M Movie Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Please kill me, please! Not her! – Roy
Written and directed by Derek Cole and Shane Cole
2010, 79 minutes, Not rated
Stephen Twardokus as Roy
Sabrina Carmichael as Jessica
Jon Gale as Detective Row
Jaime Seibert as Detective Mitchell
Rich Lowe as Detective Whites
Ed Cole as Ted
Russ Kobrin as Russ
Jessica Lowe as Shelly
Denise Gossett as Marcy
Roy and Jessica have a nice evening planned out for their anniversary, but things go from a great night of romance and sex to horror and pain when a masked man enters their home, ties them up and proceeds to torture them for hours. He has a reason, but he's not telling.
M moves very fast. With a running time of 79 minutes, the film felt half that long since the Cole brothers (Derek and Shane) have delivered a well-edited movie. Knowing when to cut to a new scene at the moment when tension is highest is the sign of a great filmmaker. The Cole brothers manage this most of the time, but let themselves down when they jump to the scenes with the police tracking a killer (the same one who now has Roy and Jessica in his control). The actual timing of the transition is fine, but nearly all of the scenes involving the police are nothing more than exposition. You never really see the detectives doing anything but talking to one another, explaining who the killer is and what his motives are, and it's frustrating because you are left wanting a bigger pay off from the law.
Yet, on the flip side, the torture of the two lovers is well handled. There is some stabbing, some drilling and some force feeding of a severed toe, all of which seems to be old school effects, as I didn't notice any cheating with CGI blood. The performances from Stephen Twardokus and Sabrina Carmichael (Roy and Jessica, respectively) could have been a tad stronger in some scenes, but that didn't distract too much from the film.
The killer in M is heavily influenced by Jason Vorhees, what with the mask covering his face, machete as weapon of choice and even posture to some degree, and I can't decide if that hurts or helps the film. On one hand, let's face it, that style is intimidating as hell, and it works, but on the other, dare I say it, that big, silent character type is a bit played out. If you are going to go that route, don't dress him in a mechanic's overalls and give him a machete; mix it up. That's not to say the multiple actors (the credits have four people — Jaime Seibert, Paul Zurcher, Shane Cole and Derek Cole — in the role) didn't do a good job with the part, as they did. There is a scene where he's sitting on a couch, waiting for the next time to punish the couple some more, that is just downright creepy. You never really see a masked killer in his 'off' time, and when you do it makes you sit up and take notice.
There are some terrific moments of suspense in M. One scene in particular is when Russ, the guy who mows Roy's and Jessica's lawn, shows up. The two scream from the garage in hopes that they can get his attention, as the killer looks on through the window. It's a very well shot scene, in part to both camera angles and the fear of what fate lies for poor Russ. It is that scene and those like it that shows both the talent the Cole brothers have and what they are capable of.
M is a perfect example of the type of movie I hate to review, because it's well executed and flawed at the same time. It has the right elements for a low-budget movie: competent actors, decent (if unoriginal) story, a sizeable villain and well done effects, but it just fails to deliver completely. The movie has left itself open for a sequel, and I am very curious to see if that's the route the Coles take. I was impressed with Shane Cole's short, Everyday Joe, and there's a lot in M to know that the two will only get better with experience. If there ends up being a sequel, I will eagerly check it out.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
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