Director: Nik Wendelsdorf
Cast: Alexandra Guerineaud, Ian M. Enriquez, Ronnie Kerr
Production Company: D.M.F. Productions
Runtime: 75 minutes
The old ways are sometimes the best ways. That might not hold true for everything, but when it comes to slasher movies, one might be able to make a case. Director Nik Wendelsdorf embraces tradition and mayhem in his film, Mr. Cleaver (2018).
In the movie, a group of punks breaks into what they consider an abandoned warehouse to partake in some sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They soon discover that they’re not alone. A crazed psychopath with a meat cleaver is hunting them down one by one…
Ronnie Kerr from Vampire Boys 2: The New Brood (2013) is gleefully outrageous as the group’s fearless leader. Spaz has a brutal battle with Mr. Cleaver that’s one of the film’s highlights. The fight is glorious in its need to take things to the extreme!
Alexandra Guerineaud is great as the obvious-from-the-start final girl. Shannon Lark from The Girl Who Played with the Dead (2014) also shines as Melanie. The entire group reminded me a little of the characters from Return of the Living Dead (1985).
Wendelsdorf often uses fast-cutting montages to bombard the viewer with intense images. The film’s opening sequence is a collection of highly disturbing visuals, and a sex scene later in the movie follows the same technique. These moments are quite powerful and meant to be alarming.
Mr. Cleaver is a loving tribute to straight-to-video slasher movies from the 80s and 90s. Even the aspect ratio reflects the film’s desire to claim its rightful place among trash films of the past. What really sells the nostalgia angle is all the gore. The movie is loaded with practical effects…
The splatter scenes in the movie are deliciously nasty. Heads, limbs, and even faces are hacked off with reckless abandon. Wendelsdorf’s camera really likes to dwell on the carnage. There are no quick cutaways here. Look at that gore! LOOK AT IT!
Of course, the film is intentionally lacking in basic political correctness. It’s throwback nature also extends to actually intending to be offensive. That’s great for fans of retro-horror, and can even be seen as refreshing in a lot of ways.
The film’s featured music is also worth mentioning. There’s a bunch of rocking tunes that really help to keep things lively. There are too many talented people involved to list them all here, so let’s just say that a soundtrack album would definitely be a good time.
– John Migliore
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