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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

CENTRAL PARK -- Movie Review by Porfle

Another group of annoying teens is stalked by another mysterious slasher in another forest, but this time the forest is in CENTRAL PARK (2017) and the teens are even more annoying, and dumber, than usual.

Of course, the fact that they're so annoying and their antics and dialogue so insipid actually helps the film's realism.  As for "dumb", well--they're in the heart of New York City and they still can't manage to get through to 911 on their cell phones when the gore hits the blade.

The reason they're in Central Park in the first place is to help cheer up their friend Harold (Justiin A. Davis), whose father has been caught bilking people out of about three billion dollars, throwing his family and his whole life into chaos.

Thus, time for a friendly get-together around the campfire with a few illicit substances and, since the group consists of three couples, some harmless hanky-panky.
But first, the exposition, and CENTRAL PARK takes its sweet time introducing us to all the characters and showing what daily high school life is like for them--a little getting in trouble with teacher in English class, a little girl talk in the girls' room, and, for Harold, some really hurtful taunting about his criminal dad.

By the time they finally make it into the park, we're about ready for a break, too.  And after some extended chit-chat, including a tense game of "Truth or Dare", first-time writer/director Justin Reinsilber brings on the carnage and doesn't let up.

Everything's complicated by a subplot in which a woman who lives nearby enlists her ex-husband, a plainclothes cop, to help locate her current husband who's missing after taking a bike ride into the park. 

Gorehounds may be disappointed, since much of the violence is implied (unless you count some quick shots of a guy on fire and a glimpse of a blade protruding from someone's mouth) and there really isn't that much of the old wet stuff to be seen.

The killer himself turns out to be rather intriguing after a surprise reveal late in the story in which we learn both identity and motive.  As for his victims, the more likable ones go first (that's purely subjective, of course) leaving us to rather enjoy watching the rest of them get picked off.

And speaking of "dumb" again, the first time they stumble across a body they all go screaming off into the dark woods in different directions, alone, making themselves perfect targets for the killer to dispose of at his leisure.  His techniques, we discover, are fairly ordinary as far as stalker/slashers go.

CENTRAL PARK itself is pretty standard, old-school stuff of the kind one might have rented on VHS (video stores used to be full of titles like this) or watched on Cinemax back in the 80s.  Nothing special, but perfectly passable entertainment for undemanding genre fans with some time to kill.

Premieres at Dances With Films Saturday, June 3, 2017
TCL Chinese 6
11:45 pm
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028



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