REVIEW: SMOTHERED / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOHN SCHNEIDER / SCREENPLAY: JOHN SCHNEIDER / STARRING: KANE HODDER, SHANNA FORRESTALL, BILL MOSELEY, R.A. MIHAILOFF, DON SHANKS / RELEASE DATE: TBC
For horror fans, Smothered is a movie that will tick plenty of boxes. The story of the day finds horror actors of yesteryear invited to a trailer park and tasked with the job of scaring visitors. A nice alternative to the usual convention circuit, plus a handy $1,000 each for the gig, means that the group happily take up the offer. The only hitch is, it appears that somebody is offing the celebrities one by one.
A breezy, free-flowing movie, Schneider’s film may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it brings a lot for genre fans to smile about. The key cast play spins on themselves, with the Friday the 13th series’ Kane Hodder often the main focus of our attention, and it doesn’t take long for the group to find their numbers dwindling rapidly. Deciding against a straightforward, progressive narrative, Smothered instead plays in a twisted, sliced order, which all falls into place just in time for the film’s finale.
One of the particular selling points of this movie is the chance to see these names, so often hidden behind a mask, getting some time in the sun. With Schneider carefully dodging some potential legal bullets, some of the characters we see in the film are famous for playing icons such as “Mason” and “Teddy”, whilst we also get nods to the likes of Halloween, Christine and The Devil’s Rejects. In its portrayal of actors who are left trawling the convention circuit, Smothered gives a little bit of an insight into what some of these real-life names do on a daily basis once the machetes and butcher knives are put away. And in this comes some of the humour of the movie, firmly poking fun at the very real world that the actors on show often find themselves engulfed in.
Smothered has to be taken in the right way and viewed by the right audience. Don’t be expecting a tense, edge-of-the-seat thriller, but do expect a low-budget film with a whole lot of heart. Some of the performances may not completely win you over, but there are some great turns to be seen here. Hodder does well as the leading man of the piece, but it’s Shanna Forrestall, playing a past-it dancer-cum-actress, who really shines when given some of Smothered’s more serious, meatier moments. Don Shanks, in ridiculous shape, steals many a moment as the loveable dick of the movie, whilst Bill Moseley, if a tad underused, is always a pleasure to watch. Amy Brassette and Brea Grant are also worthy of mention as the family running the trailer park. Brassette’s performance as mother Agnes, whilst largely disgusting, constantly grabs your attention.
As far as entertaining long-time horror fans goes, Smothered is most certainly the little movie that can.