Case Number 15344

SPIKER

MTI // 2008 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 2nd, 2009

The Charge

A ruthless killer...a haunting memory.

Opening Statement

Six horny teens...a cabin...an unstoppable killer...blah blah blah.

Facts of the Case

Said teens decide to go up to one of their friend's abandoned house for an eerie overnight filled with booze and fluid exchange. Everyone's relieved over the assumed shooting death of "The Spiker" (Frank Zagarino), an infamous serial killer who slaughtered 20-something people with railroad spikes.

Of course, he's not quite dead yet and returns with a vengeance to menace the kids, rudely interrupting their sleazy teen high jinks. One by one, they're whacked in brutal fashion, but at the heart of the violence is a mystery about a ghost.

The Evidence

Spiker is a straight-forward slasher formula, with a moderate splash of narrative twist that isn't quite twisty enough to break the film free of its derivative nature. If it's been, say, twelve seconds since you've seen a group-of-teenagers-getting-killed-in-a-reclusive-cabin-by-a-maniac-wielding-pointy-steel-objects and you're angling for another dose of the formula, here you go.

Director Frank Zagarino (same guy who plays the villain) hits all the necessary beats:

1) The "teens" are your typical jackasses, insulting each other, making stupid decisions that result in the end of their stupid lives. (Hey genius if you've got the psychopathic murderer at axe-point, swing the @#$%^&%*#$# thing!)

2) The three girls don't hesitate to disrobe, no matter how awkward and superfluous the love scenes may be.

3) The killer is seemingly capable of supernatural strength and agility. Homeboy repeatedly throws CGI railroad spikes into people's backs.

4) Victims are dispatched in semi-creative methods: axe to the chest, railroad spike to the solar plexus, etc.

5) The ending is ambiguous.

The small gimmick that adds some juice to the proceedings is the ghost story, which is teased from the beginning and prompts the only use of the visual effects (in the form of a few shots of a phantom bride). These elements aren't terrible, though the payoff isn't super-compelling.

The DVD is bare-bones. Video quality (1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen) is solid, though the colors are soft and the 5.1 digital surround is active enough. Trailers are it for extras.

Closing Statement

There's at least a modicum of ambition swimming in the ho-hum -- but it's not enough.

The Verdict

Spiker? Bump it.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 85
Extras: 0
Acting: 75
Story: 65
Judgment: 68

Perp Profile
Studio: MTI
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* Spanish

Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1038902/combined