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The Chauffeur

Director Bennie Woodell and the Johnsons

Review: The Chauffeur. By Brian Kirst

This ambitious project, written and directed by Bennie Woodell and based on a story by Jerry Johnson and Kevin Burris, is part 80’s slasher film, psychological drama and twisted detective story. The screenplay (about a vengeful and abused former orphan’s limb tearing quest for his long lost sister) is actually full of subtlety and ghostly significance –making the project’s main failing its awkward performances and unrealistically stupid victim characters.

Still, Woodell and Johnson (along with producer wife Christa) show plenty of promise with this initial film (especially with their seeming untapped horror protagonist) and it should be interesting to watch their evolution as artists. Most importantly, the last act of this horror mood piece completely delivers with bloody deaths, intense action and a surprise ending as effective as any of the drive-in films that are now considered classics. Indeed, Amanda Broniec’s hysterical, bludgeoned reactions as Michelle should win her a permanent place in the horror queen hall of fame.

For horror film enthusiasts, there is also an effective appearance from upcoming genre favorite Jerod Howard (the lead in the popular psychological horror flick October Moon) and the sincere hope that Woodell’s next project will fully expand upon his already obvious talents.