Runaway Terror 2002 Review
Runaway Terror 2002
Directed by: Mark Baranowski
Starring: Mark Baranowski, Ryli Morgan
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
For my day job, I sell IT solutions. You know, servers, hardware and some Linux based software. (Don’t worry; it’s more fun than it sounds). Despite studying history and being able to speak four-languages, Sales is the only work that ever really suited me, because I get bored with doing the same thing very quickly and the constant pressure and space for creativity means my day is rarely tedious.
I worked on a different team last year and we were supplying smart phones to shops such as Carphone Warehouse, Fonehouse et al. When a new product came out on the market, I was always given ample training in its selling points and some of them were really good. Now I use an iPhone – and so does most of the world; but the market is big enough for the likes of RIM, Samsung, Nokia and HTC to make a tidy profit on their handsets. Anyway, probably one of the best new launches that I was trained on during my stint was the Palm Pre 2 from HP. I won’t go in to the full specs in a review of a slasher movie, but a lot of the phone’s gimmicks were actually very good and the fact that all information was stored on a ‘cloud based’ web OS was a pure masterstroke. Only problem was, when it came to selling the damn thing, no one was interested. I think we bought 2,500 units and six months later (the lifespan of a mobile telephone nowadays) we still had 2,482. I know and I had advised HP as to why I thought no one was interested, because it all comes down to one of the most fundamental things about product development – effective marketing.
This handset could have woken you up, made you a cup of tea and then dry cleaned your suits, but if no one knows about it, why will they buy it? The reason I mention this is that it’s a point that Mark Baranowski was more than aware of when he released this cheapo in 2002. Type Runaway Terror in Google and you will find review upon review about how sexy and how great an actress Ryli Morgan (his wife) is and how this is the greatest slasher movie of the new age. Seriously. There is one write up on the IMDB for this feature and the title is: ‘What don’t they make slashers like this anymore?’ (sic). The author then goes on to call it ‘atmospheric’ and that we should ’watch the originality unfold in front of our eyes’! – It aroused my curiosity even though I should have known better, but I guess that’s why filmmakers sometimes write their own reviews… 😉
A masked killer is stalking girls that audition for a sleazy porn director in the centre of town. It seems that meeting with him does nothing more than mark their cards and they are killed the following night by a hooded wacko. Detective Luke Brennan attempts to stop the psycho in his tracks, but what is the link between the seedy XXX hustler and the ruthless murderer…?
I am full of admiration for folks like Mr Baranowski and his wife. They have self-financed more than five independent movies and then worked long hours to promote them in the ways that I have mentioned above. I marvel at such dedication to a hobby and it’s good to see that it’s something they that they believe in and work together to improve. With that said though, I would have to disagree with the anonymous critics that have said that Runaway Terror is ‘atmospheric’ and the ‘greatest slasher movie of the new age’.
For a start, many times during the runtime it was almost impossible for me to make out what was going on due to a quality of photography (videography) that looked like someone had poured mud through a sieve over it. I’d have no problem accepting that level of screen clarity if I was watching a bootleg or a Torrent download, but this was a DVD, which I purchased directly from their website for a heart-stopping $19.99. I appreciate that these guys are not going to be rivalling LucasFilm in terms of visual finesse, but after reading how Runaway Terror would ‘keep me guessing’ and was ‘Ambitious’, ‘Atmospheric’ or any other dime-store platitude that could be thrown at it, I expected a bit more bang for my fair-few bucks. Mark Baranowski doesn’t have the budget to make a decent stalk and slash flick, but he does have a lot of loyal friends that will write how ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ his features are all over the worldwide web. If the old film stuff doesn’t work out, there are worse ways to earn a buck than digital marketing 😉
But it’s not just the look of the movie that’s bad, we are given countless scenes that are long, boring and totally unnecessary. I mean tell me what was the point of filming the lead sitting on her bed for five minutes? The direction is bland and uninspired and lacks any kind of urgency, which is unacceptable because horror above any other genre is where flair and energy is highly rewarded. I also wasn’t a fan of the soundtrack, which is basically poorly produced techno or something that sounds like a sample from a Casio keyboard. There’s also a gratuitous and horrible sex sequence, which makes little sense in relation to the plot and although it may be a shallow thing to say (I am not a massive fan of sex scenes anyway), but these were two characters that I can’t see people queuing round the block to see stripping off.
In fairness, many of the problems come down to a lack of funding and given a slightly bigger budget, there’s no reason why this couldn’t have been a bit better. Baranowski is not the worst actor and everyone seemed to be trying their hardest, which showed that their was some motivation on set. Ok I am trying to think of something else good to say about it? Well… the killer’s guise is pretty cool (I always like white masks) and they cover up the mystery well (I was sure I had cracked this one in the first five minutes, but I had underestimated Baranowski) and erm… oh damn… I can’t believe that I nearly forgot! There’s a guy who holds the auditions for the porno movies and looks like Mr Shickadance from Ace Ventura. Anyway, he sleeps with most of the hopefuls whilst his long-term girlfriend is working outside on reception. What a player!
So, unfortunately, I didn’t ‘watch the originality unfold in front of my eyes’ and I really didn’t think that Runaway Terror ‘takes the slasher formula and works with it in the right way’. No blood, no suspense, in fact there’s hardly anything of note…. (Except for a producer who sleeps with girls whilst his Mrs waits outside.). Well, it’s better than Curse of Halloween… marginally
Final Girl √