Thursday, May 2, 2013

Braining Infection: Methodic (2007)

Methodic (2007)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Brandon Slagle, Niki Rubin, Rachael Robbins

John Carpenter's Halloween  (1978) has a lot to say when it comes to influencing the slasher sub-genre as pretty much most of the known cliches and tropes came from this one movie. This kind of success does mean copycats are abound, attempting to swing a win by following the horror classic's formula down to the mask killer and stalked teenagers, though with enough distinguishable elements to make it original enough. So when something like this low-budget indie bodycounter comes around walking down the familiar road of moody stalking and killings, does it necessarily mean we're looking at a rip-off? Maybe. But then gain, maybe not.

Methodic (2007) starts with a traumatic past event in which young Nicholas Matthews brutally murders his parents with a hammer for no apparent reason, before being sent away to a sanitarium where, for years to pass, he barely utters a word. Now at the present, his surviving younger sister, Lana, decides to pay him a visit in hopes of getting some closure as to why he murdered their parents. Nicholas, however, maintains the same near-catatonic silent treatment, upsetting Lana into tearfully leaving but, unbeknown to her, she unwillingly awakened and provoked Nicholas' inner murderer once again (dubbed "The Dollman") through her presence, leading him to kill his way out of the loonie bin and begin stalking her. 

What comes next are a few Halloween-inspired moments such as Nicholas stalking his sister from the background and the killing of a random house owner in order to get some clothes, but as far as I can tell these were the only elements of the film that appears to be taken out of Carpenter's classic. To be honest, I don't really mind all of these; I've seen a lot of described "Halloween rip-off" and while a good deal of them do suck, titles like He Knows You're Alone (1980), Absurd (1981) and even Final Exam (1981) prove themselves to be really capable of entertaining us despite the copied elements. As far as ripping off go, Methodic (2007) definitely has its moments but, otherwise, the flick's really trying its best to set itself apart and I'm a big sucker for effort.

What makes Methodic (2007) an enjoyable movie is it has a simplistic approach on the classic slasher story, with some good production (for a shot on video movie) and fairly decent marketing, as well as well-paced, interesting scenes and lore played around for originality. The film's actually labeled as the first "Basher" film, taken out from the fact the the killer murders his victims by bludgeoning them. Kinda puts the old stabbers a rest for the moment and let the film explore for further ways of committing onscreen homicidal mayhem, which trails around classic beatings such as bat and hammer kills, to those that are a little more creative like a frying pan kill and a brutal head pounding. Not a bad gimmick but I think it would have work better if they had a couple of more moolah to spend for the effects budget and get some blood running for the slasher fans.

We got some good T&A action with a soft-core lesbian scene and very decent acting from the cast despite the lack of character development for the film's female lead/s. Niki Rubin, who played the lead girl Lana, could have been more developed, but this cute lil' brunette only has a few screen time and most of the movie's focus was more on The Dollman's methodic existence before and during his killing spree.

Speaking of which, perhaps one of this film's bigger selling point would be its Dollman character. I have to be frank, I do like the killer's simplistic design; I'm still trying to understand the symbolism of the red, jester-like smile The Dollman always puts on but the mythos behind him (as in what he really is) was enough to keep me intrigued to know more.

All I can say is that everyone who's involved with this movie gave a lot of heart on making it and even though not all of its parts work, I have to give credit to director Chris R. Notarile (whose majority of his filmography are short fan films of everything geeky from slasher movies to DC super heroines) on managing to pull out a decent horror film such as this at a modest budget. I can surely recommend Methodic (2007) to the curious, slasher film completists out there, at least just for a look or two.

1 male and 1 female bludgeoned to death with hammer
1 male beaten to death with nightstick
1 male shot
1 male brained to death with walkie talkie
1 female blow to the head with baseball bat
1 male had his skull cracked with sledgehammer
1 male beaten to death with golf club
1 female beaten repeatedly against the wall, brained with frying pan
1 female pounded to death
1 male shot
Total: 11
A Short Shear Terror review
Methodic 1.5 (2009 short)
Rating: ***
Starring: Ken Smith, Kim Santiago, Ally Kustera

A short film sequel to the underground cult movie, Methodic 1.5 follows the story of Mark, a parolee who's given a second chance in life with his wife and daughter, only to fall "infected" by the strange presence known only as The Dollman. Over a course of a week, Mark gradually degrades into a silent psychopath as The Dollman starts to take over his life and his body, and it's not too long before history repeats itself as the masked killer would be free again to wreck havoc, one bludgeoning to the next...

For a fifteen minute short film, Methodic 1.5 got some interesting ideas going on as it introduces a new development on The Dollman's character, something I really wish would be explored further in future projects. In here, it appears that his evil is beginning to spread like a virus to various people around the world, noticeably males of all sorts of ages. The concept of a viral entity that forces people to become slashers is really dib worthy and I would really like to see more from this plot point.

The short film manages to package its story within a quick pace, though admittedly a little too speedy as it leaves open more questions just as it introduces new ideas to the Methodic mythology. I'm also gonna point out the lack of a proper massacre here, but a rampage is a rampage, even if the kills are a lot more bloodless compared to the feature.

A good follow-up with good ideas but still lacking some impact. Worth a quick lookie-look!

1 male thrown off down a flight of stairs
1 male beaten with sledgehammer
1 female beaten repeatedly against the door, stomped
1 male knifed on the gut
Total: 4


  1. I keep confusing this and Frayed.

    1. both are Halloween clones so it's understandable. But between the two, Methodic's more fun.