The Last Showing (2014)
Written & Directed by Phil Hawkins
Those familiar with the Horror genre (and most not) surly know the name Robert England. Or rather his alias, Freddy Krueger. Over the last three decades Robert has been a staple in the horror genre, maintaining the same aura that Vincent Price once held over his audience. No matter the amount of scary flicks you catch them in (despite the context) the one things that sticks out is how mesmerizing they are capable of being. Completely giving whichever role their all and always sure to entertain. For a man far deserving of any success obtained throughout his life, I’m glad I can say first hand how gracious and giving as a person he is. With so many films (in general) able to get under the radar, it was in passing that he stated how particularly proud he was of this film that made it stand out for myself.
The story revolves around Stuart, a proud projectionist who’d been fired recently due to the refusal of taking a necessary training course. Something he felt was quite unnecessary in that he didn’t need explanation on how to ‘push a button.’ Distressed at the further thought of film going digital and the lack of respect for ratio that went into displaying the film. He’s ultimately downsized to shoveling popcorn for any future ‘eager’ movie goers; deciding to take matters into his hands by aspiring to create a movie on par with his own standards. Coercing the Manager Clive (Malachi Kirby) to let him stay for the midnight movie as the chosen couple Martin (Finn Jones) and Allie (Emily Berrington) soon find themselves at the mercy of one mans good old-fashioned revenge.
Beginning the night by rearranging the cameras to his favor, Stuart slipped a sedative into Allie’s drink before they made their way to the empty theater. Giving Clive a similar treatment though cast aside for a later time which allowed for other strategies to carry through. As Allie felt light-headed and ran off to the bathroom, Martin was left to wonder how but more importantly why the theater began closing down around him. Stuart speaking to him via the multiple screens used throughout a typical cinema, making clear that there wouldn’t be a choice in his participating in the matter. He had put entirely too much thought into the next several hours and had great expectations. All the while following pre-written note cards having laid out for himself, crossing off each one as they unfolded.
Though we briefly catch up with Clive, he’s choked out with a reel of film before released so he can run into Martin. Arguing as to his involvement in the nights events, they scuffle and the one bullet accounted for is used. Handing over any chance of coming out the victor with necessary proof to pit Martin as the villain. Told to take the man’s cash before he’s able to locate Allie, she’s quickly convinced that her boyfriend is the one behind these unexplained events. The complete lack of trust hopefully due to being a semi-new relationship. But Stuart comes back into play as he announces over the intercom that Police were on the way and he’d witnessed what was done to Allie. Instantly gaining her trust, yet swooping in to save her and play more cat and mouse games. He instructs her to phone the Police while showing the playback of Clive’s death just before the power is cut to the entire building. Arranging matters so that the ‘ending’ took place on the roof, its Martin’s inability to keep his composure that allows Stuart to finish his film the way he saw fit.
England naturally dominated the role, evenly displaying the meek and naive persona that allowed himself to be overlooked yet also the cunning puppet master in control at every turn. Despite being relatively new to acting, both Emily Berrington and Finn Jones did amicable jobs of entertaining accordingly. Though the lack of actual information provided for them as a couple made me more inclined to root for Stuart. Yet it also felt like the Director and Cinematographer were really able to come forth and play with the shadows/hues of blue tones throughout; red and green to also compliment at times. In the scene where Martin and Clive fight, Ludwig van Beethoven’s sonata no. 14 (Allie’s ringtone) narrates in a most beautiful way. Because it doesn’t try to be loud and in your face. You’re following these people through what will be the most confusing night for them, seemingly indefinitely. We even hear a speech (or two) on the lack of originality in Horror films as of late. So it was nice to see these people put in a position where the antagonist come out the victor and at that, a possibility left for a sequel. Hinting at framing Officer Collins (Keith Allen), who had noticed the slight smile on the roof right before shots were fired. Finding a single piece of evidence that indicates something out of the norm had gone on that night. With Stuart’s finished product playing alongside the credits and you’re simply left wanting more.