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Rolf Kanesky is becoming the most interesting director working in low
budget horror. Lord knows there are enough terrible hand-held efforts
clogging up the rental shelves, although it's cool that people are
getting out there and trying. Anyhow, Rolf seems to have a much lower
budget on this one than on The Hazing, be he economises well and the
make up and effects are good and it works to the films benefit that
they are sparingly used until the climax.
Story concerns an unstable young woman who uses a wacko ancient fertility mask to try and improve her sex life with her husband only to end up having horrific visions of a spirit contained within the mask. The demon seems to come to life while she's stranded in the woods on a ill-fated road trip and ends up running for her life. In to the the mix is Kanefsky regular Tiffany Shepis and her gang of buddies hanging out in a remote cottage. They have their own complicated relationship issues. Shepis is a good actress who seems naturally uninhibited and doesn't look down upon B-movie roles and just has fun with it. She's great here, and has a sexy tough and funny role. Sure, there's nudity and gore, but who would want to see her as, say, Ashton Kutchers girl in a sucky comedy. The rest of cast are variable with the lead actress overplaying at times but improving as the film goes on and her responses look more appropriate.
I digress, sorry, violence and weirdness abound as the "nightmare man " descends upon the cottage, and the newly arrived guest ain't feeling herself. Some odd, surprising twists happen before the climax. Think the The Mask meets The Exorcist and you're there. Kind of..
I was lucky enough to have caught this on The Horror Channel and it's one of their best recent acquisitions. I'm not saying Nightare Man is a stone-cold classic but it is a gem and well executed considering the low budget and resources. I do feel this director will improve with each movie. Kanfesky knows how to be ambitious whilst giving the horror fans what they want.
Not that I am saying this movie was all bad, but that was the highlight and if the sexy talk is the highlight of a horror movie then it is not much of a horror film in the end. The story has this woman who seems to be having a bit of trouble on the marital front. Her solution to the problems seems to be to order some love god mask, they instead seem to send her the evil demon love god mask and throughout the movie you wander if this manifest ion is real or not. She is being driven to the mental institution by her husband they break down and she is seemingly stalked and attacked by this person or thing while her husband is getting gas. Meanwhile, somewhere in the woods there is a house with two couples. Two very cute girls who are friends and their boyfriends. They play truth or dare and then the crazy...or not, girl ends up in their care. Well lets just say there is somebody out there trying to get at her as he quickly steals a crossbow and handles the one guy while he is being mooned. However, you still don't know if it is the mysterious nightmare man the girl goes on about or something else. The husband is heading for the cabin though and soon afterward so are the police. This movie had potential as do most horror movies and like so many they just miss some stuff. On the plus side you get to see a couple of good kills, some good nudity, and the end was rather good too. However, I was kind of hoping for something more in the lines of say an Evil Dead movie rather than a typical slasher film with a twist here and there. So far out of the three Afterdark movies in this new batch this is the strongest, sadly though compared to the last batch this one would be tied with Penny Dreadful as the weakest in my eyes.
I have been looking forward to Nightmare Man ever since June of 2006,
when I had the opportunity to meet Tiffany Shepis at Flashback Weekend
in Chicago. She was honestly excited about it, and I found her
enthusiasm infectious enough to check out this movie as one of the 8
Films to Die For.
She was right. I really enjoyed this movie. That is not to say that it is, well, really good. At it's core, this film is your classic "boobs and blood" b-movie. You have to go in accepting this. The script is flimsy at times, the dialog is openly bad at times, the characters act accordingly most of the time (few moments you'll ask yourself "is that REALLY the most reasonable reaction" but those moments are uncommon) but overall...I really liked it. What really makes the movie work is Kanefsky's ability to put the viewer in the scene. I haven't seen many films that capture the surroundings better than this one does. The scene at the edge of the road is phenomenal. I can tell you where every tree is in relation to the car. I could feel how far it was from the trunk of the car to the trunk of the really big tree off the rear passenger window. And I knew there wasn't much room for Ellen to move if (when) she needed to. The suspense created is fantastic, and that alone carries this movie. I will be seeking out Kanefsky's other films for that alone.
