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Review: Luciana Faulhaber’s “Don’t Look”

We can’t head into warmer weather without a good slasher film, and Wild Eye Releasing has that covered with the May 14th digital and DVD debut of director Luciana Faulhaber’s Don’t Look. Luciana takes a predictable slasher story-line and delivers a retro, gory, fun, kind of romp in the woods…and I actually enjoyed my viewing of her new movie. Written by Jessica Boucher and Danielle Killay, Don’t Look follows a small group of friends from New York City traveling to the countryside for a Thanksgiving Weekend adventure in a secluded house. Only one of the members of the circle left out the part when the house became the scene of an unexplained murder. Now, terror comes knocking at the door again when a masked serial killer starts knocking off the friends one by one. Produced by Luciana Faulhaber, Javier E. Gomez and Lindsay Eshelman, Don’t Look stars Faulhaber, Eshelman, Gomez, Jeff Berg, Curtis K. Case, Hailey Heisick, Jarrod Robins and Daniel Pappas. Look for it on home media next week courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing!

Shot by Enuff Productions and featuring cinematography by Sebastian Nieves and editing by Daniel Shaw, Don’t Look suffers from a rough opening scene where I thought, “oh, crap. this isn’t going to be good.” Luckily, as soon as the film fast-forwards to present day, all of the problems from the opening are remedied and Don’t Look becomes a rather high quality production. I was then instantly struck by how good the picture quality is and how perfect the audio sounds, followed by recognizing that the actors in this flick delivered awesome performances that blew away my expectations. Since production value and performance are such important pieces of a movie puzzle, Don’t Look was able to step above typical slasher film pitfalls to become a movie I could recommend to genre friends looking for a slightly more independent title. Now, I could get picky with some things, because Don’t Look isn’t perfect. There’s a rough edit near the end, an underwhelming performance during a vital suspense scene, and sex inside a pig skin meat locker shouldn’t be considered erotic. But, hey, all things considered, Don’t Look delivers on the goods.

It’s also worth pointing out that Don’t Look is almost a completely female-driven horror film. It was written, directed, and produced by women (minus Gomez), and the two lead characters are women. That’s not the reason I’m giving this movie a passing score, especially in a time when we’re really championing women behind the camera. I’m passing this movie because it was marginally enjoyable, even though I had to wait until the 33 minute mark for the first big death scene. A lot of time was spent fleshing out the characters and developing them, to the point where Luciana and the gang could have taken the film in any direction and subgenre that they wanted. And, again, since the acting was so good, I didn’t mind waiting for the suspense to be replaced by blood and terror. Because when the shit hits the fan, it does! Nudity, a few chase scenes and buckets of blood and gore accentuate a movie that does the slasher genre proud. And the special effects looked great! The CGI not so much…

A “what could go wrong” scenario set in a beautiful house with awesome production quality and stand point performances from the cast, Don’t Look is a slasher flick that’s deserving of at least one go-around. It’s somewhere above good but someplace below great. Give it a shot. Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)