1 Must Fall



Main Cast: Julie Streble, Barry Piacente

Director: Antonio Pantjoa

Okay, so that was a thing, I guess.  1 MUST FALL.  Yep.  It happened.

Let’s see what we can say about this movie.  Written and directed by Antonio Pantoja (who also wrote and directed HAND COVERS BRUISE, a title that has been bugging me for two days now, until I just realized I haven’t seen that movie, it’s the name of a song on the SOCIAL NETWORK soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), 1 MUST FALL is the story of Sarah.  Recently fired from a sales job, she and her best friend Alton take jobs on a crime scene cleanup crew when they’re called in to clean up after an unknown serial killer’s latest spree in an abandoned building in Louisville, Kentucky.

Unbeknownst to Sarah and the crew, though, the killer is still on site.  And he’s one of those opportunistic killers who sees a new group as a chance to do more killing.

In the right hands, this isn’t a bad idea.  I mean, think of it.  A cleanup crew goes into the Myers house in Haddonfield to clean up after Michael’s latest tirade only to find he’s still there.  I’d watch that movie (I sort of did with HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION) or the cleanup crew at Camp Crystal Lake discovers Jason is still hiding at the camp as he tears through them.

Totally a workable idea.

Antonio Pantoja’s hands are not the right hands.  By this point in his career, Pantoja had done 4 shorts and one video, 1 MUST FALL is his first full-length film.  This is an ambitious idea.  I know slasher film in a single location sounds like a cake walk, but I’ve just watched this movie and if the end result is any indication, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.  Maybe start with something a little simpler for your first full-length movie.  How about set it in a convenience store and just chronicle the life of two clerks as they bemoan their jobs and ridicule the customers one by one as they come in for smokes or a carton of milk.  Trust me, I’ve seen that one, too, and it’s a much more manageable first outing.

And the more I think about it, the more I’m a little offended by this movie, as a horror fan.  There’s a tension that has to be built in a horror movie, especially in a slasher film. The tension here is different than one found in, say, a haunted house movie, where every stray sound COULD be malicious.  In a slasher film your evil is flesh and blood, mortal and fallible.  He can be killed just as easily as one of the nameless victims.  So not only does the director have to construct this aura about the killer, a la Michael Myers watching from the bushes, or Mrs. Vorhees hiding under the bed, arrow at the ready, the writing HAS to be up to par.

Anyone can give their killer a superiority complex, complete with a monologue on the futility of life, but can they make their killer a psychopath, one of those people who can talk a good game, but who, at the end of the day, you just don’t know what he’s capable of.  The killer in this movie, who is never known by anything other than “the killer”, takes the time to construct what he calls a “torture chair”.  We’re never given a really good look at it, so I don’t know if it’s up to par with the efforts of one John Kramer, but there IS a rope on a winch that he uses to somehow kill a man by cutting into his throat.  Not sure if a ROPE would have the strength to do what happened to this guy, maybe use a wire next time, but whatever, suffice it to say we only see the torture chair in use once, so if The Killer had big plans for it, if this was to be his ultimate calling card, it’s a pretty weak attempt, I must say.

And no one cares, because this Killer is a nobody.  His only moment to shine is when he tells one character he’s keeping him alive on the off chance God comes to save the man, who has been praying relentlessly for, we’re told, days, for that very thing to happen.  When it doesn’t, we get to listen to The Killer (played by Barry Piacente, The Outsider) go on about how, in this kill room, HE is God and before he’s even finished the sentence, I’m dozing off.  Seriously, I had to watch the last 20 minutes of 1 MUST FALL again this morning because it just was not holding my attention last night as I tried to get through it the first time.

Oh, so you’re God here.  Okay.  YAAAWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNN, wake me up when you have an original idea or line of dialogue.

At one point he tells another would-be victim about seeing a beautiful woman when he was younger and wondering what her insides look like.  That sounds like a line I would have written … when I was 18 and first started writing.

See, the lines here that are supposed to be intimidating and violent but they’re just tired rehashes of other mediocre slasher fare, and like Madeline Wuntch says when she sees deodorant, I’m not buying it.

A movie like this lives or dies by its killer and The Killer in this movie … God, save me.  Not from the very very intimidating man coming toward me with the bad accent and the leather apron, save me from the torture of having to listen to him talk some more.  Shut the hell up and kill someone already.

Don’t get me wrong, 1 MUST FALL is made for gorehounds, there’s blood aplenty.  It’s everything else I didn’t like.

Look at this, I’m almost 1000 words in and haven’t given a single other character name, nor even mentioned Sarah, our final girl, since the opening.

1 MUST FALL is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it’s not the worst-MADE movie I’ve seen.  It’s not even the worst-acted or worst-written movie I’ve seen.  But when I set aside one night a week to watch a movie with my woman so I can review it the next morning, I’d like it to at the very least NOT put me to sleep…

To all the would-be filmmakers out there thinking they can cut their teeth on a stupid slasher movie because they’re dumb and simple and no one cares, watch this movie and study what they did wrong (a LOT!) then go back to the drawing board and for the love of our Holy Lord John Carpenter, make a better movie.

Holy crap, I just checked the IMDB page and this movie is described as a “horror comedy”.  This was supposed to be funny, too?  Man, that dude just got it wrong on ALL sides, didn’t he? You can stream 1 MUST FALL for free (with ads) on VUDU, but why would you?

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