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Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Another entry in the retro-centric vein of comedy-horror throwbacks to the 70s and 80s, WildEye Releasing's furious ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE (2014) features bikers from Hell terrorizing naive newlyweds from Hicksville who all wish they were in a Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino flick. 

This earnest but not quite all-there low-budget indy wants to be another FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, but has its best moments when it isn't trying to emulate Rodriguez' over-the-top style and Tarantino's quirky dialogue.

After shotgunning nerdy groom Tim (Mike Bazanele) and kidnapping his screaming bride Bobby Sue (Sarah Kobel Marquette), the mega-grungy members of the Satan's Sinners motorcycle club hang around their saloon clubhouse spewing reams of tough-guy dialogue at each other and doing "shocking" things like hacking off the hapless bartender's fingers every time he gets on their nerves. 

Periodically they're attacked by the zombie-fied Tim, who has been resurrected by a tall stranger (Joseph Sullivan) resembling Nick Cave in a white Porter Wagoner cowboy suit and claiming to be "God."  Tim, unfortunately, is a washout as a revenge hero, and--well--they keep killing Tim! 

One of the film's bright spots, Mike Bazanele's Tim is a likable character and it's fun to see him keep plugging away at trying to rescue Bobby Sue before she can be sacrificed in an upcoming Satanic ceremony, getting shot to pieces every time for his efforts. 

The evil bikers, on the other hand, get old real fast and their scenes inside the saloon tend to drag.  Meanwhile, the "God" character (who refers to his Son as a "drunken loser") and the horny, hooch-swilling priest to whom Tim finally turns for help are meant to shock us, and might have if blasphemy hadn't already been one of the most popular Facebook fads for the last ten or fifteen years. 

On the plus side, the film is loaded with gore effects which look like they were concocted in somebody's basement and are lots of gooey, splattery fun.  (Some of the blood splatters are digital, however, which is something I'll never get used to.)

It also features that by-now-familiar "grindhouse" look--that is, a deliberate weathering, so to speak, of the film to make it look like a typical battered print from the old days--which always makes me feel right at home somehow.

The film starts out with a nicely dead-on parody of the old slasher-in-the-woods yarns from the 80s until the bikers show up, kill all the stereotypical teens, and make off with the only virgin in the group, blonde Tina (April Mai), who's forced into some rather unpleasant nude dancing later on at the bar. 

Acting-wise, Bazanele and Marquette seem to fare best as Tim and Bobby Sue while the rest of the cast, including Ehren McGhehey of "Jackass", are hit and miss.  This is especially true in the case of William Ross as "Sheriff Parks", whose strangely affected acting is downright odd to the point of distraction.  (Could he be poking fun at his FROM DUSK TILL DAWN namesake's peculiar acting style?) 
The DVD from WildEye Releasing features a director/writer commentary track, deleted scenes, and a trailer.  No subtitles. 

As it heads toward its free-for-all human-sacrifice finale inside the local Catholic church, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE struggles for that cult-movie vibe like a fat guy on a treadmill that's going too fast, and we only intermittently feel the burn.

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Release date: March 22, 2016


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