Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Don't Worry. They're Paramedics: Old 37 (2015)
Starring: Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Jake Robinson
Being a big Friday the 13th fan, I'm always up to see a slasher flick starring the franchise's most loved Jason Voorhees stunt man Kane Hodder. And being a fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series and Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, I'm also up to see what good messed-up characters ole Bill "Chop Top or Otis Driftwood" Moseley will be portraying. Now seeing these two horror legends under the same movie is always a treat, and thus now you know how I ended up seeing this interesting yet slightly underwhelming slasher title.
Old 37 follows two plot points: one would be of Amy (Caitlin Harris), a shy teenager who just recently lost her best friend from a supposed driving "accident" caused by a group of local snoots. Losing her father some time earlier, Amy is trying to find her way to move on from these tragedies and finds a little glimmer of hope when the town's eye candy Jason (Maxwell Zagorski) starts to take an interest on her. But all is not that easy for Amy as not only she has to deal with her bitchy and bullying neighbor Brooke (Olivia Alexander), but she will also finds herself tangled with plotpoint number 2: a couple of maniacs, Darryl (Moseley) and Jon Roy (Hodder), riding a beat-up ambulance and pretending to be paramedics as their modus.
As a concept, medical themed slashers are terrifying. Films like Visiting Hours (1982), Terminal Choice (1986), the two Dentist movies and even Nurse 3D show the kind of worst case scenario one may encounter while in the place of healing or in the state of recovering, wherein the sudden arrival of an escaped maniac or even your doctor could just simply take advantage of your weakened state and finish you off for no good reason. For Old 37, this should have been the case; the very beginning of the movie has us watching our killers in their youths, forced to join and witness their deranged father as he intercepts a paramedic call and murders a girl who is simply clinging to life. This kind of monstrosity should have been the focus of the movie, but we are instead treated with a coming-of-age drama-cum-horror hybrid about a girl trying to change the outcome of her seemingly worsening teen life.
In its defense, the writing done for the movie's teen drama affair is pretty good. Often I find myself a little more intrigued on whether our heroine will outdo herself and get the treatment she deserves or not (through means I never knew an obvious final girl would take), as well as if her bullies will get their just desserts as not only were they responsible for two murders, but most of them hardly cared of their own crimes. (For short, they deserved to die slowly) With all of this focus on building depth and reason for both sides of the coin, however, the "killer ambulance drivers" gimmick seems lost and may as well be forgotten as it contributes very little to the actual story. Heck, have the killers do their thing in casuals and you pretty much have the same plot, and it's this kind of missed opportunity to create something new (or at least a new angle for a concept) that leaves me disappointed and stuck with a final product no different than your average slice-and-dicer only with better character arcs.
Other possible nitpicks would be the ever-present plotholes (30 years of these psychos picking up and killing kids involved in automobile accidents and no one ever caught on?) and some small deal of incoherency and pacing issues, but the very thing that bugged me the most was how "convenient" the direction was when it comes to the horror bits. There's a revenge sub-plot that has the two maniac brothers seeking vengeance at those responsible for a family member's hit-and-run incident, which would have been a fair motive if only the movie can decide whether the brothers were fully aware that the teenagers they're massacring are the very ones responsible (seeing they somehow got all the guilty ones), or if they were just blessed by the patron saint of coincidence as, by luck has it, some of these victims fall into their own vehicular accidents, which under this movie's supposed catch, making them fitting targets for the killers' modus.
Lazy and/or uninspired horror transitions aside, as a slasher thankfully, Old 37 still has some good deal of blood and gore to entertain the bloodhounds, from the basic machete stabbings and sledgehammer brainings, to death by woodchipper and a very satisfying burn torture. The last 20 to 30 minutes is where most of the action takes place, finally giving our maniacs all the gruesome glory they should have been treated with from the very beginning. I did notice though that, while Moseley and Hodder were fun as this film's villains, the characters these guys were playing respectively are technically carbon copies of REPO!'s Luigi Largo (minus the singing) and Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees. Not that I am complaining, of course, and I know the movie tried to flesh them out with flashbacks to give them some identity, but we have seen these kinds of origins before and I guess it could have been more interesting if Moseley was the quite one and Hodder was the talkative one for a change. (I gotta see that some day!)
Overall, Old 37 is a good slasher that may have been better if they actually did something with their villains' unique concept. Some people seems to like it, others can see the mediocrity behind the over-hyped "killer ambulance driver" gig, and I find myself in between the two parties, leaning a bit to the minority who just felt underwhelmed. If you can tolerate its half-and-half plotting for a few scenes of gory goodness and a relatively better last act, then the Old 37 is the ride for you!
1 female choked on killer's fingers, strangled
1 male shredded through a woodchipper
1 female brained with a sledgehammer
1 female falls off from a moving car, killed
1 elderly female hit by a car (flashback)
1 male had his neck sliced with a buzzsaw
1 female found murdered
1 male had his back crushed with a car trunk
1 female found disemboweled
1 male stabbed on the back with a machete
1 female burned, later knifed on the neck
1 male forced face-first into a woodchipper
2 males and 1 female ran down with an ambulance