Exit 33 (2011)

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2011-07-26 01:06

Written by: Mark Myers and Norman Koza
Directed by: Tommy Brunswick
Starring: Kane Hodder, Antoinette Nikprelaj, and Jerry Reid

Reviewed by: Brett G.

“What’s that sound?”
“Oh, just a girl screaming in my slaughterhouse.”

There was a fleeing period in my life when Kane Hodder’s involvement with a random movie would have excited me. The guy basically was Jason to me, and I always enjoyed seeing him pop up in other movies (I was probably the only guy in the theater who nearly jumped out of his chair when he showed up in Daredevil). Of course, most of the stuff he ended up in was sub-standard direct-to-video fare (Dark Wolf sticks out as an especially painful waste of a rental); his latest film, Exit 33, is from the same indie-horror circuit.

Hodder is Ike, a lonesome, quiet weirdo who operates the “last chance gas” shack on a rural road. It’s a literal tourist trap for girls with pretty eyes because Ike has an on ocular fetish due to some past trauma. His hunting season coincides with some friends’ journey to their high school reunion, and, of course, their destination rests somewhere off of exit 33...

Yet another reminder from our illustrious genre that you should never, ever, stray from the beaten path and take dusty old dirt roads, Exit 33 is typical slasher-like stuff. It follows the usual pattern--an opening kill sequence without any context, a requisite (but not nearly brief enough) introduction to obnoxious characters, and, finally, some hack and slash torture elements. Essentially a less interesting version of Tourist Trap (though with far more gore), this one isn’t any different from just about any other movie of this type. People (including random people that have nothing to do with the group of friends) show up, pay for gas, have some amusing interactions with Hodder (“where do you think I get the beef for the jerky,” he asks at one point), then usually end up getting whacked over the head with a tire iron (or worse).

When he’s not wrecking people’s shit, Hodder spends his time brooding; his hazy memories interrupt the main narrative and reveal a tragic past involving his wife that explains his motivations (and only further the Tourist Trap comparisons). He also hangs out with his little kid, a vibrant, gleeful little bastard that helps daddy with his sick work. Speaking of that, it’s pretty gross--eyes get cut out, guts get spilled, a girl is skinned alive, all that good stuff. But even that isn’t as disgusting as the little shack’s restroom facilities, with probably violate every sanitary code possible; that still doesn’t stop a passing hunter from taking a dump while reading some porn in an alarmingly long sequence that had me wondering if Rob Zombie ghost-directed.

There really aren’t any other characters to speak of; in fact, most of the friends never meet up, and we only know they’re buds because they talk on the phone. One pair manages to be particularly obnoxious, so their off ramp out of the movie couldn’t come quickly enough. This just means you’re left chilling with Hodder’s character as the movie reveals his secrets in piecemeal fashion, but none of them manage to be a shocker (everything manages to be telegraphed, despite the film’s attempt to cheat you at some points). Oddly enough, Hodder sort of comes off as a likeable, possibly sympathetic character (think Victor Crowley’s dad in Hatchet), which is funny because the producers of Freddy vs. Jason ditched him because they needed someone with “sympathetic eyes” (and, if Ken Kirzinger’s hiring was any indication, someone with Canadian citizenship--cheaper labor!).

Anyway, Exit 33 is pretty below average, though there are far worse offenders out there. To check it out, be on the lookout for Breaking Glass Pictures’s DVD on August 2nd. In addition to an anamorphic transfer and a Dolby Stereo track, you’ll get deleted scenes, an actor commentary (said actor isn’t specified by promo materials), and an interview with Hodder. A ponderous and generally dull affair whose gore scenes can’t even perk it up, this one should be a last exit at best. Rent it!

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