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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
One thing that can really benefit a low-budget indy horror flick is a great found location. We saw that with PRISON OF THE PSYCHOTIC DAMNED, which took excellent advantage of New York's massive and extremely spooky old Buffalo Central Terminal, and more recently with the Italian zombie fest BURIAL GROUND.
RAZORS (2016) gets the same kind of mileage out of a big dark old Victorian building (The Electrowerkz in London, England), without which, unfortunately, there would be little to recommend it.
An oddball screenwriting mentor, Professor Richard Wise (Thomas Thoroe), invites six young aspiring authors to the site in order to collaborate on the ultimate horror film script with the crumbling, labyrinthian building as their inspiration.
One of them, Ruth (Kelby Keenan), has an added writer's aid--she claims to be in possession of a wooden case containing several razor-sharp knives that were the original killing instruments of none other than Jack the Ripper.
Naturally, they begin to experience strange, ghostly happenings and, in Ruth's case, weird dreams foretelling the murders of certain members of the party. Some of them encounter the ghost of a young girl from the Ripper's era who seems to be asking for their help.
Others see Jack the Ripper himself, dressed in black slouch hat and cloak and in full kill-mode. As the horror escalates, some of the group begin to suspect Professor Wise of being up to something sinister.
Along with its choice location, RAZORS benefits from good cinematography and a capable cast. What ultimately does it in, however--besides a disjointed story that never really goes anywhere--is the editing.
Seldom does a horror film contain such a jumble of montages, collages, and clumps of random images that look more like the editor having fun and making "art" than actually crafting a coherent narrative.
And despite the film's inherent Gothic atmosphere, there's not much of a scare factor either. The ghost girl, first seen only in brief glimpses, loses her creepiness when revealed up-close as a chatty costumed child actress in stagey makeup.
Frequent attempts at jump-scares seldom have the desired effect, nor do lots of screaming and occasional indulgences in gore.
Jack himself seems more of an ogrish working-class brute than the usual Victorian gentleman-gone-bad we're used to, and is even less effective when seen as a convulsive shirtless maniac covered in blood.
I had high hopes for RAZORS due to the poster and stills, which gradually dissipated during the film's less-than-riveting running time. It's apparently intended as the first in a projected horror franchise, but after the abrupt, lackluster ending, I wasn't exactly yearning for more.
Buy it at Amazon.com