2 out of 5 stars.
A young couple get more than they bargained for when they purchase an old plantation home still inhabited by a serial killer in the new horror flick Mask Maker (aka Maskerade) directed by Griff Furst (Movin’ In, Chrome Angels).
This films seems to have all the cliches, and then some: a group of good looking young people that get picked off one by one, a silent killer, a haunted house, voodoo magic, and creepy townspeople. In addition to the laundry list of clichés, Mask Maker seemed to be a stew of other horror films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Amityville Horror, The Others and Friday the 13th all rolled into one. With so many elements crammed into one film, there is next to no justification for them. For whatever reason the filmmakers felt it necessary to oversaturate this piece with these themes, it masked what would have been a good enough story on its own, and made room for development or better back story.
One would think that in a 90 minute film, things would get going pretty soon, but this film seems to have an intro that lasted about an hour. And while Mask Maker did almost redeem itself in the end, this is way to much time to develop characters that just get killed off anyway (with the exception of the couple who purchase the house, who do a convincing job of portraying their new relationship) . The cast did have some clever dialog, and a few good laughs thorough the film to keeps things from getting too serious. The process in which characters “meet their maker” is effective, but also too cliche. The ending, while it has a bit of a twist, is still the same ending done by pretty much other film of this genre, and it gets tiresome.
That being said, this film was much better than I anticipated. For the straight to DVD genre, this film had fairly solid dialog, decent acting, a scary bad guy and some pretty creepy shots and atmospheres. But let me stress again- for this genre. While the killer was very cliche, and was given very insufficient back story, he was still scary. Taking the identity of each victim by wearing their face as a mask added to the terror experienced by each character once their turned rolled around. And while this film definitely earned the R rating given to it by MPAA, it is not the over-the-top gore you might expect from this type of film. I can’t help but respect a film that can be creepy and deliver the scares while not relying on gore, and for the most part, this film did just that.
While this film was not a total dud, it is obvious that it tried too hard. A simpler theme and a more original story could have made it a notable horror, but I’m afraid to say it is already getting lost among the noise.