This flick has a misstep in its opening (and maybe in its title, too), but makes up for it as it goes along
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So it just so happens that it’s the Fourth of July where an act of defiance led to the start of the great nation that invented the drive-in and ipso facto deluxo led to the invention of the Drive-In Totals. In the spirit of equal parts celebration and defiance, I grabbed a DVD of a movie called Don’t Look right there on the cover.
Well – kind of defeats the purpose, don’t it?
I mean, if you call the movie Don’t Look, there’s a certain percentage of folks that are going to see that and say, “OK. I won’t.” Lose some audience there.
Then there’s a certain percentage of knowledgeable Drive-in Mutants who are going to get confused. Why are they gonna be confused?
The movie’s called Don’t Look.
So — is this a sequel to the unmade fake-trailer movie called Don’t from Grindhouse?
Or maybe this is a prequel.
Maybe you’ve been doing it all wrong all these years and you might need to watch Don’t Look before you watch the 1970s flicks Don’t Look Now or Don’t Look in the Basement. Or maybe it’s a prequel to Don’t Look Down or Don’t Look Up even though all those were made first because Don’t Look has a shorter title and they almost always put the shorter titles in front when you’re doing a franchise and then keep adding on things like dashes, colons and of course, more words.
You just DON’T KNOW when you pick up a flick like this.
Maybe the audience you’re really looking for is a rebellious cuss who’s going to say: “Well, the DVD cover tells me Don’t Look, but my mom read me The Monster at the End of the Book like 40,000 times between ages three and 16, and I still turned the pages every damn time and I still roam the Earth unhindered in absolute defiance of Grover, so the heck with it, I’m going to watch this flick even though the cover tells me not to.”
I guess that’s the initial target audience. Or it could be people who like guys in masks waving around chainsaws on the cover of the disk. That’s the ticket.
Director Luciana Faulhaber (who also came up with the story and stars in this sucker) starts us out in giallo territory with a sepia-toned flashback as a girl swings out in the backyard singing Silent Night. There are leaves on the trees. She hears a gunshot and goes into her house. There’s a wreath on the door. The sepia tone disappears. She finds her mom dead and her dad next to her dead mother. He tells her “Don’t Look.” We hear another shot. Title card.
Note to filmmakers: A couple things here — at the start of the movie, it’s the start of the movie chronologically. No need for any sepia tone, especially when it gets ditched about a minute into the flashback. The audience can figure out that it’s a flashback later on in the flick., especially because this is one of those progressive flashbacks like in Deep Red where people have seen a portion of the flashback at the start so when the flashback starts again, they know it’s a flashback. Plus we’ve got Halloween syndrome here as well with leaves on trees in (allegedly) winter in a Northern state (Pennsylvania). The whole holiday tie-in could have been done away with altogether
After that nitpicky start, we go into standard spam-at-a-wilderness-property mode. Five young adults — Lorena (Faulhaber); Nicole (Lindsay Eshelman); Sebastian (Javier E. Gomez); Alex (Curtis K. Case) and Ted (Jeff Berg) are going to Nicole’s old farm for a holiday celebration of sorts. It’s the classic setup of urban folks who are somewhere they shouldn’t be versus rural folks who don’t want them there. (See the When Rednecks Saved Hollywood show by a certain somebody for more details on this well-worn theme.)
The educated folk gawk at a bisected pig that is hanging out in this open shed but isn’t attracting flies, then run afoul of Kelley (Jarrod Robbins) and Sherri Baby (Hailey Heisick), some tenants who live in a cabin on the farm property and cut up animals.
Then things start getting NASTY with all three B’s checked off. Chainsaw deaths, decapitation, an ax fight, guts exiting torsos, bodies getting pierced AND forbidden redneck sexual practices. After the opening stumble, Don’t Look gets things rolling in the way a discerning drive-in audience expects, nay, demands in a brisk hour and about 10 minutes or so.
- Best Revolutionary Cinematic Moment: There’s a well-framed shot in the women’s bathroom where Lorena and Nicole chat and all we see are the dangling feet in the stalls. One stall is out of toilet paper. In an act of sisterly solidarity, a crisis is averted.
- Best Redneck Backwoods Dinner Etiquette: When, after getting off on the wrong foot with the urban visitors, Kelley and Sherri bring moonshine and a well-done bunny rabbit to contribute to the city dwellers’ dinner of booze, pretzels and tater tots. Regrettably, the good vibes are ruined when Kelley follows Lorena down to the basement and sexually menaces her.
- Best Redneck Backwoods Erotic Practice, Part Uno: Right after Kelley threatens Lorena, Sherri Baby suggests that he’s her dad and then they start making out in front of the group.
- Best Redneck Backwoods Erotic Practice, Part Two-o: After making out with her “dad,” Sherri then propositions Ted before she and Kelley leave. This gives Ted ideas.
- Best Redneck Backwoods Erotic Practice, Part Three-o: When Sherri, who is topless, spanks Kelley, who is on all fours wearing bunny ears and made to drink out of one of those bunny cage sippy things.
- Best Hipster Urban Erotic Practice, Part Uno: After getting propositioned by Sherri Baby, Ted decides to ditch Lorena because Sherri “learned sex from the animals, Alex, the animals, primal carnal f—–g! S— you haven’t imagined before.” (See photo above). He goes to the car and gets about eight condoms from his glovebox but is intercepted by Lorena while out there.
- Best Hipster Urban Erotic Practice, Part Two-o: Lorena and Ted start aardvarking in the shed with the bisected pig and its decapitated head present. Ted binds her wrists and hangs her from a meathook by those bindings. The smell of dead pig flesh must’ve just had an effect…
- Best Hipster Urban Erotic Practice, Part Three-o: Alex is wandering out on the property trying to find his pals and he runs into Sherri. After previously saying to Ted, “You don’t stick your dick in crazy,” Ted’s advocacy of backwoods psycho sex must have resonated with him because he tries to aardvark her. It doesn’t end well.
- Best Paul Bunyan Impersonation by a Gay Puerto Rican Character in the Film: Sebastian, in a moment of heroic sacrifice, duels the Baby Huey masked killer in an axe fight. He loses. To add insult to injury, the people he was trying to save DIDN’T GO ANYWHERE.
- Best Wasted Effort: Lorena, after getting blood all over her, eschews the shower and decides to Rambo up, gathering all the guns and knives she can find to confront the killer. When evacuation time rolls around, though, she takes a wimpy little steak knife. That’s more than the other folks with her take, though.
Maybe if they do make Don’t, they can get that hulking, lurking creepo in Don’t Look who’s been roaming his family farm for 10 years and wearing a Baby Huey mask to make a cameo. After all, this flick’s ending left it wide open for a sequel to the possible prequel.