There are a few actors out there that can automatically make a film ten times better just by being a part of it. One of my favorites of these talented bunch is a man who seems to be popping up everywhere I look as of late, Michael Eklund. Every time I see him listed in a film’s cast, I know I will be in for a treat and it is no different this time around with Greg Francis’ masterful horror flick, Poker Night.
Rookie cop, Stan Jeter (Beau Mirchoff), is invited to poker night with a handful of the force’s veteran officers and detectives. As the game unfolds, he hears some of the vets’ most memorable stories, while keeping his mouth shut, asking no questions until he’s allowed, simply listening and learning.
Poker Night is a revolving door flick; Interlaced with the poker table happenings is an evolving story of Jeter’s own. The rookie cop has found himself caught up in a huge mess, one involving a serial killer who kills anyone in his path with no hesitation.
Writer and director, Greg Francis, is one hell of a storyteller! I love the way this film switches between past and present, between each cop’s tale of heroism. Everything was so seamless and where another filmmaker may have made a confusing mess of it all, Francis and his team succeed beautifully.
I’ve already expressed my love for Eklund, but really, folks, this guy is flawless. He seems to be showing up in everything I love, from horror flicks like See No Evil 2 to television shows like Bates Motel and even the Batman-related Fox series, Gotham. He is always on point, never missing a beat, and his performance in Poker Night is no different. He shines as the deeply disturbed antagonist and really is the perfect fit for a horror movie villain.
In addition to Eklund’s wonderful portrayal of our killer, Poker Night is filled with a great veteran cast. Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy series), Titus Welliver (The Town, Argo), Corey Large (Lone Survivor), Ron Eldard (Ghost Ship, Super 8), and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad series) comprise the group of experienced officers who all have tons to teach the rookies who come through their department. I loved watching this group of guys sit around a table and share their knowledge. Their stories were entertaining and thanks to Greg Francis’ unique form of storytelling, I couldn’t wait to see how each story would unfold, knowing it was going to end in some silly but heroic way. On top of all of that, Beau Mirchoff did an outstanding job as the rookie cop and main protagonist of the film. I couldn’t help but keep my eyes glued to the screen and wonder exactly how this guy would get out of this sticky situation, no pun intended (you’ll understand this once you watch the film).
I knew very well that Poker Night was going to be a great film just by viewing the trailer a time or two, but I didn’t know how great it was going to be. There were tons of twists that no one could see coming, keeping me enthralled in the action the entire time.
If you’re looking for the next hidden gem in this genre, this is it, for sure. You can pick up a copy on Blu-ray and DVD from XLrator Media today. Give the film a watch and let me know what you thought in the comments below!
I give this flick 4.5 tubes of super glue out of 5.