Director: Griff Furst
Cast: Nikki Deloach, Stephen Colletti, Terry Kiser, Michael Berryman, Treat Williams
In a well meaning gesture, Evan purchases a grand 19th century plantation home for his girlfriend. At first, she is taken aback and none too happy, as neither of them have even finished college. However, Evan assures her that it will be good for them; they will be able to fix it up, flip it, and make some extra cash. Unfortunately, little do either of them know the terrible past of the house and an innocent action during a weekend visit from a few college friends resurrects a blood thirsty killer who has a fetish for a freshly sharpened ax.
Sleek with high production values and competent direction, Mask Maker has a familiar premise that certainly borrows elements from some of the genre classics, most notably Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, the film's pacing unfortunately does not match the ferocity of either of these films and much too much time is spent on the exposition and rising action. Characters wander around their new house and grounds for what seems like an eternity without much happening. And just when it seems like the action is about to pick up, instead the characters go into town to visit the creepy, yet wise shopkeeper (genre veteran Michael Berryman). Even when the couple's friends show up to party for the weekend and unknowingly release the "Mask Maker" from his slumber, the action still takes some time to kick in. The only thing that keeps these parts of the film from becoming outlandishly tedious is the chemistry between the young cast, particularly Deloach and Colletti, who are both utterly charming and extremely likable in their roles. Luckily, the last third of the film kicks into high gear and truly elevates itself among many recent slasher films. The Mask Maker is, to put it bluntly, a kick ass brutal killing machine. His penchant for removing his victim's faces and wearing them will, as mentioned, ring all too familiar, but is creepy and effective nonetheless. There is some nice tension created as the friends are stalked by the killer and major props has to be given for the refreshing, albeit depressing, ending that was surprisingly dark considering how much time was spent developing the two main characters.
Ultimately, Mask Maker is a fierce, no holds barred film that takes a tad too long to reveal this fierceness to the viewer. But if one sticks with the film until the final third, they will be rewarded with an above average, gore soaked killfest that certainly is not the most original concept ever captured to film, but is entertaining nonetheless.
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