The acting is much better than I expected, Blythe Metz is a bit inconsistent, but when she's on she's really good. Tiffany Shepis does a good job, but the writing for her character is...confusing at best. Her reactions are not what you might expect to the events that unfold around her. Of the women in the movie, Hanna Putnam puts in the best performance, I hope to see her get some roles with more exposure. The male actors are not as impressive as this is really a movie that highlights the women for more than the obvious reasons. James Ferris is the best of the male actors, but I did like Jack Sway as Ed and Luciano Szafir with the exception of his accent getting in the way a little.
Overall, I do recommend this movie for those that like low-budget horror. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I hope you do to.
This was a really bad movie. Not parts of it, but the whole damn thing. What was this director thinking? The acting was so bad you can't even imagine. There were no emotions at all. The actors were responding the same way to whatever the director throws at them! They were in this film not for their acting skills but because they looked good in front of the camera! As for the script ... What script? Is there a script really? Were the actors allowed to make up the lines as the movie went on? Because their lines were so bad and corny that they had to be improvised! I don't understand how some people were able to laugh with this thing, I wasn't able to bring myself to do that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nightmare Man starts as Bill (Luciano Szafir) is driving his wife Ellen
(Blythe Metz) cross country to a mental institute, apparently Ellen
thinks she's possessed by some sort of demon from an Afican tribal wood
carved face mask, obviously she isn't & that's why she's on her way to
a loony bin. However en-route the car runs out of petrol in the middle
of nowhere, Bill sets off on foot to find a petrol station while Ellen
stays behind in the car. It turns out though Ellen may not be as mad as
originally anticipated as the Nightmare Man (Aaron Sherry) becomes a
living reality that wants to kill her, she runs away into some wood
where she stumbles upon a log cabin with four friends inside who all
become potential victims for the Nightmare Man...
Written, produced & directed by Rolfe Kanefsky this low budget teen slasher isn't quite as bad as I had feared & isn't too bad if you have low enough expectations. The script obviously takes it inspiration from the self conscious Scream (1996) & it's imitators, this is a basic teen slasher & to be honest it doesn't really try to be anything else. Sure there are a couple of average twists in the story to liven things up a bit but at heart this is just a slasher. To be positive at least it moves along at a nice enough pace, there might have been a couple more murders but I wasn't bored with it, the character's are actually a lot better than I thought with reasonable decision making like actively trying to stick together & deciding not to go out in the woods alone or split up which is a nice change & generally speaking I thought it was a painless if undemanding & forgettable enough way to pass 90 odd minutes. The other thing that I liked about this film is Tiffany Shepis who I have seen in several other low budget horror films but didn't particularly know her in the sense if I saw a picture of her I wouldn't recognise her, here though she's probably the best thing about Nightmare Man as she runs around in her extremely mini skirt & boots holding a huge hunting rifle spouting mildly amusing one-liners, hey I'm easily pleased OK?
Director Kanefsky does alright on a low budget but it's not stylish & it all rather flat & bland. I've just realised that I've seen every horror film Kanefsky has directed to this point (lucky me, not), The Hazing (2004) which is pretty good, Corpses (2004) which is not so good, Jacqueline Hyde (2006) which is terrible & this which is OK. There's no scares, the twists aren't entirely successful or surprising, there's not much tension & no atmosphere but nothings perfect I suppose. Horror fans will also be able to spot the blatant The Evil Dead (1982) homage. There's not much gore here, an arrow fired into someones mouth, a knife stuck under someones chin & a bit of blood splatter & not much else.
Withn a supposed budget of about $250,000 this is as well made as you could expect, it's certainly glossier & nicer looking than many low budget straight-to-video/DVD horror film crap that's out there. As I said Tiffany Shepis is the best thing about Nightmare Man, she's a really hot looking chick with a great body & she actually gives a decent performance here which I'm sure no one was expecting to hear. The rest of the cast do OK & all of the girls find themselves in some degree of undress at one point or another.
