):
Exit 33 is a chilling horror story of IKE, a northern Michigan Taxidermist that owns a very old gas station… this station sits “alone” on a rarely used highway that leads its travelers to Traverse City, Michigan… But something awaits those that stop at IKE’s gas station… something very evil. Though he might come across as a simple soul, Ike has a dark secret: he’s obsessed with women who have enchanting eyes — eyes he wants to keep for himself. Now, as four friends make their way to their 5-year high school reunion, they all make the mistake of taking Exit 33, and they won’t be making it back to the highway anytime soon. Exit 33 horror movie stars HORROR legend Kane Hodder who played Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th series, BTK Serial Killer and Hatchet. Exit 33 is a no holds barred gorefest that dares viewers to look away. With its unrelenting suspense and biting humor, it’s a bloody throwback to slasher classics that will satisfy any horror fan’s bloodlust.

Major Cast:
Kane Hodder as Ike, Christian Koza as Boy, April Canning as Maria, Virginia Negron Bryant as Wife, Jerry Reid as Matt, Antoinette Nikprelaj as Angie, Paul Elia as Dax, Maria E. Hildreth as Eva

Special Features:
None (Screener Copy)

Written by Norman Koza and Mark Myers
Directed by Tommy Brunswick

EXIT 33 sells itself as a new take on the old trope of the slasher film; a slasher for a new generation.  I didn’t see it… it was same old, same old to me.  E33 is the story of some friends going to a five year high-school reunion, each of whom happens to stop for gas at the wrong gas station, “Ike’s Last Chance Gas.”  Surprise surprise, Ike is a psycho killer, and if you get gas from pump #9 you’re doomed.  Ike is a man on a mission to find some decent replacement eyes, as his dead wife is missing one, and since there is a whole lot more to a person than just the eyeball, Ike also is well known for his fresh “venison jerky,” made from his trophy kills.  Sound new and fresh yet?  Something completely different?  I didn’t think so either.

Right from the beginning of E33 it is obvious that this is a low-budget affair.  The video quality is very “digital,” even to the point of suffering from some aliasing issues in the picture.  The sound is sometimes very good, sometimes not so much.  The acting is above the “your friends and neighbors” level – it is obvious that most of the cast are truly actors and not just people roped into being in a low-budget horror movie by a crew member – however, the acting is far from great.  I don’t know if it is the fault of the director not giving his actors enough direction, the script’s inherit weakness and lack of substance, or just that the actors still have a lot to learn in the acting game, but the acting overall is pretty weak.  I did enjoy a chance to see Kane Hodder actually act (it’s hard to emote with a hockey mask on), and he is by far the most accomplished in his portrayal of Ike than any of the rest of the cast.

I get the impression that E33 was attempting to be a bit of a horror/comedy hybrid, but fell flat on both accounts.  The comedy side of things was nearly non-existent; I could see where it felt like it was trying to be funny (especially evident when a passer-by wags his finger at Ike saying “oh, you!” when Ike tells him that the scream he heard was just some kid Ike was slaughtering), but not once did I even crack a smile.  I did find it funny (not funny ha-ha, but funny weird) that there were lines in the movie that the characters laughed at that I did not think were comic lines at all!

The horror side of E33 was also a failure for me.  This movie is not scary.  Gory and disgusting?  Yes.  About a crazy guy killing people?  Sure is.  But just those attributes alone do not make a movie scary.  HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a gory film about a crazy guy killing people, and that flick is scary; HENRY is scary because it feels so real, almost like watching a documentary.  There was nothing real about E33.  I can see that most of the budget for E33 obviously went two places: hiring Kane Hodder, and paying for the gore.  The gore is well done, and the gore is sufficiently disgusting, and those people into the whole torture-porn subgenre of horror will enjoy this movie; gorehounds will get what they want out of E33, it does not skimp on the red stuff.  However, just having that disgustingness does not make E33 scary; it makes it repulsive, but not frightening.  E33 never really takes any time to build mystery or suspense, it never builds on the feeling of dread (truthfully, other than being tied up and tortured, there isn’t any dread to be found), it never does much of anything other than hit you over the head with gore and say “look: it’s scary!  We swear!  Be scared!”  There’s not even the cheap “boo!” type scare in this film, there’s really just nothing scary about it.

Overall, E33 is a movie for people that just like gore.  If that is what you want in a movie, you will like E33, hands down.  If, however, you like your horror to be scary, or suspenseful, or to have a non-contrived believable plot (who goes to their five-year high-school reunion?  Seriously, what have you done in five years that’s worth bragging about?  And who has their reunion – presumably – so far out in the middle of nowhere that getting there requires a stop at a “last chance” gas station???) then look elsewhere, because E33 will not fulfill any of those needs.  E33 didn’t do anything for me, at all, whatsoever, other than showing me that Kane Hodder can act without a mask on.  If I was into gore, I’m sure I’d feel differently, but since I require gore to have a point – it can make a movie scary, it can make a movie funny, but it needs to do SOMETHING – E33 was just an exercise in futility.

Overall 3 / 10

EXIT 33 on the IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772850/

EXIT 33 for sale: http://www.amazon.com/Exit-33-Kane-Hodder/dp/B00558Z4QC

EXIT 33 site: http://www.exit33movie.com/

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