Director(s) – Neil Chase and David Heacock (Boneyard Racers, Babageddon)
Starring – Dianne Wulf (The Legend of Mindi, Smile: It’s Only the End of the World), Neil Chase (Broken, The Academy), and S-Raj Kumar (Gone by Dawn, Dookie Squad)
Release Date – 2023
Rating – 4/5
I get asked to review horror from all walks of life. These range from amateur backyard flicks from teenagers with their phones or a parent’s camera to full time filmmakers with a modest (among indie standards) budgets. I love seeing and reviewing the wide range of films sent my way. Occasionally I get a film that’s not really horror but has some genre inspired elements that makes it right at home at Horror Society.
A few weeks ago I was asked to review the feature length dark thriller Spin the Wheel. This was not a horror film in a traditional sense but it did have some horror inspired aspects that peaked my interested. I agreed to check it out and when I could finally work it into my schedule I did. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed this one.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group of random strangers from various walks of life who assemble in a small bar as the world outside is burning. The world is expected to fully be engulfed in fire within the next hour so some have decided to spend their last moments alive drinking. With drinks in hand they are enticed to play a game by an enigmatic stranger who tries to convince them all that he is the devil. Everyone agrees to the game and after multiple rounds of Russian roulette they discover he may be who he says he is and the world could be up for grabs. **Spoiler Alert**
A year or so ago I reviewed the short Boneyard Racers and was really Impressed by the film. The production quality, story, and acting were all top notch. The team involved really had something special on their hands and could have turned it into an effective feature. When Neil Chase hit me up to review a feature film he wrote and directed I knew it was going to be just as amazing and I was right. Spin the Wheel was fantastic. It’s a dark thriller with fantasy and horror elements that works surprisingly well.
The acting in this one is fucking great. EVERYONE carries their own weight in this one. Some characters are a little more enjoyable than others but that’s the writing at play instead of the acting. This is perfect casting and everyone does a phenomenal job. The story for this one has a slow build up but the dialogue and character interaction is very well written. The backdrop of the film is a great way to bring everyone into the bar and have them play the game but I would have loved more backstory about the apocalyptic event along with less news broadcasts. The movie is great as is but I feel like a great opportunity was missed with this.
Finally, the film doesn’t really have a lot of blood and gore. It’s a character driven piece but there is a death or two that take place off screen giving the viewer use of their imaginations. Overall, Spin the Wheel is one of the more polished films I’ve reviewed in recent years with a solid story and one hell of a cast. It’s not a true horror film but those of you looking for a fun thriller will really appreciate this one. I highly recommend it.