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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

MADE ME DO IT -- DVD Review by Porfle

A quick, down and dirty shoot (as described by the filmmakers) on a very low budget sometimes yields surprisingly good results, as it has in the case of the horror-thriller MADE ME DO IT (Indican Pictures, 2017).

What director and co-writer (with Matthew John Koppin) Benjamin Ironside Koppin set out to do was to get some talented people together and "Frankenstein" (his word) a movie together taking the old FRIDAY THE 13TH and HALLOWEEN slasher templates and doing an homage with a few curves and angles thrown in.

The main victims aren't the usual rowdy, party-hardy bunch--just pensive college student Ali Hooper (Anna B. Shaffer), her younger brother Nick (Jason Gregory London), and her boyfriend Jason (Liston Spence).

Ali's home for the weekend (no keg party or summer camp in the woods this time) but her estranged parents are gone, leaving just her and the guys having a quiet, unpleasantly introspective time of things.

It's just the right situation to be crashed by the standard masked serial killer, but this time he's a stringy, weepy nerd named Thomas (Kyle Van Vonderen) who spends most of his time banished to his bedroom by a sadistic, abusive aunt and living in a fantasy world of funny drawings that come to life and masks that he makes out of paper plates.

Thomas is a "special needs" sort of kid who couldn't hurt a fly--that is, until he puts on his "Barbara" mask, because "Barbara" is just the take-charge, take-no-prisoners sort of person Thomas could never be.  And "Barbara" is angry at the world.  Very angry.

That's the set-up, and from there MADE ME DO IT takes us into a scary campfire tale where Thomas silently stalks the night in his creepy mask and wields his bloody axe, leaving a trail of bodies all the way to Ali and Nick's house.

Much of the subsequent action is similar to what happens in THE STRANGERS, in which masked killers home-invaded a young couple and terrorized them for no apparent reason.

Here, we get just the same spooky ambience with the inhabitants of the dark, shadowy house (the electricity, alas, has gone off) cowering in fear as they try to elude the unknown stalker, who keeps popping up where they least expect him.

The director builds the suspense well for most of the film, although some scenes tend to meander a bit as Ali gets contemplative about the whole thing.  The film spends a lot of time pondering Thomas' psychological state and how he got that way, and our interest in this runs hot and cold.

Meanwhile, Thomas goes off on several freaky mind-trips involving his dead parents, his imaginary animal friends, his horrible aunt, "Barbara" (of course), and other images that come flying at us via various media such as 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm film, scratchy VHS tape, and crude animations--all of which are quite well-done and fun to look at.  (These are explored in more detail in one of several making-of featurettes included on the DVD.)

With a rousing final confrontation and a pretty keen twist right at the fadeout, MADE ME DO IT stacks up as one of the more interesting modestly-mounted slasher flicks of recent years, and is way better than watching the usual teen campers getting sliced and diced in the woods by some Jason wannabe.


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