On his seventeenth birthday, Michael is given a present of a Ouija board by Tony his best friend. At a session, Tony using a medium known to him only as "Virgil", unwittingly unlocks the evil forces of the board. Soon there is a wave of violent killings and the chief suspect appears to be Michael. He has been witness to all the killings via premonitions and out of body experiences. Is Michael the killer? Can he prove his innocence or is someone else being possessed by the evil spirit...?Written by
In the scene in which Michael and John are at the apartment waiting for possessed Tony to arrive "Cementerio Del Terror" is playing on the television. A film also directed by Ruben Galindo Jr. See more »
Part A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, part HALLOWEEN with a little bit of THE BOOGEYMAN thrown in for good measure, DON'T PANIC is a successful crossbreed of those styles which makes for an entertaining ninety minutes of classic slasher frolics.
In the outset we meet Michael (Jon Michael Bischof), the star of the movie who's recently moved down to Mexico with his alcoholic mother away from his unsympathetic father in Beverley Hills. He's celebrating with his newly found friends, which include Tony (Juan Ignacio Aranda) - a smart-ass wise cracker - and Alexandra (Gabriella Hassel) whom he has the hots for. It's Mike's seventeenth birthday and as a present the gang have got him an Ouija board (a great gift usually.if people want to get possessed or die!) and even though at first he refuses to take part, the gang force him to join in on one of their séances. They all gather round in a circle and join hands around an eerie looking candle lit table as Tony attempts to call up a medium known as 'Virgil'. He isn't very talkative but lifts up the arrow to point it at Mike in a threatening manor (ooooh, creepy!). All of a sudden, the door flies open and in bursts the birthday boy's inebriated mother who soon sends the group packing and Mickey to bed! Soon after that night Michael begins to have strange dreams that an unseen psycho holding an ancient dagger is viciously murdering his friends. When it's revealed that the teens are actually being bloodily butchered, he begins seeing premonitions of someone warning him who is next on the killer's list. With this knowledge, he is forced to attempt to save them from the maniacal assassin. But who is it that is slaughtering the hapless group and what are their motives?
About two weeks before I saw this, I watched the more recent British slasher LONG TIME DEAD. It looks as if this may well have been the inspiration for that flick because the two plots are almost interchangeable. Director Ruben Galindo Junior - who was also behind the 1985 addition CEMETERY OF TERROR - has done a good job in making this an enjoyable thriller with some decent supernatural elements that make a refreshing change from movies such as GIRLS SCHOOL SCREAMERS, which attempted the same sort of thing but drastically failed. Don't expect great performances, because you certainly won't find any here; but what it lacks in thespianism it makes up for in storyline and originality.
This was the full-uncut copy that I recently purchased on the UK 'Dark vision' label and it includes some tacky but effective gore to boot. In one murder, some guy gets stabbed in the chin with the giant dagger and it protrudes through his mouth! That's probably the best of the bunch and it even manages to look pretty authentic! There are some interesting chase sequences included too, the one in the hospital being vaguely reminiscent of HALLOWEEN 2 with the killer stalking in traditional slow-mo Michael Myers manner and the downbeat ending truly is unexpected for a film of this genre.great! You wont get bored whilst watching either and in some parts it even borders on becoming pretty exciting. The director gives us the chance to play whodunit for the first half, but doesn't waste time overdoing the investigative factors.
Although this is a decent flick, it doesn't manage to escape from being extremely cheesy just like so many of its genre counterparts from this period - the late eighties. For example Jon Michael Bischof spends three quarters of the runtime in a pair of groovy pyjamas, anyone can imagine how embarrassing that must've been for him in his movie debut! They could have at least given him a stylish set of jim-jams to run around in! Also watch out for a whole lot of incredibly silly dialogue and some unintentional tongue in cheek humour. Michael and Alexandra - the third rate Jamie Lee Curtis of the flick - head out on a date in the beginning and although the things they get up to are cheestastic enough, nothing can best the advice that Tony gives Michael when he returns! He tells his buddy that if he really loves her he should 'give her a rose', but not just any such flower, it must be 'the magic rose'! He then walks over to a giant bowl in his room (!), places a towel over the top, removes it and then he pulls out just one single thorn covered stem and offers it to the confused looking character! I mean, what is this guy? Is he some sort of undercover Casanova? Why has he got a bowel filled with roses in his room? Like I said, the cheese is spread thick and fast throughout the feature!
It's been a little while since I've watched a slasher that I've truly enjoyed! DON'T PANIC may not be overly scary, but it's been put together with thought and it adds supernatural touches to the age-old slasher clichés better than most. It may not be groundbreaking but it's pretty entertaining in that 'so bad it's pretty good' kinda way! Yeah, I recommend this and it's set me on my so far, pretty unsuccessful search for CEMETERY OF TERROR!
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