Movie Review – The Faceless Man

TL;DR – A film with some good ideas that is unfortunately bogged down some truly frustrating elements    

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene

The Faceless Man. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.

Review

This is one of those films that is really difficult to review for a number of reasons. First I feel that I am far from the target audience also I am not an expert in Ozploitation sub-genre of horror films. However, while I might not be able to be as sophisticated in my critiques as usually, I’ll give it my best.

So to set the scene, we open in on Sophie (Sophie Thurling) as she sits in a hospital waiting for treatment for cancer. While she waits a man comes up to her, her father Harrison (Brendan Bacon) and it is clear from the first moment that their relationship is very estranged. Three-years-later and Sophie have beaten cancer enjoying a life of alcohol and drugs and living every moment. She, Kyle (Lucas Pittaway), Dave Eddison (Martin Astifo), Chad Blavinski (Sunny S. Walia), Brad Barns (Daniel Facciolo), and Nina Hancock (Lorin Kauffeld) head off into the countryside to Orange Lodge to have a quiet weekend only to find themselves in the crossroads of different warring parties.

The Faceless Man. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.
There are some interesting themes going on here that never quite coalesce. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.

Whether a horror film captures me or bores me can be distilled down to one element and that is the characters. Unless you have set it up in a kind of John Wick scenario where the film is barracking for the monster you have to care when people are put in danger or what is the point. Here is the first area where the film really didn’t work for me because I did not care at any point for a single character in this film. It was kind of like rooting for Jupiter to win in The Wandering Earth only I didn’t really care for Jupiter either. Instead of complex character that we care for the film is full of one-note caricatures like Gang Bang Guy, Date Rape Guy, Random Violence Guy, or Overly Aggressive Coffee Lady. All of this is compounded by dialogue that feels incredibly forced and unattached from reality.

If you can’t capture me with the characters, then the next thing you can do is focus on the theme and here we have more success, even if once again it falls flat. The film is exploring the lingering trauma of cancer and the threat of its recurrence and the impact that would have on someone. Add to this the role of drugs and how it can mess with our understanding of what is going on. However, while these are good ideas the film never quite integrates them into the work in a way that would have been meaningful. For example, exploring the role of drugs in rural communities and the damage they are doing.  

The Faceless Man. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.
There are some moments that show a real eye for composition, but the film needed more of that. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.

It feels like the film is more interested in the blood/gore effects and having homages to films like Hot Fuzz, Get Out, and that once scene from Deliverance that everyone knows about. There was this moment about two-thirds of the way through the film where I thought it was going to have a really interesting twist that would have contextualised it a bit more. None on this is helped by a musical score that is almost intrusive at times. I feel like I am being a bit too negative with this film, but it is more out of feeling like there were just a couple of missed opportunities that could have made this stand out but then for a first time feature director there are a lot of technical things here that are really well done.

In the end, do we recommend The Faceless Man? Unfortunately, no we do not. However, having a read around the place, we might be alone in this position. So if you like your horror films with a large quota of beheadings then this might be the one for you.          

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched The Faceless Man?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
 


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Faceless Man
Directed by
– James Di Martino
Written by – James Di Martino
Music by – Bart Walus
Cinematography by – Rhys Sherring
Edited by – Rhys Sherring
Production/Distribution Companies – Chapter 5 Studios
Starring
– Sophie Thurling, Lucas Pittaway, Andy McPhee, Roger Ward, Albert Goikhman, Brendan Bacon, Daniel Reader, Daniel Facciolo, Lorin Kauffeld, Martin Astifo, Sunny S. Walia, Damian Oehme, Dave Beamish, Tom Vogel & Dirk Faller
Rating – Australia: MA15+;

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