Friday, 1 January 2016

Carver (2015)

Nearly two years ago, I reviewed Pathogen for this blog.  This was a zombie film that was written and directed in 2004 by the then-13 year old Emily Hagins.

Apparently there is something about the name Emily, because this film was written and directed by thirteen year old Emily DiPrimio.  It's not a zombie flick this time, though: instead it's a slasher film that deliberately echoes the style of 80s 'classics' of the genre like the original Friday the 13th films.

Now DiPrimio has some advantages over Hagins, starting with the fact that she was making her movie ten years later, when better equipment had become available.  Also, her father is in the industry, so she had been on film sets since she was 4 years old.  Finally, crowdfunding had become a thing: she was able to raise money on kickstarter (which is how I got my copy of the film), which gave her considerably more resources than Hagins had.

So is the end result a better movie?  Well, technically speaking, definitely.  The lighting is better, the sound is way better and the acting - from the adult cast at least - is of a much higher standard.  Though this is hardly surprising given that Hagins did much of her casting by door knocking in the neighbourhood.

However, to my mind a slasher film lives and dies (so to speak) on its killer and their kills.  And I think here the movie stumbles.  "The Carver" isn't a particularly memorable or interesting figure visually, and the kill scenes - though they employ an enthusiastic amount of fake blood - mostly feel a bit static.  They lack the impact and visceral edge I would have liked to see.  It was probably also a mistake to draw out the 'the killer revealed' scene quite so long: it's a big old block of exposition and flashback.

Carver is clearly the work of a novice film-maker.  I think I could only recommend it to you if you're both (a) a fan of slasher films and (b) curious to see a 13-year old's attempt at the genre.  But I definitely don't regret the money I spent to back the project, and I'll be curious to see more from Ms DiPrimio in the future as she matures as a writer and director.  Her web series Violet already shows some development of her skills.

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