starring: Tony Doupe, Aaron Blakely and Alena Dashiell
Frayed, while following the structure of a classic slasher, actually spends more time talking about the threat and it is a very tedious effort to go through as the murders barely spark any interest (screwdriver murders, nearly all of it the same and offscreen) and the hunt failed to be anything but exciting. In turn, the film tries hard to build atmosphere and cloak the whole story with a sense of mystique that hides a particular twist at the end. With that being said, it wasn't until the last third act that Frayed finally got the ball rolling and even decided to go twisty on us in the last few minutes, taking cues from plot curveballs not unlike those from France's splatterhouse Haute Tension (2003) or Korea's torture porn slasher To Sir With Love (2006). Unfortunately, the lack of thrills and the ineffective chills killed most of my anticipation by then, so the impact of its multiple twists failed to work on me.
To be fair, the Frayed did a good job on production despite the low-budget. The killer, garbed in a hand-made clown mask and utilizing the darkened woods to hide his presence, has his creepy moments. The plot, despite the lackluster execution, has its share of unique ideas and concepts that are rare in a slasher flick, making the resulting product more of a (patient) thinking man's horror flick. The twists that the story came up with were good, so while it could put some viewers to sleep upon first viewing, but seasoned watchers might see an underrated masterpiece beneath all that talk and slow moments. Either that or its second viewing might be more tolerable seeing you pretty much knew what's going on and you may even appreciate the build up.
While sluggish pacing and failure to deliver the bloody goods may be Frayed's weak heel, its attempt to make a "smart" slasher might worth a few look. Just don't expect a full blown gore fest. It's subtle, but nowhere a pushover.
1 female had her head pulped repeatedly with baseball bat
1 male seen murdered
1 male repeatedly stabbed in the neck with screwdriver
1 male glimpsed murdered, foot seen
1 male gets a screwdriver to the back
1 male gets a screwdriver to the forehead
1 male had his neck stabbed with screwdriver
1 male accidentally shot
1 female gets a screwdriver to the chest
1 female stabbed to death with screwdriver
1 male shot