The 1980’s was a glorious time for the slasher genre. John Carpenter’s Halloween changed the game and created a unique template that would
prove successful for years to come. The setups were simple — an isolated location, a group of young, wild teenagers, a lunatic on the loose, and a myriad of weapons and methods to dispatch them. The formula began to lose its steam and even became punchlines for new generations of horror. While it’s true that these films have a niche audience, they are undoubtedly fun films. Newer films tend to always promise slasher fans things like ‘returning to the roots’ or ‘bringing the 80’s back.’ Some tend to deliver, while most end up being a stale, almost painful-to-watch experience.
Ian Kessner’s film Lost After Dark is as faithful as it gets to the decade of the decayed. Filmed with such a love and a drive to create the closest thing to an 80’s horror film I have ever seen with many small nods to films like Prom Night and Madman. It’s obvious that
an incredible amount of effort went into really making this look and sound like a period piece. It’s almost odd to think of films set in the 80’s as period pieces, but the work is here, and nearly flawless.
The time is 1984. Sarah and her friends skip out on a school dance, steal a bus, and plan on partying the weekend away at her family cabin. When the bus breaks down, they head out in search for gas and come across and old farmhouse with a legend attached to it. With no gasoline and no way to the cabin, they decide to stay put… until they discover that some legends are true.
There’s some terrific work done by Sarah Fisher as Laurie and Jesse Camachoas as Tobe. The entire cast pulls off something that’s not entirely normal for this genre — They make you invest time with them, getting to know who you really like, who you dislike, and then they toy with your emotions
by not following traditional slasher fare. You never know who’s gonna get the axe. Robert Patrick has a small but wonderful part as Mr. C, former war vet turned teacher who happens to be the toughest man on the planet.
This is a fun, faithful campy horror film with fans of the sub-genre in mind, so it’s 100% worth the time. I will say that one death in particular
left a sour taste in my mouth due to some cringe-worthy CGI. Had it been a practical effect, it could have been one of the best effects of the film. Instead, it left me scratching my head. Other than that one miniscule detail, this movie is nearly perfect.
I personally give it 4 out of 5 Twinkies, so go ahead and check this one out.