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ROT: REUNION OF TERROR
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Michael A. Hoffman

Starring:
L.J. Green
Christian Anderson
Nori Jill Phillips

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After a terrible tragedy… I guess it was sort of a tragedy… we never really get to see any of it, only hear about it… anyway, after a terrible tragedy, things change for six high school friends. Ten years later, they are all invited to a reunion. One of them even picks up a underage hitchhiker chick and gets a hand job. But once they arrive to a secluded cabin in the woods… do I need to go on?
Is it good movie?

Now I really don’t want to pick on ROT: Reunion of Terror because I love those psycho in the woods flicks. I can appreciate the lack of a budget and I can appreciate the adequate cast. And one thing I appreciated the most… is their tweak of the leading lady in peril… let’s just say it is not who you think it would be. But what I didn’t appreciate is the long-winded script and the movie of the week elements that come up in the final frames. There is a sequence in ROT where four “best friends” from high school meet up in a diner, ten years after graduation. Meant to build the characterizations so that we feel something for them when the get killed, all we really get to see is twelve hours of them talking about crap (okay, that might be an exaggeration). But seriously, the more these people open their mouths, the more I wanted the unknown killer (who, by the way is painfully obvious) to kill the f*ckers. There is only one character I actually liked and that was Jimmy (Christian Anderson). This guy is a dude’s dude. The kind of guy who could get a hand job from a hitchhiker. That is class baby! And you can’t have a cooler name for a character then Jimmy… I’m just sayin’.

So much in this film could have been a pretty awesome little low-budget slasher. It had lesbians having sex. And seriously, that would have been awesome if the characters weren’t so moronic. I even felt that the gore, when the kills were even on-screen, was pretty good. But so much of this seemed borrowed from other flicks including, of course, Friday the 13th, and that yearbook sequence was almost a blatant rip off of the original Prom Night and probably a few others. I think there was even a moment that reminded me of My Bloody Valentine. I don’t necessarily mind a movie paying “homage” to earlier horror films, but for some reason this felt a bit overdone when it came to that aspect.

I mentioned the final frames. I won’t tell you too much, but I will tell you the how and why felt like it should have been a made for TV movie. It took itself much too seriously and the fact that the fight went on as long as it did was just silly. Come on, this killer ain’t so tough. The slap attack near the end had me in tears with a smile on my face. The actors here are not terribly good, but they manage to offer some charm in a cheesy horror film kind of way. This one is a tough one because the script is so poorly written that it would have been hard for anyone to make it work. But with that in mind, director of the film (and he also has a writers credit) Michael A. Hoffman had a couple of nice shots. He also edited the film and did manage to keep the look of the film better than you would expect, aside from a few too many nature shots. Hopefully, the next film he takes a stab at will have a little more substance than ROT.
Video / Audio
This was a screener so I am not sure of the Audio and Video quality, but it didn’t look too bad considering.
The Extras
Believe it or not… a screener with special features.

The best is the Commentary with Mr. Hoffman and screenwriter Meghan Jones. I really enjoyed hearing their take on the film and how they attempted to make this something more than just a horror film. Even though I appreciated it, many of the choices that they seemed proud of were ones that I had problems with. This includes the final sequence and that damn diner scene. Still, I had fun listening to this two.

Finishing off the disc includes a few short futurities including The Music of ROT, a music video for “Faking the Deathwish” by a band called D-Composure. I kind of liked the song, and the video was alright… cheap, but still fun. There is also The Making of ROT which is also quite entertaining and offered up a little bit of insight in regards to the struggle of making an independent horror. Finishing off the special features is the Trailer which is as long as the movie (again with the exaggeration). But considering this is a little independent feature, I appreciated the extras. Good stuff here.
Last Call
Michael A. Hoffman is a director that might make a pretty cool flick someday. But ROT is not it. Aside from a few interesting casting twists, I really had problems with the script. These are not interesting characters, and they talk way too damn much. The killer is predictable and most of the kills are off-screen. Thankfully, there are a couple of fun ones, but not enough to save this reunion.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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