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Wanda Best Deveaux
Several years ago, a sleepy Pacific Northwest town was terrorized by a skull-faced maniac with a thirst for blood. It seemed no man, woman or child was safe from the North Bend Reaper, a crafty serial killer who became infamous for stealing patches of clothing from his bloodied victims. Despite a massive manhunt, the Reaper was never found. Fast forward to the present - a group of actors try to cash in on the town's notoriety by hosting an interactive murder mystery party based on the unsolved killings. After isolating their guests at an abandoned summer camp, they come to the terrifying conclusion that someone in their midst is killing them off one by one. Has someone chosen to continue the North Bend Reaper's bloody legacy? Or has the Reaper himself come back for one last dance with death? Written by
The character of "Dreighton" the host of the murder mystery game had originally been written as an African American. He was described as an over the top "voodoo priest" with a skull painted on his face. After seeing several actors for the part the filmmakers were not happy with their choices. Something was missing. When Benjamin Gutknecht (Benjamin G Arthur) came in to read for the part of "Andrew" they soon realized his commanding presence and large stature would suit the "Dreighton" character better. Soon as he was cast the screenplay was re-tooled and the make up re-designed as an homage to "Alice Cooper/KISS". The Dreighton make up and costume took an hour each day to apply. He wears the make up for 70% of the movie. Director Dan Zachary's younger sister Angie Zachary plays the role of "Lisa" the naive goody two shoes camper. Dan also appears as one of the redneck's chasing the reaper through the woods in a flashback sequence. He can also be heard as the operator on the cell phone in the woods and as the radio announcer at the end of the film. Co-producer and co-writer John Knox plays "James" the perverted creep of the group. See more »
Murder Mystery party turns ugly when a real murderer shows up!
The peaceful town of North Bend, Washington is terrorized by a serial killer only known as "The North Bend Reaper." He was a hulking figure in a skull mask whom adorned himself in a cloak made from swatches of material taken from his victim's attire. In 1988 he killed multiple citizens in the area, before disappearing, apparently killed by three hunters out for revenge.
In present day, a troupe of actors, led by Ben Traimer (Todd Hann), is starting a murder mystery party company very near where the original tragedies of 1988 took place. The town is in an uproar because the murder mystery is going to be based on the local legend the North Bend Reaper. Because of this, the location of the party is being kept top secret a summer camp closed for the Fall.
Besides those involved in the company, the guests for the weekend include Therese and Tibor (Tristan Risk and Dave Cote), Joseph (Mike Coleman) an investigative reporter, Andrew (Steve McGowan) who thinks with his little head, and Rosemary (Patricia Nudd) and Lisa (Angie Zachary). Actor Drieghton (Benjamin Gutknecht), who wears Alice Cooper Makeup and dresses as a mod pallbearer, runs the weekend's events. The guest that solves the "Slasher-Flick" murder mystery by the end of the weekend wins a cash prize of $500.
The only problem is that this has all caught the attention of the original North Bend Reaper, and there are going to be some real murders at the Murder Mystery gathering So, I have watched this movie a few times, and I cannot understand why people are jumping all over it so negatively. It is actually a pretty well put together slasher - certainly more intelligent than most that I have seen. The story is very sound, and the actors do not embarrass themselves. If anything they look like they are having a tremendously good time. The character of Dreighton is a true stand out. The design on the North Bend Reaper costume is excellent. And, Lee Tomaschefski is drop dead gorgeous. I wish she had had a nude scene.
Are the murders themselves graphic? No, but there ARE brutal. This little indie film has a true professional sheen to it. The production value is tremendous for what must have been a very low budget. The writing suffers at times, there are a few logistical problems, but overall you can tell that those in charge cared and did their damnedest to deliver entertainment - and they do.
Sure, some of the characters are a little clichéd, but most are fleshed out a little more than is normal for this sort of fare. The murder "game" itself looks like a lot of fun, and I wish we had a little more of that on the screen; maybe an extra could have been the actual game. The ending - which I feel is an open ending - is well done. Not everything is wrapped into a neat package, but at the same time it MAKES SENSE. How many slashers can boast that? This film has gotten good reviews as well. I would side with those as I think that if you give DARKEST HOUR a chance, you will enjoy it. I am happy that I own it, and it definitely is worth a rental. Extras on the disc include outtakes and deleted scenes, as well as trailers. I truly wish it had come with a commentary track.
Check it out!
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