Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Steve Guttenberg, James Duval, Peter Story, Elizabeth Nicole, Eduardo Antonio Garcia, Ellia English
Directed by Daniel Maze
Watching Cornered!, I felt like I was viewing something that started out as short film and someone decided to expand to feature length by padding it with an additional 40 minutes of talky filler. I'm not opposed to slow burn storytelling, but there should be a sense that the film is slowly building to something, not just biding its time. This probably would have been better off as an episode of "Masters of Horror" or "Fear Itself".
Cornered! fancies itself a slasher comedy except as a comedy it's not all that amusing in spite of the best efforts of a game cast, and as a slasher movie there are only two deaths in the first hour and little to get excited, scared, or grossed out by. It certainly does not help that the identity of the killer is so obvious I'm left to wonder why there was any effort to try and save the revelation as a third-act surprise.
For weeks a serial killer has been murdering convenience store employees around the city and stealing the surveillance camera tapes afterwards. This becomes the topic of discussion amongst the employees and a couple of regular customers of the particular convenience store in which the entire movie is set, as well as with Steve Guttenberg as the middle-aged delivery guy who you just know has to figure into the plot in a major way because why else would Steve Guttenberg be appearing in a tiny role as a delivery guy in a low budget horror movie unless there's more to his character than meets the eye. They take turns describing the different violent means by which they would kill the killer if ever cornered by him. You'd think the employees would be a bit more concerned about a mass murderer on the loose specifically targeting people in their line of work, but tough talk that will come back to haunt them is the order of the day.
That night the store's blustery owner decides to turn the evening's poker game with portly store clerk Donny, kindly hooker Jess whom Donny has a thing for, and phone sex operator Mona into a store lock-in in order to keep his drug addict nephew Jimmy from getting out and scoring more drugs. The masked killer shows up and begins slaying them in the very ways they said they would kill him if given the opportunity earlier, so right there alone you know that the killer had to have been present during their conversation and that leaves only two possibilities, one of whom was an obvious red herring.
But before the killing can begin, we have to watch them play an awful lot of poker and listen to them prattle on endlessly about mundane stuff mostly unrelated to the plot while tripping Jimmy keeps freaking out from hallucinating cockroaches. I was with Cornered! until this poker game began. That's when I turned a corner; my interest waned entirely and never came back.
I got the impression Cornered! wanted to be a melding of Clerks and Scream, but all I wanted to do was scream "Get on with it!" and clock out early.
1 1/2 out of 5
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