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Frayed

Directed by Directed by Norbert Cadili, Rob Portmann

Written by Written by Rob Portmann, Norbert Cadili, Kurt & Dana Svennungsen, Dino Moore

Starring Starring Tony Doupe, Aaron Blakely, Tasha Smith, Alena Dashiell

Produced by Produced by Norbert Cadili, Rob Portmann

Rated R

111 minutes

***

I’ll admit at the outset, when I saw the downright frightening box art—any time you involve clowns in a horror movie you’ve got at least some reason for optimism—that I was interested in catching Frayed.

But then, when I saw that the movie had no less than FIVE writers, and two of them were also the directors and producers, my hope caught in my through and turned into a sour little ball of terror that splashed into my gut and stayed there.

So how would Frayed, this movie with a monstrous runtime and huge array of writers, actually turn out?

Way back in 1994, something really, really horrible happened in Smith Haven, Washington. The town sheriff’s son had beaten his mother to death, and caught it all on home video. At the time, his son was just about eight years old or so. Now, fourteen years later, the murderous tot is being transferred from the Yellow Glen Rehabilitation Center to a maximum security facility…when something will go horribly wrong.

I have to admit, when they started the movie off with an ACCURATE Bible quote my spirits were somewhat buoyed. Normally the first sign of a really godawful movie is inaccurate Bible quotes. But with a really long run time and a coalition of writers, you really had to wonder about this one.

What they actually put out, despite some expectations to the contrary, was a fairly solid film that packed in a few good shocks, even if the whole thing was really rather derivative. Sure, we’ve all been there before, and then some. But there’s a lot of good stalk and kill going on in here, and plenty of shocks and surprises to be had.

I do approve of most of what was done here, even if, like I said, a lot of it was the kind of thing I’d seen before. Sure, they took it in a much different direction than they set it up in, but either direction was still pretty run of the mill, in that sense. It’s hard to actively dislike a movie like this, because it’s done fairly well and without a lot of the problems that a movie like this might have had. But at the same time, it’s hard to really like it, either. It’s just so very done before.

The ending is where Frayed truly shines, managing to completely switch gears in a fashion that no one would have seen coming, even if it’ll look familiar to the horror buffs in the crowd.

The special features include making-of featurettes, director’s commentary track, audio and display options, English and Spanish subtitles, and an accessible trailer menu for Frayed, The Last Resort, Dead Wood, Necessary Evil, Cravings, and even an ad for Break.com.

All in all, for the jaded out there, you’ll get some enjoyment out of Frayed, but not as much as if you’ve never seen this kind of thing before. Otherwise, it’ll be too familiar to be very scary, but should still get you nonetheless. In general terms, this will at least be a good movie.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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