DIRECTOR: Mark Pavia
WRITER: Mark Pavia
Kelsey Leos Montoya
Lora Martinez- Cunningham
Hilary is a seventeen-year-old girl who is currently going through a breakup with her cheating ex-boyfriend. While out and about driving her mother's newly purchased car, she is rear-ended by another driver. After the two involved in the accident exchange information, Hilary starts to feel like she is being watched and stalked. While having friends over and her parents are away, the killer decides to finally strike.
Fender Bender initially caught my eye when I noticed the rather impressive and old school looking poster for the film. When it comes to horror cinema this year, I haven't seen all that many slashers. So I lapped up the chance to watch the movie and see if it was any good. While Fender Bender has a few inventive and bloody kills throughout the film, I think it still fell short when it comes to horror films that I've seen in 2016.
So the overall set up for Fender Bender is actually pretty impressive. Here we have a serial killer that will purposely crash his car into young women so that they will have to exchange their information with him which allows him to find out where they live and he can then later stalk and butcher them. I liked the way the movie handled the premise. It felt like a genuine way to get the killer into the victim's life. It was one of the main aspects of the story that I enjoyed.
For a slasher, the film is a rather slow burn. The movie opens with the obligatory first murder scene, so you know how the rest of the movie will play out. We get to see the killer in action, so you know he ain't messing around. But for the rest of the film, the killer doesn't strike until the third act. We have an hour and ten minutes of our final girl being stalked and looking over her shoulder, but there is not much else here.
Once we get into the third act of the film, Fender Bender doesn't skimp on the blood and gore. The movie gets rather nasty. While the death scenes aren't very extreme by comparison to other slashers, the film still delivers the required gut punches when it comes to seeing characters you start to like being stabbed to death and murdered. I felt like the dynamic of our main girl, and her mates was a lot better when compared to other generic slashers.
Our killer in Fender Bender is played by the excellent Bill Sage. Who some will know from his time working in indie fare and great directors like Hal Hartley, Mary Harron, Lisa Cholodenko, Gregg Araki and more. It's also not the first time that Bill Sage has played a character who is evil. While his masked killer is no Coach from the excellent Mysterious Skin, he still delivers a pretty villainous role with his car crashing killer. His costume is a cross between the Rubber Man from AHS Murder House and The Miner from My Bloody Valentine.
The rest of the cast is also pretty solid in their respective roles. The movie revolves around Makenzie Vega as Hilary, the killer's latest stalking victim. She is pretty good in her final girl part on an acting front. At times, I thought she looked like a younger Sarah Michelle Gellar. Dre Davis who I'm aware of from Pretty Little Liars is decent in her role, and lastly, Kelsey Leos Montoya who plays her gay best friend looks like he has the most fun with his performance.
When it comes to delivering on the thrills, I think Fender Bender does an alright job. The film wasn't scary by any means when it drops a few predictable jump scares that have been thrown in to liven up the slower first and second half of the story, but I did find the overall sense of dread to be well done. The film really ramps up the suspense in the third act when our killer starts to attack the group of friends. Overall, it's got enough suspense to make horror fans happy.
Lastly, It needs to be mentioned that the final girl in Fender Bender while appearing intelligent by getting the killers information after the accident. She seems to lose all smarts when she needs it to survive. The killer decides to take her picture while she's in the shower which clearly shows her that he's inside the house, she decides to get dressed and grab a baseball bat and not call the cops. Little character decisions like this throughout took me out of the movie. It became a big annoyance for me.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the back.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest and face.
- A woman is stabbed, pushed out a window and ran over by a car.
- Someone is stabbed in the throat.
- Someone is stabbed in the shoulder and beat with a tire iron.
- A person is set on fire.
- Someone is stabbed in the thighs and chest.
I found Fender Bender to be a pretty uneven slasher, sadly. I enjoyed the entire setup and premise, I thought that the killer's look was great and enjoyed the performances for the most part. For a slasher, though, the movie is dreadfully slow during the first and second act, and some of the character decisions drag the film down. The movie, however, has a few bloody and nasty kills which should keep most horror fans happy. The movie does have the honour of having an amazing bit of poster art and deserves to be seen just based on that alone.