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May 17, 2013

Movie Review: Escapee (2012, Blu-ray)

Directed by Campion Murphy

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

There is a very real possibility that there may be regular visitors to this Web site who have never seen a horror film. Rising to the occasion is Escapee, a horror film that by intent and design is not that scary for those who may purchase or rent the DVD or Blu-Ray with its foreboding and ominous graphics (“Evil Has Been Unleashed”) that it won't be too upsetting for their fragile sensibilities.

While on a an observational trip to a high security prison for the criminally insane – in this case, a gaggle of young, obnoxious girls forever on their cell phones on who's zoomin' who – psychology student Abby Jones (Christine Evangelista) has an unpleasant encounter with serial killer – they CALL HIM a serial killer in the press materials, but we only see him kill one person, his girlfriend, off-screen in the film's prologue, Harmon Porter (Dominic Purcell). Emerging none the worse for wear, Abby retires home to study with two gal pals. It's a dark and stormy night, the power comes on and off, Harmon escapes from the sanitarium and starts to pick off the tiny cast – all of it sounding more interesting than it is.

Escapee will be of little value to any viewer who has seen four other horror thrillers in their entire lives. Director Campion Murphy is barely competent, but has no idea to generate suspense or conjure up any scares. There are lots of false starts, as two harmless characters elect to bang on the window threateningly in order to startle the girls instead of doing the logical thing and knock on the front door. There is extremely mild blood and gore, and no nudity in spite of an impromptu snuggle in a tent by one of the girl’s friends and her boyfriend. When the couple is brutally dispatched by the killer, when word reaches the girls of two bodies being discovered, they console themselves that it can't be their friend as “she hates camping!”

Veteran viewers of bottom-of-the-barrel horror titles at times can glean some entertainment value out of films such as these, if there is a quirk, or twist in the usual slasher formula that sets it apart from all the others. There IS a semi-twist offered involving the relationship between the made killer and a policeman (Danny Nucci – a most wooden and untalented actor), but it's too little too late, and is handled in a most soporific manner.

The appeal of low-budget, regional horror films are the quirky flavor that escapes the overly processed mainstream fright flick. Escapee is as bland and boring as the sixth installment in a major studio horror franchise. Definitely let this one escape.

The DVD/Blu-Ray includes a “making of” featurette, trailer and photo gallery.

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