07th May2021

‘Central Park’ DVD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Justin Reinsilber, Grace Van Patten, Justiin A. Davis, Deema Aitken, Ruby Modine, Guillermo Arribas, Michael Lombardi, Sarah Mezzanotte | Written and Directed by Justin Reinsilber

Even if you’d based most of your horror movie in Central Park, you’d think you could come up with a better title for it. No horror-themed thoughts, ideas or images go through my head with the simple title Central Park but here I am reviewing the film anyway…

Poor title aside, Central Park does do some good things. I actually quite like the idea of a slasher movie where the killer just chases people around the famous park with police unable to capture them for years. Whether it’s a good or bad thing, Central Park isn’t that film.

There is a killer and his victims are a group of teenagers but the writers throw in a whole lot more to the story than that. I admire the writers and the film-makers for at least adding much more to the basic story but by the end of the movie I was wondering if it was all really needed.

The start of Central Park talks about a man who will soon be heading to prison for fraud of billions of dollars. We then see this is the father of one of the lead group of characters. But there’s more, one of the teachers of these teens takes a late night cycle in the park at just the wrong time. And with another tenuous link, the teachers wife has history with a police officer who happens to be in the area that night. But to top all of that off there’s also the local legend of a ‘hyena guy’ that lives in the park. This might be the oddest part of the script. It’s the ‘legend’ of a man that saved a hyena in the park and is now seemingly some wild man that lives off of the land there. I’m unsure even after watching it to be honest f that’s the exact story. He turns out to be a nice wild man, I can tell you that at least.

Although I did say I admire the writers for at least trying something different, just sometimes having things a little bit more simple is a good thing. And here it feels like way to much is crammed into the ninety-minute runtime.

The main group of actors are decent thankfully. They’re a group of teenagers that get high and drunk in a park, so I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are likeable but they’re exactly how they should be in their roles and despite some horror-cliched bad choices, they do at least seem like real people.

Despite the actors limited experience, horror fans will recognise Ruby Modine from Happy Death Day, they all seem to gel well together on screen and it’s easy to believe this is a real group of friends.

As far as death scenes go, and this is basically a slasher movie so it’s a key part, they are mostly unentertaining and off screen for the moment of impact. As usual, this is almost definitely because of a low budget but they still manage to include an impressive-looking fire scene. Fire is notoriously dangerous in films but its use here brings up the best-looking images of the movie.

A simple slasher set in Central Park this is not but it might have been better going in that direction. Instead, it feels like the writer had several different ideas for a movie and squeezed them all into one. It’s not without highlights but Central Park feels like it should be more exciting.

** 2/5

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