17th Feb2020

‘Red Handed’ Review

by Dom Hastings

Stars: Michael Biehn, Michael Madsen, Kenzie Dalton, Ryan Carnes, Rick Salomon, Owen Burke, Christian Madsen, Clement von Franckenstein, Beth Miller, Hunter Daily, Caroline Vreeland, Jeb Berrier, Jay Seals, Thyme Lewis, Sage Mayer | Written and Directed by Frank Peluso


A family trip down to the river they said. It will be peaceful and provide closure they also said. No chance…

Led by Christian Madsen, brothers Duffy (Madsen), Gus (Ryan Carnes) and Pete (Owen Burke), accompanied by partners and children, head down to a contained village of sorts to spread the ashes of their father (Michael Madsen) across the mountain river where their childhoods remain linked. For Pete, however, his return to the river is more of a PTSD trigger than brotherly reminise. During childhood, Pete was abducted, and when taller brother Duffy brings his child – who is later abducted – history begins to repeat itself.

The brothers, predictably, are not alike whatsoever – Duffy slightly rugged and successful, Gus the pretty boy, and Pete has had a severely tough life. Outside of this trio, you have the remains of the generation who preceded them, featuring Michael Biehn as Reynolds, their slightly eccentric uncle. Like fellow veteran, Michael Madsen, it is great fun to see Michael on screen commanding the scene. It is, however, a shame that Madsen’s role is infinitely inferior to the rest of the main cast, though understandable due to the story. There is too a notion that Biehn could have appeared more despite the great prominence of his character late on, but maybe this is just fandom bias.

On a technical level, Red Handed is positively engaging with its usage of flashbacks. Flashbacks in horror may be a trope for a character’s origin or a mystery reveal, hence why they appear frequently in some of the best and most popular franchise horrors of the last forty-something years. The flashbacks in Red Handed do a marvelous job of contextualising much of the characters – especially Pete – and producing a well needed clarification here and there.

Like the concept of family itself, Red Handed can too be confusing, chaotic, but wholesome too. Ultimately, there is a feeling or suggestion that this is a film of two halves, but not quite in equal measure. Eventually, the confusing and direction-less first “half” is contextualised late on, though, depending on your patience, this may occur too late on to save the day.The latter “half” of Red Handed does feel somewhat familiar in contemporary horror, and it is creepy. Frank Peluso has shown hints of great potential in his writing-directing debut, and should feel accomplished with this new instalment to the world of direct-to-video and video-on-demand horror.

** 2/5

Red Handed is out now on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures.


Comments are closed.