Well, I found me a new horror cutie to keep an eye on after two films Bryan Brewer directed, wrote, and starred in hit Amazon Prime and ended up in my watchlist. Hi, Bryan!
I liked what I saw (and the movies were fun, too), so I found another film in which Bryan was involved on FrightPix and watched that as well so I’d be up to date on his horror output. Let’s get into it.
INFECTION: THE INVASION BEGINS (2010)
Bryan Brewer wrote and stars in this one, which you could say is “in the tradition of Night of the Creeps and Slither.”
A small meteor crashes to earth in the woods near a small town, releasing little squirmy wormy spermy things longing to be swallowed. Open wide and get drunk on space sperm!
Once you do, you pretty much become a zombie that spits gummy sperm at others.
Brewer stars as the boy with the bad reputation who breezes back into town, much to the shock of his ex-girlfriend and the sheriff, played by Lochlyn Munro.
Damn! Been a while since your last cavity search. You’re tight.
I wasn’t surprised to see Munro in the film as the sheriff (he’s virtually made a career of playing sheriff/detective/deputy), but it was cool to see that he wasn’t just there for the sake of a cameo. He’s one of the major players. Taking over for him in the deputy role and bringing some comic charm is cutie Kent Faulcon of the show For Better or Worse.
I’m all about any film “in the tradition of Night of the Creeps and Slither.” Infection ticks off all the right boxes as an indie interpretation, begins strong with plenty of potential, and has a likable cast, but in the end, nothing makes it stand out from the crowd. Hokey melodrama between the characters fills the time like something from a SyFy original, and there’s lots and lots and lots of dialogue as the characters move from one location to another, but they have very little interaction with any of the infected victims! Where are all the wannabe actors looking for roles as extras in a zombie movie when you need them?
Infected makeup is virtually non-existent, there’s no gore, and little in the way of horror effects, perhaps due to budget constraints. The movie also doesn’t commit to being either fully horror (scares and suspense are on the light side) or horror comedy (there are hints of humor, with the science geek being the highlight but having a small role), so the overall tone is often on shaky ground.
And with a very repetitive narrative and dialogue-heavy plot, there are no major standout moments, making this a mostly flat viewing experience.
The shining moment for me was the woman playing Brewer’s infected mother. She’s creepy as hell! We needed more of that. Much more.
And I can’t forget these little guys, which don’t quite get the campy treatment they so deserve.
I mean, come on. When you’re the writer and you have nipples like this, exploit those babies with a scene in which two little spermy space suckers are hanging off your teats.
THE WAKE (2017)
Bryan co-wrote and co-directed The Wake, and it’s a hoot.
The killer has Bryan just where I want him…
Basically a warped take on the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” premise, it sees a group of friends attend the wake of a child at a house in the middle of nowhere.
They only know the child because…well…they killed the kid when they hit him with their car!
Things feel kind of awkward when the friends realize they’ve apparently arrived early and are alone with the grieving mother. But before they can get too uncomfortable, terror takes over. There’s a killer outside with a knife.
Let the classic slasher scenario commence. No lights. No way out. Everyone splitting up. People being killed off one by one.
The killer taunts them, playing a game of cat and mouse.
And to top it all off, Bryan and adorable scream king to watch out for Michael Aaron Milligan (Don’t Kill It, SIREN, V/H/S Viral, Dance of the Dead, Shark Lake) make a great horror team, delivering the perfect dose of humor to blend with the horror atmosphere.
As much fun as it is, just when you think this is simply another predictable home invasion flick with a sleek, late 90s slasher throwback vibe, we get a whole different kind of horror monkey wrench thrown into the mix.
The unexpected final act not only ups the humor, it also left me crestfallen once I discovered the film isn’t on DVD yet.
THE RAKING (2017)
This is the second time in a couple of blogs that I can say a movie reminded me of the days of cheesetastic creature features like Rawhead Rex and Pumpkinhead (Eyes of the Woods was the other). Bryan Brewer co-writes this one, but takes on full directing responsibility.
With the opening scene (which gave me The Beast Within flashbacks), Brewer shows us how a good creature feature scene should be done – totally awesome suspense and scares when a couple’s car gets stuck on a desolate road at night.
Next, Brewer shows us how a good sex scene should be done – you include a shirtless Bryan Brewer.
After the sex scene, Brewer’s girlfriend hands him a gift, and he says, “But my birthday’s not until tomorrow.” Whenever someone has that response in a movie, I think, who SAYS that? When my hubby gives me an early gift, my response is always, “Yay! Early gift! But bitch, you better be giving me another gift tomorrow because that’s my official birthday.” You probably think I’m just trying to be cute for the sake of my blog, and I think it’s cute that you think that. My hubby, on the other hand, doesn’t think it cute that any of this is going on public record.
So a group of college classmates is doing a project on urban legends, and they pick one that requires them to go to…the woods! Wahoo!
After the usual encounter with a strange dude who warns them away from the place they’re headed, little time is wasted in getting to the good stuff.
The campfire is lit, the stories start, and then the monster strikes!
The Raking features a ghoulish, demonic creature that makes a hideous sound.
Luckily, the strange dude from earlier comes back on the scene to help the kids stay alive as long as possible as they spend the night running, screaming, splitting up, and being split to pieces in the woods. Oh what fun it is.
There’s a bit of a lull in the middle of the film when the group takes cover in the strange dude’s place and he gives them backstory on the monster.
But once the action picks back up, it’s creature feature thrills straight to the end.
There are plenty of painful looking kills, loads of screaming, and an old school CGI-free monster that even dares to come out of the dark and into the light. And I have to say, the final frame gave me a chuckle in an 80s horror final scare kind of way. My horror collection will definitely be seeing an influx of Bryan Brewer films.