Review: Anthology WORST LAID PLANS

From Genre Blast Films, horror anthology WORST LAID PLANS is about to make waves while screening at Ocean City Film Festival this weekend. Already a festival award winner and based on the bestselling novel from Grindhouse Press, WORST LAID PLANS is comprised of three tales of terror that all share the theme of vacations gone horrifically wrong. Just when you think it’s safe to unwind with some beers – and a walk through an underground cave system – that’s exactly the time when you’re most vulnerable! Perhaps no one knows this better than the film’s starring talent: Morgan McLeod, Brian Ashton Smith, Malcolm Mills, Christopher Trindade, Maximilian Koger, Marissa Gatsios, Jennifer Trudrung, Greg Harpold, Emi Curia and Nick Karner.

Let’s take a quick look at the three segments that make up WORST LAID PLANS. “Deep in the Heart,” from director John Hale based on the short story by Waylon Jordan, finds a family of three taking a tour through a winding cave that’s hiding a grotesque, natural adaptation. “You’ve Been Saved,” from director Christopher G. Moore based on the short story by S.E. Howard, finds two recently reunited friends on a road trip that teaches them we all wear masks to hide our most ghastly truths. “Taylor Family Vacation ’93,” from director Jeremy Herbert based on his own short story, is a nostalgic, 90’s stalker incident that feels like it could have happened in real life. WORST LAID PLANS, as an anthology film, marks all three of these noteworthy directors’ feature length debut.

Now, I thought I was going to enjoy “You’ve Been Saved” the best because Christopher G. Moore is my brother from another mother, but it turns out that my favorite segment was “Deep in the Heart.” A similar theme is shared between both pieces, male abuse, but I’m a sucker for practical effects monsters. “Deep in the Heart” was just an onion of a film/story, with so many different layers to peel through. An unhappy family, a closeted (and very attractive) gay youth, gun violence, domestic violence – so many pivotal culture/political themes plaguing our nation were addressed so smoothly in this segment. And the location alone is absolutely award winning. Like, seriously, where and how did they book such a breathtaking scene? “Deep in the Heart” could easily be plucked from WORST LAID PLANS and adapted into its own full-length movie.

That’s not to say that “You’ve Been Saved” and “Taylor Family Vacation ’93” are weak in comparison. They both stand on their own as worthy award-winning contenders. “You’ve Been Saved” showed how methodical serial killers can be in their approach – it’s not always brainless Jason’s chasing you through the woods. “Taylor Family Vacation ’93” brought the gritty wit and psychological nudging that took me back to a time that I was barely alive for. The acting, directing, cinematography and special effects remained constant and so successful throughout my entire viewing. Just because a film is independent doesn’t mean it’s necessarily low budget. As a whole, WORST LAID PLANS holds a lot of merit in terms of production value, and shines a light on independent filmmakers and why they should be taken more seriously by Hollywood executives. No complaints here in regard to the cast or crew!

Proof that evil lurks in the light, WORST LAID PLANS is the best horror anthology I’ve seen in recent memory. Crazy, creepy and concise, I have no doubts that it’s going to land a distribution deal somewhere. Much better than I was expecting it to be and a ‘must see’ addition to your summer viewing schedule.

Look for WORST LAID PLANS next at AtomaCon Film Festival in May 2023!

Final Score: 8 out of 10.

Michael DeFellipo

(Senior Editor)

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