Nightmare Man isn't anything particularly special, in fact it's nothing more than OK but even that's still a hell of a lot better than I was expecting. Worth a watch for horror fans who have to see everything & anything but other more casual viewers out there may not be that impressed.
this was a pretty decent little low budget horror flick,, reminds you of the b movies of the 70's and 80's. a woman convinced by her husband is going to be checked into a mental hospital for her visions of the Nightmare Man.. she gets a mask from Rome, apparently she thinks it's the wrong mask and wants to ship it off the next morning,, apparently she think that this mask is supposed to be like a fertility drug or something,, something to help her husband get it up.. the car breaks down , husband leaves to get gas, doesn't return,, this is where the fun starts,, Nightmare Man comes after her, and she manager to get to a cabin with a bunch of other people who have their own little issues. that's as far as i wanna go with what happens in the movie.. Tiffany Schepis is by far the freshest newest hottie in town,, she ought be in a lot more movies,, she can act.. and her eye candy is unbelievable. this is a pretty decent film for such a low budget..
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After ordering an African mask (from Italy?) that promises increased
fertility, Ellen (Blythe Metz) begins to experience demonic visions of
a 'Nightmare Man' attacking her. To help rid her of these horrible
visions, Ellen's flaccid husband, William (Luciano Szafir), takes her
to a health clinic. En route, the couple's car breaks down and Ellen is
attacked by the Nightmare Man yet again. Fleeing, she takes shelter in
a lone cabin with a group of strangers. The unstoppable Nightmare Man,
however, continues his attack on the group of Ellen's protectors.
The batch in After Dark Horrorfest 2006 was a disappointment and I heard the same about this 2007's as well. Regardless of my disappointment in them, however, the films always did have a couple things going for them: they're original (mostly) and they have cool one-sheets. Other than a rare couple, I haven't seen any of the fest-horrors that I'd consider to be of any quality. Nightmare Man looked promising. . . again, creative story and a cool poster. Unfortunately, the actual film fell flat due to extremely poor execution by writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky. It wasn't COMPLETELY bad: The Nightmare Man was pretty cool-looking, even though he looked like Howie Mandel in Little Monsters ("Got 'em, got 'em, need 'em, got 'em"). And, again, the story was interesting. There were a few scenes of some very good tension & suspense. Also, a bit of gore & violence helped it along, though the gore wasn't very well done. The dialogue was in a league of its own of horrible and it was made even worse by some terrible performances by the leads (I understand and advocate the hiring of international actors, but c'mon, I could barely understand the husband). The script was jammed with clichés. Over the course of a two-minute period: The arguing couple's car runs out of gas, she accuses him, the phone gets no reception, no cars on the road for 'eighty miles,' 'Oh wait! I saw a gas station sign!,' the husband leaves the wife alone in the dark in the middle of the woods, etc. Yikes! I thought my head would explode out of lack of creativity there. The predictability of the ending is pathetic and, in an attempt to eliminate the predictability, gets even MORE predictable and downright stupid. And, it all comes together to make an ultimately crappy modern horror film.
Final verdict: 3/10. PASS!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The quick and dirty version of this movie without any spoilers - it changes the type of movie it's trying to be too many times! The problem with movies that do that is they don't do any one right. Good slashers stick with something - suspense, believability, etc. and run with it. The five is because it does entertain the viewer, but the acting is average and the movie does not give you something to think about after the credits role. Bottom line for those deciding whether or not to watch this movie - if you're hinging an evening on this flick, skip it. If it's a rainy day and there is quite nothing else to do, crack open that bottle of cognac and half of your attention will suffice to get the full value of this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ellen(Blythe Metz)is having some major problems. She cries out to her
husband, William(Luciano Szafir)that a "Nightmare Man", this type of
evil(..or perhaps even a demonic force)within her that won't cease
since receiving a hideous tribal mask(..she was supposed to get a "god
of fertility" mask, but was sent the wrong one)in the mail. Their
marriage is troubled due to her "intimacy issues"(..among others
things:secrets that will come out at the end)and William is having her
committed to a hospital to correct her supposed paranoid schizophrenia.
