Horror movies are often thought of as the best way for a person to dip their toes into creating something. You don’t have to dig too deep for emotion, cheap scares are often given a pass, and as long as you have a good time with popcorn, who cares? Well, with that being said, the flip side also means that these films can fall to the wayside into a sea of forgotten memories. Eric Liberacki’s ‘The Lurker’ definitely fulfills the latter, but I can’t say it got away with a lot of the former either.
Slashers… slashers never change. Liberacki made some very peculiar calls with the direction of this film. Within the first few minutes you get a taste of how things will look in the rest of the film. We start with some super rapid cuts in between a play and a murder, and while I like the creative idea of finding a duality in these two settings, the moment comes off jarring, and unfortunately that idea of “jarring” tends to follow through the movie. There’s strange editing, awkward editing cuts, weird dialogue, and no chemistry among actors. All stuff I can mention later that stems from the direction.
‘The Lurker’ follows a group of theatre students that are plagued by a murderer. Basic? Yes. In all honesty, nothing about the first hour of this film kept my attention. The core people we follow are a group of girls who I have no idea why they are friends. Why is this half, you ask? Well! Surprisingly the ending came together in a decent enough way that my interest piqued back up. That doesn’t excuse every other bit of time I spent with Lurker, but I like a good idea. Though I think things didn’t land on their feet, hell, the ending barely landed on its legs breaking most bones on the way down, but it landed. I’ll give it that. The writer, John Lerchen, had a clear point A and point B and got to it, however the dialogue and everything in between doesn’t give that a full pass.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Typically during these movies I’ll give myself a little game and wonder how these groups of completely different people met and became buds, but with this one I had no idea; immediately there were just insults and a lack of any attachment to one another. We needed the tomboy, the nerd, the hot one, and the mean one, but here we are. Just a lack of anyone likable to begin with. Aside from there, I don’t think the dialogue at any point felt natural. None of the conversations in fact felt real. There’s a murderer nearby, oh let’s stop and have a long casual conversation. No! The cheesiness blended in with the non-cheesy moments. It became a mish-mash that at the end of the day, left me not liking anyone. Barely any characters got much screen time that left me with enough of an impression that let me like them enough to be upset or happy at their arc.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
One day after film class my friends and I saw a flier for a “silent rave” that was going on that night. Curious, we all went to it. Everyone was given headphones and there was a DJ. So there was a sea of college students, all dancings, with glow sticks, in complete silence to bystanders. Easily one of the most bizarre moments of my life. I tell this because I had flashbacks to this during a party scene in the movie where ambient noise wasn’t a thing. You could hear every little thing perfectly. Ambient noise is what makes the quiet feel tense, but when the entire film is quiet, well I don’t even know what to think.
As for the score, I don’t even know what to say. I was supremely underwhelmed. I didn’t get the creepy music that I should’ve, I got sort of weird synths here or there, but that’s it. My ears weren’t pleased.
Slasher films have one thing to achieve: gore. Lots and lots of gore. What I can confidently say is ‘The Lurker’ was teetering on the cusp of what it should’ve been. I’m unsure if it was a lack of confidence in the effects or not, because some kills got the proper amount of screentime that it needed, others were a flash in a pan and then onto the next scene. I want to give at least some praise, but when the arguably most important part of the film felt shy, I can’t.
"I AM THE PARTY MASTER."
I don’t like to completely trash these kinds of films, but I don’t have anything positive to look back on with this. I’ll forget I’ve watched it a month from now. Playing it safe with these films might not yield the most head turns, but it definitely pushes back the genuinely bad and forgettable stamp too. There were tiny, tiny blips of good ideas in here. It shouldn’t take the last 15 minutes for me to want to really know what’s going to happen though.