The Laughing Mask (Written & Directed by Michael Aguiar)
Plot : A grisly murder perpetrated by a deranged killer, Jake Johnson’s wife and daughter were murdered by a Psychotic vigilante only known as The Laughing Mask. As the police look for clues and the body count begins to rise, Johnson will play a dangerous game in order to avenge his family’ death… (from IMDB)
Thoughts From The Popcorn Gallery:
The film poster has a great image with a guy in a very cool mask harking back to the 80’s with films like Friday The 13th, My Bloody Valentine, and Halloween. So going in to this film I had some expectation that this was going to be a cool throw back to those days. The picture starts with a girl tied to a chair with the killer and his ghostly laugh. The killer looks through his vast array of weapons choosing one, and as the girl cries out, he kills her. So far a good start but sadly the film will only have a few good parts throughout its short run time. Let’s start with the script, which was a rehash of every other horror/revenge type film you’ve seen before. There are two plot lines moving at the same time between the cops looking for a drug dealer/pimp and the killer who is killing off all the bad guys, sound familiar? The dialogue was awful throughout the film and characters said things and did things that were just Laughable. The film tries to have a surprise twist ending of who the killer and drug dealer are, but honestly it was easy to figure out 10mins into the film. The music did not help at all as it did not have the creepiness nor suspense that would have taken the scenes to another level (Think how Halloween or Friday The 13th would have sounded like with no creepy suspenseful score.) music is 50% of your film. The editing had its issues but I have a feeling it was the lack of good direction during production. The camera work was okay, but there was nothing special about it as the camera was used in its basic level. There were no creepy lighting, no creepy angles, no real attempt at a visual style. As I understand it was shot in 4k on a Red but honestly it looked more like a regular DSLR camera. The film missed out on having any tension, suspense and cool kills and horror moments, well except for the Jack In The Box scene. The audio was almost completely ADR which leaves me to wonder what happened to the NAT sounds in the recordings. It is a tough thing to do ADR, and if you don’t do it right your film comes off as a badly dubbed Chinese film. There are several good programs out there that could have fixed the NAT sound if they had issues with it. The acting was a hit and miss throughout the film, but it might go back to the weak script as some of the actors, specifically the two leads had some good moments. Now there are some parts in the film that I liked, like the strip club scene where the killer faces off with a bouncer and pulls an Indiana Jones then calls over for a drink and pays for it and another scene that also got some good laughs was as the killer goes to kill the final victim with a gardening shears. But in the end the filmmaker missed out on making a really cool horror mask into the next villain icon. Instead we are left with as a cheep knockoff of The Punisher and Dexter..
Over all the filmmakers get an A for the effort but an F for the film.