Film Reviews:

The Club

(Brenton Spencer, US, 1993)

Five high school students are forced to face their innermost fears when a chain of bizarre events turns their prom night celebrations into a living hell. Unknown to them, time stands still and they find themselves inexplicably sucked towards a nightmare world where nothing it what it seems. At the mercy of their darkest fears and emotions the terrible turth begins to dawn - one of them is no stranger to this horrifying place and holds the key to their salvation or self-destruction. To become a member of 'The Club' will cost them their souls.

This mild horror, shot through with a large dose of comedy, is a modern variation on the old haunted house picture. The school prom night that forms the opening to the film is not held at a modern high school but at a huge, old, dark house - far more convinient for the creepy goings-on to follow. Director Brenton Spencer makes uncommon use of cross cutting to give the murders scenes a different touch, often turning away before becoming too graphic, and a large helping of slow motion seems thrown in to add a classy feel. Joel Wyner as John, one of the Devil's acolytes - a cross between Freddy Krueger and Betelgeuse - gets all the best lines and hams it up with gusto in the final 30 minutes. The central idea of demons stopping time (just for kicks) to make people face their individual fears, killing them if they cannot, is a cunning concept. All manner of special effects crop up - morphing faces and statues, physical, prosthetics, opticals, makeup, masks and bodysuits - although often seen only briefly are suitably effective. An okay time passer but look out for Joel Wyner again - he shows promise.

Rob Dyer