The Horror Honeys: Do Serial Killers Make the Best Actors?

Do Serial Killers Make the Best Actors?

A Revenge Honey Review by Linnie

Shock Value (2014)

When it comes to the politics of Hollywood, you're better off trusting a serial killer than a horror director obsessed with realizing his "vision." This is a lesson quickly learned by anyone working in the film industry, but it's also the central concept of Douglas Rath and Anthony Bravo's Shock Value, a surprisingly enjoyable gem of an indie horror flick.

The Plot: A struggling B-movie horror director has run out of ways to revitalize his non-existent career... that is until he accidentally witness a man murder a couple while they are having sex in a scenic overlook. It is then that he has a brilliant idea: blackmail the serial killer into starring in his film about a serial killer. META GENIUS! But of course, complications arise when the killer and the producer fall in love, and the director begins to realize that he may have some murderous instincts of his own.

I have to admit that Shock Value DID start off a little slow for me. While I wasn't fully on board with the acting at first, the comedic elements of the script definitely elevated it to the point where I was willing to wait it out. And it didn't take long for me to be happy that I did: that moment occurred when writer/star Anthony Bravo entered the scene as murderer, Nick. Despite having a decidedly porn-y name, Bravo has the appearance of a classic movie star and I am not ashamed to admit that his dashing good looks are what kept my attention at first. But before long, it became clear that Nick easily qualifies as one of the most appealing and charismatic serial killers in cinematic history.

You sir, have the eyebrows of a silent film star, and I dig it.

I think I've worked with him before. 
Shock Value's in-film director, Miles Fowler, is a perfectly drawn stereotype of an arrogant indie film director, and the ideal foil to Nick's calm, calculating killer. While the premise of the film may seem far fetched, in the context of the movie, it actually works. I absolute bought that Fowler would be so lacking in self-awareness as to blackmail a serial killer into acting in his film.

However, as much as I enjoyed the male leads in this film, I have to say that ladies were surprisingly well-written given the film's B-movie status. Specifically, Janelle Odair as lead actress Ashley was a truly interesting character: she started off as a bit of a caricature but developed into a fully formed and fascinating final girl, especially given that she was not set up as such. I enjoyed the fact that she was not the standard "bimbo blonde" and in fact had a fantastic revelatory moment toward the end of the film in which she didn't fall for the bullshit lies of our villain. It was a brilliant switch that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Be in more movies, please!

Additionally, Michelle Campbell as Justine was the character that I have begun to refer to as the "Honey Stand-in." She was the one that I totally identified with each step of the way, for reasons that I will leave to YOU to discover when you watch the film. I also always appreciate the actor that is saddled with the role of moral center. It's not easy play that role, but Campbell does it exceptionally well and remains likable throughout.

The last element I will mention, besides a delicious cameo from Malcolm McDowell as a has-been horror actor, is the gore. Shock Value has some brilliantly staged gore scenes, particularly in the final act, which is amazing. Shock Value isn't perfect, but it is enjoyable, at turns funny and dark, and poised to become a cult classic. It takes a special cast and crew to craft a meta horror film that works, and Shock Value absolute works.

You can buy Shock Value on iTunes, and rent/buy it on Amazon, but I'd say this is one well worth a purchase!

Revenge Honey Rating - 4 Disco Draculas out of 5