It’s not every day we get beefy boys showing off their bods while doing their killing, therefore I simply had to make a double feature out of A Wakefield Project and The Dare. So are the psychos as scary as they are sexy?
A WAKEFIELD PROJECT (2019)
The killer isn’t the only muscle hunk in this one. The two main boys that move to a small town to open a B&B together are also a couple of hunks.
What they are not, despite the setup, is a couple of gays. It’s insane to me that with an opportunity that obvious the filmmakers didn’t just make them a gay couple. It would have worked fluidly with the plot…and the erotic body shots.
Anyway, one of these boringly straight guys hires a psychic medium to put out feelers at their new place, while the other cliché straight guy researches the building’s history. As the town folk act weird towards them and irritating noises keep getting under everyone’s skin, the pair comes to the same realization—there were murders in their new building that the realtor didn’t disclose.
Conveniently there has been a solar flare, and it has opened up the planes of existence between the living and the dead, so the hunky killer and a bunch of creepy zombie people chase the main characters through dark shadows and eerie blue light.
It’s a fun concept for sure, although it does take quite a while to arrive at the crossover and all the chasing.
Unfortunately, A Wakefield Project isn’t scary or suspenseful enough. And the music, which is obviously inspired by Carpenter’s Halloween score, sets a tone at first, but it becomes clear as the film progresses that it’s a pale imitation, because it’s turns more annoying than effective.
THE DARE (2020)
The opening scene is a goodie, starting immediately with killer POV and turning into a suspenseful home invasion sequence. And then…
…our main guy wakens up in dungeon-like room, chained up with a group of strangers who all have no idea why they are there.
Ugh. It’s the cliché Saw trope. A muscular killer in a mask comes in and starts making his captives torture each other…or else.
The torture is mostly inflicted with knives and bugs. The bug shit is pretty nasty.
So what makes The Dare any different than other Saw rip-offs featuring victims trapped in a room navigating a survival of the fittest scenario?
There’s a parallel story about an icky man who keeps a young boy chained up, tortures him, teaches him how to endure and inflict pain, and pushes him to grow stronger. All the while he’s manipulating the boy into accepting him as his father. If you’ve seen films like Chained or Plank Face, this kind of Stockholm syndrome horror feels so very familiar.
As the stories merge just as we’d expect and motivations and secrets are revealed, there’s simply nothing here that is unique or original, so I personally found it all underwhelming and not very scary.