On the way to that hospital, their car runs out of gas, William tells
Ellen to stay in the car as he goes after some more, and she is
"confronted" by the Nightmare man. Running for her life in the woods,
as he attacks her periodically, Ellen finds a cabin housing a group of
people. The owner of the cabin, Mia(sexpot Tiffany Shepis)is having a
"marriage celebration" for her friend Trinity(Hanna Putnam) and
soon-to-be husband Jack(James Ferris). Also present is Mia's young
boyfriend Ed(Jack Sway, who looks all but 18). The film alternates
between a revealing game of "Erotic Truth or Dare" with the cabin gang
and poor Ellen fending off the Nightmare man as he playfully exposes
his knife to her. Ellen will lose her medication(pills which were
supposed to keep the Nightmare man at bay)and fight her way to the
cabin, in tattered clothes and torn psyche. The middle portion of the
film has Mia, Trinity, Jack & Ed trying to cope with a mentally
tortured Ellen, talking out of her mind about an evil trying to "get
in" and "take over" her body. Ellen claims that without her pills, the
evil will take control over her body. The final portion of the film
REALLY gets wacky as we find out who the REAL Nightmare man is, veering
into "Night of the Demons" territory.
The film is a bit this and a bit that:psychological thriller(Is Ellen crazy?Is there truth to what she is saying?), slasher flick(the Nightmare man outside the cabin picking off members inside one by one when he gets a chance), and demonic horror comedy(..when the evil takes control and runs rampant). I think if you get a group of kids or adults together with some beer and chips, "Nightmare Man" might be an entertaining ride. I didn't find an original bone in it's body, but I couldn't claim, with a straight face anyway, that I wasn't enjoying myself a bit. The first part of the film singularly focuses on Ellen, in a car terrified at out her wits, as she hears noises and the viewer sees a masked man running outside..we are part of this nightmare, whether it be real or imagined. It loses control at the end, with rifle-toting Shepis, in a bonafide star vehicle(..tossing quips like this Millennium's Linnea Quigley), not knowing what she is facing not only outside her cabin but inside with Ellen all schizoid and babbling about evil. I enjoyed the revelation of Mia and Trinity's lesbian tryst in college(..how it is delicately mentioned between the two and finally revealed to Jack)..if only we were treated to a little of that action(..sigh, which would not be the case). The gore is of the low-budget variety and the acting is hit-or-miss. Shepis, shows the goods, of course, never failing to disappoint... how this movie finds ways to exploit Shepis' willingness to do such things include the taunting of a striptease, how her top is supernaturally removed, and when her boyfriend gets an arrow shot through his mouth as it was open while she removes her panties exposing her bum to him. Richard Moll(Bull of Night Court fame)shows up in a cameo as the area sheriff. I thought the mask and demonic make-up was cool.
Wow, this movie was downright bad. From the acting to the score to the
screenplay to the direction, just downright bad. I think the writer
didn't realize that fertility deals with procreation, not libido.
The biggest problem with this movie is apparent from the get-go. Generally in movies you pull for a hero, whether them likely or not. Films have protagonists and the audience is supposed to like or care for them depending on the context. In order for this film to work, we have to truly care for the well-being and safety of said protagonist. The character is terribly written; she's whiny, bitchy, and full of inconsistency. The actress makes it worse. She's just terrible. Literally unbelievably bad.
The plot is weak, and the "twist" is seen miles away. Very obvious, yet it doesn't make much sense.
The minor characters are fluff at best, and the "being" is hilarious. It isn't one of those, "so bad it's good" things, you actually find yourself forcing laughter at just how terrible this is.
The score reminds me of shaking uncontrollably in a cold sweat. It's uncomfortable, annoying and headache-inducing.
All in all, this movie is only worth a viewing if you're attempting to show someone how NOT to make a film. You could point out plot, screenplay, direction, cinematography, acting, characters, score, visuals, et cetera.
There are times we are all tempted to watch something so horrible, we get chuckles. This is NOT that film. Just stay away if you know what's good for you.
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