05th Jun2014

‘Smothered’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Brea Grant, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Don Shanks, R.A Mihailoff, Michael Berryman, John Kassir, Dane Rhodes, Shanna Forrestall, John Schneider, Adria Tennor, Andrew Bowen, Amy Brassette | Written and Directed by John Schneider

smothered-cast-promo

Horror comedy Smothered is written and directed by actor turned director John Schneider. Yes, you did read that correctly… Actor John Schneider, who many will know from family-friendly productions and his roles as Bo Duke on Dukes of Hazzard and more recently Jonathan Kent, aka Superman’s dad, on Smallville, has turned his hand to writing and directing in more recent years but who knew he had a penchant for penning horror? Admittedly he has had roles in low-budget monster movies such as Super Shark, Snow Beast and Lake Placid 2 but I had no idea he was such a horror fan – he certainly has to be to create such a love letter to the horror community as Smothered.

The film sees horror icons Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Don Shanks and R.A Mihailoff, playing themselves in a film that sees them attending a small, disheartening horror-convention on Friday the 13th. Running out of patience but principally money, the group accept a cash-offer to go and scare-up the local RV park – but things take a surprising, dark turn when they arrive. The tables are turned as the monsters of the movie screen become the prey.

Whilst, at least to horror fans (and marketing men around the world), the big draw for this film is the gaggle of horror superstars that proliferate the cast, the real star of the movie is an almost unrecognisable Brea Grant (Heroes) as the RV park owners buxom daughter Dee Dee. You see this is not only a love letter to horror movies, it’s also a nod to the works of Russ Meyer and the big-boobed adventures of the Supervixens et al. You only have to take one look at Grant’s character Dee Dee to realise that! Yes, there’s a reason this film is called Smothered and lets just say it involves Brea Grant and her massive (fake) mammaries…

Although that’s not to take anything away from Kane Hodder and co. The very idea of a group of guys who would normally be hacking and slashing their way through a cast of nubiles being the heroes is the reason Smothered works so well as a comedy. These veterans of the horror genre all cleverly play on their public personas in what are convention-breaking roles (and yes, given the cast are supposed to be attending a horror con, that WAS an intended pun). Kane Hodder in particular switches things up, going from a silent killing machine in the likes of Friday the 13th Part 7 & 8 and the Hatchet franchise to what is essentially this films romantic, heroic lead!

Thankfully comedy doesn’t detract from the horror – again in part to Brea Grant. She brings a twisted, off-kilter edge to proceedings (she takes psycho fan to a whole new level), leaving audiences guessing as to where and when she’ll strike. Hell, who knew a busty blonde could be so terrifying? It also helps that as a horror fan you feel like you already know this cast of horror actors, and know them enough to care about them when they are in peril. It’s an incredible way of short-cutting the usual character-building arcs (well I saying character building but as is often the genre’s wont, it’s more like character introduction these days) and getting straight down to the nitty-gritty of killing folk.

Writer/director John Schneider is certainly on to a winner with Smothered, the laughs work because we “know” these guys and they play against type and the horror works for the exact same reason, we think we know them so we care more for them. This may not appeal to everyone and it probably shouldn’t – this is a film made by a horror fan for horror fans, a love letter to the genre, its icons and its fans – but if you like your horror with a thorough streak of fun (a la Tucker & Dale vs. Evil) then Smothered is for you.

**** 4/5

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