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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Kane Hodder, Antoinette Nikprelaj, Jerry Reid, Maria Hildreth, Paul Elia
DIRECTED BY
Tommy Brunswick
SCREENPLAY
Mark Myers, Norman Koza
MPAA RATING
Equiv. to "R"
RUNNING TIME
83 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Breaking Glass Pictures/Vicious Circle Films (DVD)
DVD EXTRAS
Actor Commentary; Kane Hodder Interview; Deleted Scenes
 "Exit 33" Review 
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Kane Hodder is the main reason to catch this otherwise mediocre indie horror flick picked by Breaking Glass Pictures' horror arm, Vicious Circle Films, for a home video release on August 2, 2011. Hodder, known to most of the free world as Jason Voorhees, plays Ike, owner of Ike's Last Chance Gas right off Exit 33. Ike spends his days pumping gas and practicing his taxidermy skills whenever the opportunity presents itself. A quiet man who seemingly keeps to himself, Ike has a dark secret - an obsession with women's eyes.

Can you see where this is going?

Advertised as a "no holds barred gorefest," Exit 33 is aimed squarely at the old school horror fan that will hopefully appreciate its brutally dark humor and occasionally retro vibe. The good news is that Hodder himself actually elevates the film considerably, and while the rest of the cast is far more hit-and-miss you can't help but appreciate what Kane Hodder can do outside a mask.

There's a wee bit of an Ed Gein vibe going on here, as our psychotic station owner has a hankerin' for a specially concocted beef jerky blend with a secret ingredient that doesn't stay a secret for too long. As four friends make their way to their 5-year high school reunion following ole' Exit 33, Ike makes sure they won't be heading back for the main highway any time soon.

Despite the semblance of a storyline, Exit 33 is basically an excuse for serious gore with the slight disclaimer that our killer does have set standards and won't kill just anyone in his quest for eyes that are truly enchanting. Multiple customers come and go quite successfully, but if you're a pretty woman who encounters Ike it's likely to be your last human encounter. Not even a wee bit of a plot twist can salvage the fact that by the time Exit 33 hits its 83rd minute, you're likely to either be bored out of your mind or completely enchanted by the silliness of it all.

Take your pick.

Packaged by the fine folks at Vicious Circle Films, the DVD extras include actor's commentary, an interview with Kane Hodder and a few deleted scenes. While the packaging isn't top notch, it's better than is usually offered to indie horror. Indie horror buffs have to appreciate Vicious Circle's efforts to bring more horror into the home video market.

Michael Kudreiko's camera work captures the humor-tinged ominous tones that director Tommy Brunswick is going for, but the flip side is that there are multiple scenes, especially while driving, that are almost laugh out loud awful. Doug Kolbicz's production design is a solid indicator that we're not supposed to take all of this quite so seriously, while Bill Alton and Daniel D. Smith's original music is standard issue horror and complements the film quite fine.

One can't help but be a tad disappointed with Exit 33, an indie horror product with a decent performance from horror legend Kane Hodder that can't quite rise above the overall mediocrity of the rest of the project. Far from a disaster and still likely to be of interest for hardcore Hodder fans and fans of lower budget horror, Exit 33 has an order date of July 12th and a street date of August 2, 2011. For more information, visit the Breaking Glass website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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