Exit 33 (2011)
Directed by Tommy Brunswick
The first minute of a film is so important. In that minute you can tell so much about what you are about to watch. It pretty much determines how things are going to go.
Exit 33 is no exception.
It opens with a young girl (looking like she just got off her shift at a club named something like Busty's) stuck on the side of the road. She's greeted by a large man carrying a lead pipe (which she pays no mind), and the movie starts off with a thunk.
Make no mistake; this is a film about the killer. In no way are you ever given a reason to care about Angie (Nikprelaj), Matt (Reid), Eva (Hildreth), Dax (Elia) or Marla (April Canning). I use their names here because I had to IMDB them. Dax is the only person whose name is actually used in the dialogue enough to remember. Coincidentally, he is also the only likable character in the bunch.
Outside of Ike.
You see, Ike (Kane Hodder) is a very simple man, leading a simple existence, running a "last chance" gas station off the beaten path. Ike makes the best "venison" jerky around and is apparently the big stop for hunters in the region. Oh, he also brutally beats women and removes their eyes. That part is not on the sign out front. Ike is widowed, living with his young son and running his store. Junior also helps him pick out his victims, pointing to his eye and smiling. Also, mom still shows up as a ghost- only without her eyes.
While Ike's weapon is pretty mundane (lead pipe), he does have an interesting gimmick. Gas. No, not that kind of gas. If you catch Ike's fancy, he sends you to Pump 9, which has something special to make sure you don't make it very far. Like AAA from hell, Ike is soon to follow and give you a ride back to the store.
As I said, this is a film about your killer, and there are really only minor attempts at any kind of story or character development outside of Ike. In fact the other characters range from stupid to downright worthless. It's impossible to engage with any of them on any kind of level. Especially Eva. I have seen better acting and more realistic character development in gonzo porn.
If I don't seem very excited about this film, it's because I am not. The truth is I think Kane is actually a decent actor. But he needs better vehicles than this.
There are so many problems that distract you in Exit 33:
The biggest thing, however, is the characters. I need people to get behind even if you are telling me a story about the killer and basing everything around him. Give some weight to what he is doing. Don't just give me faceless victims. Because even if your "hero" is your killer, there needs to be danger. There has to be a reason he may not make it.
Overall for a very low-budget film, the gore effects look good; however, if you are a gorehound, this one has only fleeting moments of the gory stuff. The art direction is solid, too. I dug the look of Ike's place and his slaughterhouse.
Recommendation: Skip it. There isn't enough gore for the gorehounds, and what is there is just nasty enough to put off those who don't dig it. Exit 33 doesn't fall into "so bad it's good" territory either; it's just boring. I was begging for the end. You can't even have fun with this one.
1 out of 5
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