With a November DVD release scheduled with indie distrib Breaking Glass Pictures, Joe Davison's nicely done As Night Falls should find itself in plenty of indie horror loving fans this upcoming holiday season.
The film opens with 10-year-old Amelia (Grace Chapman) being put permanently to bed by her not so doting parents. Flash forward a few years and sisters Holly (Lily Cardone) and Elizabeth (Deneen Melody) have been plunked down in the middle of nowhere by their parents and rather than lament their misfortunes they opt for a bit of a homecoming party that quickly gets way out of hand. Just as things have gotten completely out of hand, someone spots...
Can ya' guess?
Of course you can.
10-year-old Amelia is back and she has a warning for everyone. She's followed by her still ass kickin' parents (played by horror great Debbie Rochon and Michael Ellison). It doesn't take too long before the party guest fatalities start piling up and Elizabeth is left to protect her sister along with her well meaning but ill-equipped boyfriend (Dwight Cenac) and the similarly ill-equipped local sheriff (Joe Davison).
While As Night Falls may not qualify as brilliant cinema, it certainly qualifies as serious badassery.
I swear that badassery is a word.
Deneen Melody, who seems to always add just the perfect touch of humanity to every horror film she does, is an absolute delight as Elizabeth. Melody turns Elizabeth into both the "girl next door" type and one serious zombie fighting young lady. There are certain actresses who simply have that cinematic spark and Melody is most definitely one of them.
Writer/director Joe Davison clearly knows his way around the genre as he balances the film quite nicely with ample doses of action, violence, humor, heart, and hot chicks.
While I'd be hard-pressed to call the performances here brilliant, they are brilliant in terms of what they need to be for As Night Falls - a perfect weaving together of tongue in cheek bravado with a full-on gusto that gives the film a nicely done energy that is far too often missing from indie horror flicks.
Debbie Rochon, oh how I miss her when she's not around, is a full-on joy as the mother while Michael Ellison rocks the joint as the seriously undead dad who is back with a not quite paternal vengeance. I'd be remiss to not mention that Lily Cardone also shines as younger sister Holly while Dwight Cenac turns in a terrific physical performance as Otto.
You ever wonder why more parents don't name their kid Otto?
I sure do.
Anyway, As Night Falls may be a flawed film but it's a tremendously fun and flawed film with an ensemble cast that truly seems to "get" what it means to make a good old-fashioned B-movie that hits all the right spots.
Look for this film when it gets released in November, 2013.
Now go back to bed.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic