TITLE: The Last Showing
DIRECTOR: Phil Hawkins
CAST: Robert Englund, Finn Jones, Emily Berrington
REVIEW BY ANDREW GARVEY
Filmed at the Vue Cinema, Cheshire Oaks and Wigan’s Empire Cinema and having its world premiere at the 2014 London FrightFest, this is a very English horror film starring a very American legend.
Horror film icon Robert Englund, 40 years on from his first film role and 30 years after Freddy Krueger’s big screen debut, steals the show (in a wanton act of petty theft) as oddball projectionist/popcorn salesman Stuart.
Appalled at the vulgarity of modern cinema, and its audience (he must have read the script), Stuart quits his job, tortures his much younger, manager and traps the late night show’s only two customers in the cinema overnight.
He then uses CCTV cameras and some suspiciously proficient video editing skills to force them into starring roles in his own horror movie.
Those two unlucky customers, Martin and Allie are on a date and, at her suggestion, there to watch the late-night showing of the Hills Have Eyes 2. Allie is a horror film buff whose knowledge of the genre might have come in useful, had the script done anything with it but it doesn’t and the actress who plays her (Emily Berrington) is badly underutilised.
Instead, we spend most of our time watching Stuart play his cat-and-mouse games with Martin, a vacuous moron I wouldn’t favour to win a battle of wits with a sack of rice.
Whether it’s yelling idiotically at every opportunity, failing to get down an ‘up’ escalator or not realising that if he kicks the chained up bar on the fire exit door a few more times it will break and allow him to escape, our ‘hero’ Martin (best known as Ser Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones) might well be one of the most annoyingly empty-headed characters in horror history.
Just imagine how much ground that covers.
Englund’s Stuart is effectively creepy, actually too creepy at times when such behaviour should be an obvious red flag for everyone around him, and his accent is distractingly all over the place. For some reason, the script also calls for him to occasionally overpower people several decades younger than him. And it just doesn’t look convincing.
Speaking of unconvincing, Stuart manages some incredibly fast video edits, and achieves things that are (for a variety of technical reasons too dull to discuss in this review) just not possible. This may be a pedantic comment but it was one of many, many problems that stopped me from actually focusing on the intriguing but badly flawed plot.
The Last Showing isn’t a terrible film. But it’s far from a good one, or even a decent one. The basic premise is good, it’s just badly done.