Wednesday, 17 June 2020

All the Wrong Friends (2016) - Horror Film Review

All the Wrong Friends is a thriller that was co-directed by Ryan Hawkins and Mark Kerins in what was both their feature length directorial debut. Having a look at the credits on IMDB it appears that the story was put together by a whopping 10 different people. Too many cooks spoil the broth? Maybe, but this fits neatly into the tiny sub genre of horror that looks at how people react upon finding a dead body.

A group of former high school friends are on their way to a music festival a year after graduating. Along the way one of the group, Logan (Sean O'Connor) asks for them to visit the remote home of a friend of his, in order to get something off of him. Logan's friend isn't there, but he is so insistent about waiting for him to return that he convinces everyone to stay the night. Both alcohol and drugs are soon found and the friends begin a night of partying. That is until they discover Logan's friend, murdered in one of the upstairs rooms. Due to the illicit partying they take the drastic move of trying to cover their tracks, planning to spend the night and then contact the police about the body in the morning (for some reason no one owns a mobile phone). Not much later there is a knock at the door, two hikers looking for assistance. This begins a night of paranoia and mistrust and an ever rising body count, for it turns out that for these clowns they really did have...All the Wrong Friends.

This is not high brow entertainment but I did find it to be quite entertaining. It helps that every character in this film is an idiot, I couldn't care less about any of them, in fact the opposite, I was happy for them to rip themselves apart. The moronic leader, Logan was a complete bully, hardly surprising his attire is a wife beater vest. Then there is his bitchy girlfriend,  Adam (Tom Gelo - Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) who is a whiny drug addict loser, gormless Simon (Dexter Hostetter - Zombie Love), and Drew (Ricco Fajardo) and his girlfriend Nani (Krishna Smitha). Those last two are given the role of protagonists and are the most level headed of the bunch, however, their willingness to follow the totally moronic plans of the others means they are no better in my eyes. 

With these types of films I judge their effectiveness on how much guilt I feel, I am quite an empathetic person am able to easily place myself into the shoes of the characters. Sure, I did feel a lot of soul sucking terror at the situation they had gotten in, yet their repeated ridiculous actions meant that I thought they deserved everything coming to them. At one point a pistol has been found and used, I think by the films end every single character at one point handles that gun. There seemed no awareness of all the incriminating evidence each character was creating, no ones motivation makes any sense at all. The realism falls and falls over the course of the seventy eight minutes and as it did so I felt myself drifting away from the characters plight. It doesn't help that the characters reactions are so film like, they found a dead body yet they don't act scared or upset, as the body count rises they are still mostly content to sit around arguing with each other. It never got to the point where it got farcical, it did get to the point where it seemed no one really felt that yet one more dead person would cause too much of an additional issue. I love the concept of a film starting deep into the story and then going back in time, that is what All the Wrong Friends does, leaping back twelve hours to show how events spiralled to that point. Interestingly this jump is from the midway mark, rather than from the end as is often the case.

The acting is passable for the most part, I wouldn't say anyone stands out as being a particularly strong actor, but as a bunch they bounce off each other well. Special effects are minimal, some gun shots, and a nice wound effect to one character, while the music fits the tone of the picture well. The story get more dumb as the film went on, by the end everything is resolved, but with the same skill as a typical slasher would create. This was a shame as it all started off feeling a lot more realistic. There were some parts that felt sillier than others. One character for instance walks into a field and gets suddenly attacked from just off camera. Sure it looked unexpected on screen, but I couldn't help but feel the reality equivalent would have been the character walking into a field right next to his assailant but somehow not seeing the person. There was nowhere for the attacker to have hidden, what with it being a large open field and so this only works if you forget the world exists outside of the camera shot.

All the Wrong Friends was not without its issues but it was also some decent silly entertainment. Everything that happens here may be ridiculous, but then the whole cast of characters are shown to be idiots so should you expect anything better? All the Wrong Friends was released early June across a variety of digital platforms thanks to Terror Films.


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