AN AMERICAN TERROR

PrintE-mail Written by Ryan Pollard

MOVIE REVIEW: AN AMERICAN TERROR / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: HAYLAR GARCIA / SCREENPLAY: HAYLAR GARCIA / STARRING: JOE ABPLANALP, TAYLOR HULETT, GRAHAM EMMONS, LOUISE MACDONALD, MICHAEL HASKINS / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Driven by revenge against their high school bullies, Josh (Emmons), Sammy (Hulett) and Ray (Abplanalp) formulate a plan to massacre them at a school dance. When scouting a mysterious man’s trailer for weapons, Josh sees a popular cheerleader being held captive in the man's lair and, as a result, tries to rescue her and stop Sammy from carrying out their plan. On the one hand, the idea of bullied teenagers committing massacres at their school draws parallels to real life school terror shootings like Columbine and Isla Vista, whilst also drawing parallels to films like Elephant, Bowling for Columbine and We Need to Talk About Kevin. On the other hand, films like Saw and the Hostel movies loom over the horror aspect of the film.

Even though the film is very cine-literate and is aware of both the subject matter and the genre it’s referencing, An American Terror, in the end, feels like two stories clumsily merged. One minute it starts off with the main characters planning the high school massacre, then it instantly becomes a horrific splatter movie, and then during its climax it goes back to conclude the high school massacre story. It ultimately feels like a weird juxtaposition between the two stories, and you feel like they should have had their own separate movies to accommodate them, but kudos to the filmmakers for having a go at combining the two together.

The set design is pretty solid, with the teenagers’ hideout feeling like a representation of their repressed anger and hatred with the dark lighting reflecting that brilliantly. Similarly, the mysterious Junker’s torture chamber/lair feels like a horrific menagerie of darkness, rust, blood, and mutilated skin that wouldn’t look too out of place next to the torture porn aesthetics of Eli Roth’s Hostel movies, but this is all down to both Kenneth H. Jones’ and Anton Fresco’s impressive set design and cinematography.

The performances are perfectly fine with Graham Emmons’ calm and controlled antihero being a complete contrast to Joe Abplanalp’s unhinged and psychotic troublemaker. Louise MacDonald gives a very sympathetic and human portrayal of the cheerleader victim-cum-final girl, and she’s strangely like Hayden Panettiere from TV’s Heroes. Are both of them related?

Even though An American Terror has a deep message, passable performances, and solid production values, it still feels like an odd amalgamation of two opposing films sitting awkwardly against each other. Whether this was a good idea remains to be seen, but it’s an admirably ambitious risk to take nevertheless.

Expected Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating: 
 

SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG

Find your local STARBURST stockist HERE, or buy direct from us HERE. For our digital edition (available to read on your iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows 8, Samsung and/or Huawei device - all for just £1.99), visit MAGZTER DIGITAL NEWSSTAND.

CLICK TO BUY!

MORE FROM AROUND THE WEB:



Suggested Articles:
Lured by the promise of a reunion with his lost girlfriend Rachel, psychic drifter Zack is taken to
Breaking news: it turns out you probably shouldn't believe everything Nigel Farage tells you. Far f
Whether or not you’re a fan of young Daniel Radcliffe – and there are some here at STARBURST HQ
You've all seen supernatural forces terrorise families in countless horror films down the years bu
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

THE MIND'S EYE 29 September 2016

DOWN UNDER 27 September 2016

SWISS ARMY MAN 27 September 2016

UNDER THE SHADOW 26 September 2016

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 23 September 2016

VAMPIRE RESURRECTION 21 September 2016

CLOWNTOWN 21 September 2016

31 20 September 2016

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS 19 September 2016

SULLY 19 September 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner