Although we have been regulars at the annual FrightFest in August for some years now, there are always a few of the twenty-odd movies shown over the four or more days of the Fest that we do not see, usually the late night ones which would involve missing the last train home (to say nothing about falling asleep during the showing). We do, however, try to catch up on the ones that have escaped and this film is a fine example of one that it would have been a shame to miss.
Not that I was expecting anything special from the basically no-name cast and the unknown director, Jonathan Levine (who has subsequently won an audience prize at Sundance for "The Wackness" in 2008). However this movie turned out to have a nifty twist on the promiscuous teen slasher genre. Gorgeous goody-two-shoes Mandy, played by Amber Heard, is lusted after by all of the jocks at her high school. She previously was best-mates with outsider Emmet, played by Michael Welch, until his dares at a pool party the previous summer resulted in the death of a popular guy and he became an official outcast. When Mandy is invited to a weekend party with some of the in-crowd, she accepts, but seems determined to preserve her chastity and her sanity as one by one her new friends succumb to various gruesome deaths. No secret is made of the fact, from fairly early in the proceedings, that a jealous Emmet is the killer. However, there is a totally unexpected turn of events which makes this film stand apart from and above its genre trappings. For someone who thinks she has seen it all (too many times) in even the most inventive horror outings, I was indeed taken by surprise, and that can't be a bad thing.