Twelve the movie on DVD

Sunday, 26 September 2010 17:39

“Twelve” is a short and sweet slasher film with a typical horror premise. Despicable paedophile Leonard Karlsson (stuntman Jeremy Fitzgerald) is convicted by a unanimous jury and sentenced to an eight year stretch. Soon after arriving in prison, he is brutally attacked by other inmates and left terribly disfigured. On his early release five years later, hell-bent on revenge he vows to track down and murder all twelve jurors.

Most of the jurors inhabit the same remote Arizona desert town, which makes Karlsson’s job pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, it takes FBI Special Agent Naughton (Steven Brand – Mistresses) and sleepy local Deputy Kent (Nick Searcy – Justified) quite a while to piece the glaringly obvious evidence together, and by that time Karlsson has already crossed-off half his list of victims!

Twelve - the movie comes to DVDThe rest of the cast are your regular small-town nobodies, including cute diner waitresses Vicki (Mercedes McNab – Buffy The Vampire Slayer, “Hatchet” 1 and 2) and Claire (Emily Hardy - NCIS), Claire’s slacker ex-boyfriend Shane (Josh Nuncio – I <3 Vampires) and pole-dancing club manager Harry (Joe Nunez – “Seven Pounds”, “Superbad”). Thanks to some reasonable acting and believable characterisation, most of the protagonists are likable or, failing that, plain inoffensive. This means that when Karlsson comes knocking, you genuinely care a little about what happens to them.

The pacing of the movie is a little off-kilter, in that it is quite slow for the first fifty minutes before rapidly building to a crescendo. On the plus side, there are a number of sudden, shock deaths that catch you off guard, and you soon realise that nobody is safe from the killer’s single-minded death-spree.  It does also mean that writer/director Michael A. Nickles (previously an actor in such gems as “Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare”) can give his cast time to fill out their characters.

The final third of the movie features some extremely gruesome death scenes, and the revelation of what Karlsson is doing to his victims is supremely nasty. Suffice to say that similarities to “Jeepers Creepers” are strong! The gory visual effects are fantastic and all the more effective for being restricted to a small portion of the movie, rather than numbing the audience through over-exposure.

I am undecided on the character of Karlsson. On the plus side, Fitzgerald imbues him with a bulky, steamroller-like quality that makes him feel unstoppable. He makes barely a sound other than the odd grunt or heavy breath, and quietly gets on with his horrendous task. The aforementioned comparison to “Jeepers Creepers” and indeed Spielberg’s “Duel” is also brought to mind through his use of a large flatbed truck that charges up and down the dusty Arizona roads, terrorising his victims.

On the down side, it might have served the film better to let us get inside his head a little, and witness the build-up to his attack in prison, or perhaps show part of the trial. As it is, the plot is established at break-neck speed during the brief opening credits so we never get to know the person behind the mask. The rampage is underway and the killer is really just another faceless monstrosity à la Leatherface.

The DVD features a few short special features including an eight-minute making of, an impressive 80-second clip showing all of the effects elements or layers that went into one of the stand-out death scenes, a make-up gallery, a trailer and an entertaining audio commentary.

I would definitely recommend that horror fans add this movie to their rental lists for Friday or Saturday nights in with their mates. It does not require much concentration but delivers decent scares despite its meagre budget.

“Twelve” (2008) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Chelsea Films. The running time of the main feature is 78 minutes approx, certificate ‘18’ and the movie retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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