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FENDER BENDER Is At Fault For Being A Fun Time! (Movie Review)

Fender-BenderIt was bound to happen sooner or later.  The immensely popular Scream Factory Blu-ray line from independent distributor Shout! Factory has made a big name and impact on the horror fandom and community right from its inception in 2012.  After a few years, fans began to ask if they ever thought of putting out their own films ever.  With trust from them having built clouts as huge fans themselves of the genre, they were definitely interested in it.  Then, last year, the exciting news dropped about Fender Bender with much excitement.  Fittingly, their first foray into filmmaking and producing would be a slasher film as their first Blu-ray release was the 1981 slasher sequel Halloween II (Also the first of the coveted “Collector’s Edition” line).  Horror lovers will be able to take in this film when it premieres on ChillerTV next Friday (A week from today, June 3) at 9PM.

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In a small New Mexico town, a 17-year-old high school girl who just got her driver’s license gets into her first fender bender, innocently exchanging her personal information with an apologetic stranger.  Later that stormy night, she is joined in her desolate suburban home by a couple of her school friends who try their best to make a night out of it, only to be visited by the stranger she so willingly handed all of her information to — a terrifying and bizarre serial killer who stalks the country’s endless miles of roads and streets with his old rusty car, hungrily searching for his next unsuspecting victim.

Right out the gate, this is ever the love letter to the slasher genre of the 1980s as there ever was.  And its one that successful is such without doing so in any sort of distracting ways.  Its straightforward being the the kind of film it wants to be in a way they were sort of made back then.  You won’t find a lot of winks to the audience or super meta stuff abound.  Fender Bender is very straightforward with what it is.  And what it is, is one of the best straightforward slashers in last decade or so (Hanging around in a territory with that of the first two Cold Prey movies).

Fender Bender 2

Story setup of is a novel little simple concept that works just fine if you’re willing to go there.  Its a clever and fun conceit our killer has.  And its one that sort makes you think, “Yeah, how did someone NOT think of this way back when”.  Said premise works very well with the pre-credits scene of the film and our main body of the story.  In fact, its actually quite satisfying and really works well how the opening plays into the main story.  Not only is there a connection, but I rather enjoy getting a small dose and then having a full scenario sort of fill in answers and deepen the questions and curiosity posed from the opening kill.

Director Mark Pavia does so much with what little he probably had to work with.  Slashers, as they should always be, are a super low budget affair.  With that, he and his crew are able to assemble some unique intense sequence, all with a nice and not overbearing sense of style.  The key here to this movie’s success is how straightforward it is, and the ability and restraint to stay the course.  This film also rewards retro horror junkies like myself with the decision to have practical effects which are pretty fun to see with the kills.

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Impressive enough, is the film’s ability to have some likable characters fill up the roster.  That’s not a requirement for a slasher (Personality stereotypes are fun), but it can be refreshing sometimes.  Our lead is Makenzie Vega and she works quite well to have around.  She’s menaced by Ben Sage who plays the killer.  And this guy is just a stone cold killer.  What I like is that while he’s human and can talk, there’s a good decision made to keep him silent for his stalking and murder proceedings.

I really hope I’m not overselling the film for you.  Fans of slasher films should really give it a shot if they have ChillerTV.  If you’re a fan of the golden years but are not too big on films that are obsessed with overdoing nostalgia aesthetics or meta stuff, this should be the ticket.  One of the best compliments I can give the film is that it just does what it doesn’t and doesn’t trying to be anything else.  And what it does, it does well and is also a fun time.

Fender-Bender-Poster

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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