Stars: Jennifer Wilde, Graham Emmons, Kathryn Gould, Joe Abplanalp, Troy Alan, Michael Haskins, Taylor Hulett, Louise Macdonald, Patrick Sheridan | Written and Directed by Haylar Garcia
A group of teenage outcasts, who have been picked on by the popular kids one too many times, hatch a plan to get revenge on their tormentors. After a night full of violent video games, drugs, and alcohol, they formulate a plan to kill their classmates at the upcoming homecoming dance. The problem is they don’t have the funds to get an arsenal of weapons for this school shooting. So they hatch an elaborate scheme to steal a cache of guns from a local trash pickup man who has a pro-gun sticker on his truck. While one of the kids continues to prepare for Armageddon at the Homecoming dance, the other two break into the trashman’s home to steal his guns. But the kids uncover more than just guns in the trashman’s underground lair. They stumble upon a torture chamber filled with unspeakable horrors. Trapped by the madman, they are used to fulfil his demented, bloody fantasies one at a time. Their only hope for survival is to fight back and find a way to escape the killer’s bloody grip.
An American Terror is controversial with a capital C. The main characters, after all, are planning to murder all their classmates at Homecoming. School shooting is an extremely sensitive subject especially with recent events. That fact alone made me twist awkwardly in my seat as the story began, worried that it might glorify or make a mockery of such a delicate issue. Lucky then that the story takes a completely random twist into the dark underground lair. Said lair containing one of the most ridiculously dressed ‘insane crazy red necks’ I’ve ever seen. Honestly, as horror film bad guys go, I just could not take this guy seriously. Apart from the odd ‘eww’ moment, I found myself laughing at his antics more often than being afraid of them. He seemed to have severe breathing issues behind his plague mask as well. Should probably get that checked out.
The main two players in this twisted, torture game are Tasha, your stereotypical cheerleader and fellow student/’planning to kill everyone social reject’ Josh. They of course, break the ultimate rule when escaping from the mad man’s torture maze which is ‘don’t fall asleep’. Yeah. I think that kind of sealed the deal that followed in the screamy cat and mouse chase of death. As horror films go, this one had the gore, but I never found myself afraid during the maze sequence.
Actually the main point at which An American Terror got worrying was as we drew ever closer to the plan at school being put into action. The result was handled well, to be fair, ending this rather over the top film with a slightly more down to earth and ‘decent’ message. My personal highlight of An American Terror was the way it was edited. Particularly the way you could hear Josh’s thoughts at moments during the film and flashes of the mad man’s thoughts as well. It definitely helped emphasise the mindsets of these characters (even if, in the case of the mad man, it is pretty clear that he is, you know… mad.)
Overall, an interesting film. Rather insane and ridiculous at points, definitely controversial, but with a positive message at the end. Sort of.
An American Terror is released on iTunes on March 6th, courtesy of PolarDogMedia.