Hey folks, Valkor here with another horrific tale to add to "Valkor's 15 films of horror". Yea, Monsters definitely doesn't rank as horror, but this next film? This next film right here? Absolutely! We're talkin a throwback to some old school shit – keep it simple, keep it scary, while tossin in some goofy shit and that brings us to number three "XII", written and directed by Michael Nickles.
XII centers around Leonard Karlsson (Jeremy Fitzgerald), a man accused and convicted of murder/rape (??) of a minor. Five years later, he's set free and not lookin so hot. And after his release, a series of murders have been happening around the west coast; enter FBI Agent Naughton (Steven Brand), who is investigating the case, and he's locked it down to this small town. The link between the murder victims, is that they're all from this small town and it just so happens that they served on the jury that had Karlsson sent up for five years. And now he's looking for some payback.
The film also stars Mercedes McNab (Buffy TV Series Alum) as Vicki, and Emily Hardy as Claire, who also served on the jury, along with Josh Nuncio as Shane, and Joe Nunez as Harry, and Richard Miranda as Julio who make up the surviving (but not for long) victims, with only one making it out alive.
Now this is what I'm talkin about!! XII, to put it simply, is bad ass! Its short (runtime about 1hr and 17min), and to the point! We don't waste too much time with backstory such as dealing with the Karlsson trial, and the backstory of the other characters. And we don't waste time with cheap jump scares; XII hits the ground running from the very beginning. Hell in the first five minutes someone gets his head blown off. Jeremy Fitzgerald portrays a great new horror villain, whom I can't wait to see action figures made of. Face missing, wearing a plastic mask, with the no mouth so his true mouth is shown (just chattering teeth), oh man, that's gruesome! The filmmakers have also put together an amazing cast and everyone simply nails their roles, especially Emily Hardy as Claire, there's nothing special about her character, I just love the way she talks. Finally, the ending, which I'm assuming is leaving things open for a possible return of the scarred face menace. Oh I hope so, with more gore please! And that reminds me…
There's gore, but not enough gore. We open the film with a great scene and we end it even bloodier, but in between? Not so much. Also, as Claire is attempting to escape Karlsson, she's stopped by… wait for it… a BEAR TRAP! A BEAR TRAP!!!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!? I would rather she be the typical "white girl in a horror film, who falls down while being chased by the bad guy" than to fall in a bear trap. When is it ever established that the guy has traps lying about? Why would you put that in the film!!?
Watching characters get their faces peeled. URGH!!!
XII is a definite win in my book, takin horror back to its roots making it a fun and scary experience. Make it a part of your film night this Halloween, I highly recommend it! And out of TOV 5 stars, I give XII a 4 and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved!