Hey folks, Valkor here. It's rare that I'll gush over a horror film; last films I remember doing so was XII and The Telling - two films I really enjoyed because they kinda brought me back to good old fashioned 80's style horror – and I don't think the filmmakers were even gunning for that! So when I popped into the PS3, Mask Maker (also known as Maskerade… which I think is the cooler title), I didn't expect it to be so entertaining and it was very entertaining!
Mask Maker centers on couple Jennifer (Nikki Deloach) and Evan (Stephen Colletti), college kids filled with hopes and dreams… and oh yea they just bought a house in the middle of nowhere to kick things off. And boy is it a real fixer upper too. But that's ok because the house is loaded with antiques and old junk that they'll probably sell and make out like bandits considering what Evan paid for the place (a cool ten G's my friend). But what they didn't count on was the fact that supernatural forces are about to come into play when Evan unearths a strange stick.
Before jumping ahead, let's take things back a ways. Let's say 30 maybe 40 years prior. As a child Leonard suffered a nasty cut to the skull, which caused the wound to get seriously infected, deforming his face something fierce throughout his years. In trying to save him, his mother Lydia (Lara Grice) ultimately dabbled in the dark arts, stole away the newborn son of Mr. and Mrs. Peck, killing the child to save her own – even when faced with an angry mob, she still goes through with it. In the end, Lydia was hung and Leonard stabbed with the very stick that Evan pulled from the earth.
So you know what that means right? Daddy's home! Or should I say Leonard (Jonathan Breck) is back with a penchant for stealing faces… you know because his is really fucked up. Staying in the house besides Jennifer and Evan are their friends Mike (Ross Britz), Hillary (Mariah Bonner), Ken (AJ Allegra), and Annette (Anabella Casanova); all they wanted to do was hang out, get drunk, get their swerve on, and help their friends fix up the place. But ending up dead with their faces taken off wasn't part of the plan.
There's more to it than that as flashbacks help flesh out the story, giving us full insight into Leonard and his past. Top it all off with an awesome cameo and gratuitous nudity and you're all geared up for the TOV Breakdown.
For a film that follows the usual horror pattern – teens buy (or visit) a creepy house, creepy old man tells them what a bad idea it was to buy it, friends stay over to party, killer shows up, people start dying, one sole survivor lives on to save the day, the end - I'd have to say I was pretty damn impressed. The plot isn't over the top and flows at a nice pace. The killings were evenly spread out and even the bad acting actually helped to enhance the cheesy goodness of it all. The ending (again predictable… yet not really) wasn't crazy impressive... it's actually kinda weird, but it does help to complete the coolness of the film and leaves things good and open for a sequel. The action is intense and the level of gore is pretty awesome, though not to the extreme that I would like. You still see heads lobbed, faces get peeled, and one guy gets stabbed repeatedly with a pitchfork, so there's enough that'll hold your attention for the films 90 minute run time. Oh and don't worry there's still more gooey parts to see and yes you will want to see this movie. Acting kudos goes to Michael Berryman who makes a sweet, sweet cameo. Yea he's just as creepy as he was in his past films (Anyone see the Hills Have eyes movies? Then you know what I'm talkin about), however in Mask Maker he doesn't play the killer, yet his presence really helps to elevate the creepy mood of the film. Great job! I also want more Leonard, who rates up there with classic killers such as Jason or Michael Myers – silent yet deadly. Sequel? Yes please? Sexy points go to Mariah Bonner, who gets huge PerfectView plus points for getting all kinds of naked and showin off the sweetest ass you'll ever see on the small screen. I'm not kidding! I almost fell out of my chair. Naaah I'm kidding… I totally fell out of my chair.
For starters the acting is the greatest, though that's more nitpicking than anything else. I'm not saying I hated the acting, which I didn't, I'm just saying there aren't any Oscar winners here. Next, the film does have some gaping plot holes, while they don't take away from the overall entertainment value, it is kinda obvious. Take for example, towards the end of the film; where did the policeman come from? I won't explain the scene, but you'll be just as surprised as was when it happens. I know it's explained how they came to be there, but that's pretty flimsy and a better job could have been done to explain it. Next and this goes back to the ending (not the finale ending) – so Jennifer has been through some serious shit. However the police simply let her drive off. Wasn't she supposed to go to a hospital? Get checked out? Maybe patch up that bruise on her noggin? Maybe? I won't go any further because no matter what, I really liked this film.
How does a guy get stabbed repeatedly by a pitchfork and lives? I shouldn't hate on that scene because it made for an emotional and surprising set-up.
I'm completely ga-ga for Mask Maker. Yea it's predictable, paint-by-the-numbers horror, but that's what makes it so good, so much fun and an instant horror classic. As I write this, yes I'm watching it again. OK I'll admit it, I'm watching it for Mariah's ass, but I'm still watching it nonetheless!! So out of TOV 5 stars, I give Mask Maker 4 stars. And it's been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved!