Firstly I would just like to say thankyou to Tommy Faircloth, writer and director of the 2014 slasher film “Dorchester’s Revenge: The Return Of Crinoline Head”, for allowing me to view a screener before the film’s official release. I keep trying my luck with these low-budget indie filmmakers by showing interest in their films and for the most part the feedback is fantastic, so thanks to all of you guys for allowing me access to your films! Like me, most of you have probably never heard of Tommy’s first film “Crinoline Head” which was made way back in 1995. 19 years later Dorchester’s Revenge is the follow-up film to the events that took place in the previous one. A group of college students are given a school project that involves investigating and reporting local legends. Best friends David and James (played by Christian James and Gunner Willis respectively), choose to do their project on Dorchester Stewart known to most as the serial killer “Crinoline Head”. David and James along with their classmates Shelby and Donna (the lovely Kirsten Ray and cute Leah Wiseman) decide to head out to the location where the murders took place but they find that Crinoline Head might just still be alive!
The film also stars Debbie Rochon, Jason Vail, John Kap and the Julia Voth (Bitchslap) look-alike the beautiful Elizabeth Mears. I knew next to nothing about this film going into it and only discovered it through reading a review online. These films tend to be the type of low-budget independent slashers that I like to support, are they the most original? No, but that doesn’t stop me getting into it. Tommy seems to have had a fair bit of experience and given that the original film is nearly 20 years old, he would have a learnt a lot about filmmaking in that time and let me tell you it does show.
Well there is plenty to like about Dorchester’s Revenge and one of the standouts is that it’s written in such a way that it’s not crucial to have seen the original film in order to understand whats going on here. The introduction to the film opens with events from Dorchester’s childhood in 1980. Shortly after that you are given a recap of events from the original film, so you need not worry about getting lost. The heavily wooded and beautiful landscape makes for a great location to shoot this slasher flick. I don’t know what the estimated budget for the film was but at a guess I would say $20,000-$50,000 (don’t quote me on that though). Anyhow, whatever the budget was no one can deny that Tommy is a talent behind the lens. Some of the sweeping and raised (crane??) camera work along with the unique points of view he shoots at make for some of the best camera work I’ve seen in a while. The score works pretty well, especially in the opening scenes and the audio is pretty clear for the most part. It’s inconsistent at times but mostly when characters are in the background and the boom mic’s havent been positioned correctly. Either that or the crew is using the original audio from the camera.
The acting from majority of the cast is pretty solid too. It was campy where it needed to be and serious when required. The standout’s were probably Gunner Willis, playing James just a loveable goof and Kirsten Ray as Shelby, the cute and reserved female lead. I have a soft spot for Janet (played by Mears), even though Janet is a total bitch she has a few good comedic moments and looks great! The weakest of the bunch was actually Debbie Rochon and given she has the most amount of experience that was a surprise. I didn’t care much for the character and her constant sexual innuendo was only funny for the first couple of minutes and then it got old pretty fast. The film moves along quickly and there is enough comedy included with scenes like the hardcore dance in the car and Janet’s constant Lol’s, Totes and Serials (haha), to keep you occupied. The addition of some catty drag queens heading to a bar was a pleasant addition as well (haha).
I’ve already spoken about Debbie, the inconsistent audio and the fact that the entire story isn’t all that original. However, most of those aspects can be forgiven because of the budget and experience levels etc. I feel that there were a few missed scenes though and had they been incorporated it might have cleared up a few things. Most of them are simple things like the introduction at the college, there are two scenes shot outside in the campus courtyard both of which should have incorporated extras (maybe 50) to make it actually look like a college not a movie set. During one of the action sequences they cued the forced and lame tripping over something scene (but tripping over what?? we don’t know, because we don’t get to see). The second group of teens arrive looking to steal David and James project idea and I thought wait, where the hell did they come from and how did they know how to get there??. Clearly we are led to believe they followed the car so why not show that lead up scene of them tailing the main group? It adds two things to the mix, more suspense and the fact that you could use it as a chance to kill off another secondary character.
The entire film fails to generate any real suspense but I don’t think Tommy was really going for that vibe anyways but maybe he should have, which brings me to the blood. Tommy Tommy Tommy, if there is one thing Dorchester’s Revenge drastically needed it was a higher body count (shown on-screen I mean, not cut away) and plenty more of the red stuff. I was just waiting in anticipation for this to blow my mind with some really awesome and bloody kills and it just never did. The first kill doesn’t occur until 30 minutes into the film and left me feeling flat. Other than one really cool standout kill it’s just all a little too convenient. Now I apologise if this was a shoestring budget and the money for good blood and gore wasn’t there but judging by the ease in which Tommy makes the technical aspects look fantastic, I’d find that hard to believe. I mean you can’t have a character getting shot multiple times with no blood spray (cardinal no-no). C’mon?? Arghhhhh.
Dorchester’s Revenge was a fun film with some really cool and likeable characters, solid acting, beautiful girls and some fun gags. The blood and gore we all hope for just didn’t hit the mark and sadly it’s the one and only reason I can see that holds this film back from being one of the best of the year (on the indie circuit). I will still be purchasing the film because it’s something you can still enjoy and maybe watch with someone who hasn’t been exposed to as many slasher films as I have over the years (haha). Unfortunately I’m left a little disappointed because this thing could have been crazy-good!, anyways big effort from Tommy and all those involved well done. Be sure to visit the imdb page below and keep your eyes open for news!
My rating for “Dorchester’s Revenge: The Return Of Crinoline Head” is 6/10