Michael Scott

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Rock, Paper, Scissors


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Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :halfstar:
Final Score: :2.5stars:



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Movie

Tom Holland is kind of a legend in the horror world. He directed Child’s Play (the original, not the new remake), Fright Night, Thinner, wrote Friday the 13th, and acted in countless other films. The guy kind of dropped off the horror film radar after the early 2000’s (except for TV shows), so color me a little surprised when I get a press release from Lionsgate about a brand new Tom Holland slasher! It’s straight to DVD so how good can it be, though? The end result after chewing through the 84 minute film? Well, it’s a mixed back. On one hand it’s great to see Tom back in the saddle again with a gory fun ride. But on the other hand this is pretty much a DTV film, with all the DTV bad acting and bad writing that goes along with the genre. Rock, Paper, Scissors, is gory, fun, but also a bit frustrating in regards to the rather predictable story line.

The story revolves around one Peter Harris (Luke MacFarlane), a psychologically disturbed serial killer known as the Doll Maker who dresses his female victims up as dolls, plays rock/paper/scissors with the victims and then slaughters them with a pair of scissors. Caught for his crimes, Peter is found not guilty due to insanity and sent to an asylum where he spends the next decade being worked over by a psychotherapist. After his 10 years is up Peter gets let free as a “cured” man and goes back to the same house where he once committed his crimes.

Peter is a bit of a wreck though, as he’s still struggling with his inner demons. To make matters worse the cop who busted him 10 years ago (Michael Madsen, looking a bit worse for wear) is hounding him, and his next door neighbor happens to be a writer who wants to write a book about his exploits. The ting is, his neighbor Barbara (Gabrielle Stone) is not who she seems to be. In fact, she’s the sister of one of Peter’s victims, and her “book” is nothing but subterfuge to get her close enough to Peter and make him pay for his crimes.

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The movie bounces the viewer back and forth on the “who’s the bad guy?” scale throughout the short 84 minutes of run time. Peter is obviously still mentally disturbed and has delusions of his imaginary (or is he?) brother Aaron (which was the basis of his insanity plea 10 years ago), but Barbara has her own agenda and you’re never sure whether she’s the new monster, and Peter is the innocent victim. This is pure Tom Holland though, as he plays with the audience a bit and has them questioning just about every turn. However, those twists and turns are all too obvious to a horror fan and I ended up guessing the direction that the film would take as the twists and turns trying to fake you out are based upon tried and true horror tropes.

The downside to the film though is the DTV nature of it all. Tom Holland has some great gore shots in the film, with some REALLY nasty slice and dice moments (some of the best parts of the movie are when Peter goes nuts with his blades), but the cheap writing and even worse acting by everyone NOT Luke MacFarlane is a definite detractor. With a bigger budget and a maybe some competent supporting actors (Michael Madsen doesn’t get enough time to really be a negative even though he gets top billing) would have changed things, but at the end of the day Rock, Paper, Scissors is a great concept with mediocre execution.




Rating:

Rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language, and brief nudity




Video: :3.5stars:
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The 2.35:1 framed DVD looks all right for a DTV horror film. You can tell that there wasn’t a whole lot of budget for the production, as the digitally shot image is rather flat and dull most of the time. Details are solid and usually very revealing, but the black levels are a bit milky and dull due to the cheap filming production. The clarity is clean and clear with a few instances of crushed blacks, but there are also quite a few moments that really pop. The main ones being bright outdoor shots as Peter is working out in his yard.








Audio: :4stars:
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The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is a bit better than the video though. The track is a bit front heavy for the most part, but the dialog is clean and clear, and the LFE on the track is crushing. The opening scene with Peter in the mask has some serious bass drops that had me dropping my volume levels rather quickly as it started shaking the doors. The rears aren’t utilized a whole lot, but they still get some ambient noises in the basement as he’s hacking up some victims, or with the chirping of birds outside as Peter talks to Barbara.







Extras: :halfstar:
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• Previews













Final Score: :2.5stars:


Originally titles Rock, Paper, Dead...Rock, Paper Scissors is an interesting film by a horror legend that has a lot going for it. Good direction, a creepy plot, and some SERIOUS use of gore, but ultimately stumbles and falls on weak acting and a weaker script. The concept and thought behind the movie is great, but the execution is a little rocky. Lionsgate’s DVD looks and sounds solid for a low budget DVD (there’s a Blu-ray version released this week as well, but it’s an MOD release so screeners weren’t sent out for that version). End of the day, Rock, Paper, Scissors is a rental.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Michael Madsen, Luke McFarlane, Tatum O'Neal, Maureen McCormick, Quinton Aaron, Najarra Townsend
Directed by: Tom Holland
Written by: Kerry Fleming, Victor Miller
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 MPEG2
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English SDH, Spanish
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Runtime: 84 Minutes
DVD Release Date: July 23rd 2019
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Recommendation: Rental

 

Asere

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The title is really interesting. Too bad everything else about it fell apart. I will rent it one day. Thanks for the review.
 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I will skip it.
 

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
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The title is really interesting. Too bad everything else about it fell apart. I will rent it one day. Thanks for the review.

I wouldn't say falls apart. More like it has some low budget hurdles to overcome and doesn't over come all of them completely. Still has potential though
 
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