The Last Showing Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Written and directed by Phil Hawkins
2014, 85 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 25th August 2014
Robert Englund as Stuart
Finn Jones as Martin
Emily Berrington as Allie
Keith Allen as Collins
Malachi Kirby as Clive
If you're a young, go-getting manager that needs to deal with older, more experienced staff then beware; that cantankerous old guy who's been working at your place since day one is probably on a hair trigger and will snap if you ask him to adopt your new ways. Similarly, if you're in your twilight years and you've been doing your job meticulously throughout your career, you could very well be a psychopath in the making.
Such is the workplace quandary in The Last Showing, a compact British chiller from writer, producer and director Phil Hawkins. Veteran of independent horror Robert Englund is the headline name and principle antagonist, Stuart, whose role as chief projectionist in a modern multiplex is cut short by his fresh-faced and significantly junior manager. In an act of revenge, he plans to make his own movie by trapping the last two customers of the night in the building and manipulating them to perform acts of murder and violence.
The newly-dating couple that end up being the stars of Stuart's show are Allie (Emily Berrington) and Martin (Finn Jones), the sole attendees of a midnight screening of The Hills Have Eyes Part 2. Because all first cinema dates should be to see a below average Wes Craven sequel starring Michael Berryman. Who said romance was dead?
From his remarkable far-reaching control room that seems to have influence over almost every electrical item in the building, Stuart first kidnaps Allie and proceeds to coerce Martin into committing various nefarious deeds in the hope of getting his girl back – all while recording and editing the footage into his perfect horror movie.
Finn Jones gets the bulk of the screen time and the Game of Thrones actor carries the proceedings remarkably well. Englund plays a reasonable English villain, softly spoken and cunning, but at times the performance borders on being a bit hammy. He delivers a wryly amusing monologue on 'torture porn' during a sequence where he's torturing Martin with images of his captured girlfriend. Thankfully, when he's in contact with Allie, his approach is creepy rather than perverted, which is refreshing in the light of the rise of sexual violence in horror.
As a director, Hawkins wastes no time in getting to the story, with the setup happening during the credits. There's very little lag in the pace from start to finish and the film is shot in the most incredibly bold and vivid colours, a far cry from the usual dour palette that seems to represent 'serious' British cinema.
The Last Showing runs pretty much to formula and won't hold any real surprises for genre fans, although it's a reasonable way to kill 80-odd minutes. Like its title, the first time you see it will also be its last showing as there's little to bring you back for second helpings. Treat it as a cautionary tale; a lifetime of doing your job to the best of your ability breeds insanity. There's never been a better argument for half-arsing it.