I finally had the opportunity to see my daughter’s hard work on the big screen (and of course the hard work of many, many others). This is as unbiased a review as I can manage. Here my daughter is applying makeup to a cast member while her loving husband looks on.
“When a motley group of college freshmen choose bizarre Tyler Rooney as the new target for their juvenile pranks, Tyler calls upon hoodoo-cursed Mister White to exact a violent and bloody revenge.”
First off, I cannot believe that this movie was made for a mere $5,000. Admittedly it helps when one person is not just the writer and director but also producer, editor, cinematographer, sound mixer, and special effects artist. Erica Summers manages to do all of that and still avoid many of the pitfalls of microbudgeting. The opening titles, like the rest of the movie, show a mastery of pacing. The music and sound effects were sparingly used and very effective.
Mister White takes a hoary horror trope – a group of attractive twenty-somethings make a terrible mistake and are hunted down for it – and puts a fresh spin on it. Erica firmly and deftly incorporates the currently trendy topic of bullying throughout the film and one particular peer pressure scene was rather difficult to watch, due to its authenticity.
Plotting is intricate with many fascinating reveals along the way. Erica did a fantastic job of knowing exactly when to reveal the titular Mister White. We get a sense of his presence early on as Tyler talks to himself but we don’t get our first good look until we reach the asylum and even then he is kept in the background. Mister White continues to be teased in dribs and drabs, lurking around corners and in the distance until the killing starts.
Acting is generally good if a little uneven. The leads are in good hands. Andy Salgado’s tiny frame, delicate features, and odd mannerisms mark his Tyler Rooney for bullying almost immediately. The beautiful Amber Watson shows a good bit of range as our confused, sensitive protagonist who seems prone to making bad but believable choices, Summer Mills.The other young people have no favors done to them by having to play vile, vapid characters but acquit themselves well. One of the young gentleman appears to have been hired for his very serious six-pack.
Carl Summers and the prosthetics make for quite a menacing Mister White. I love knowing how some of the shots were done from my one day on set. Still my favorite performance has to be that of John Salamone, seen in flashbacks as the evil Benjamin White. He was really scary without any of the prosthetics. The death scenes are carefully managed, with some seriously good special effects.
I really enjoyed Mister White and thought it was a quite well done low-budget movie. Honestly, I was blown away by how much Erica was able to accomplish on that budget. My only nitpick was that I didn’t feel that there was enough done with the chess motif featured in the film and some of the posters. It felt like there was perhaps a scene cut somewhere and it seemed to undercut the strength of a later scene.
Look for Mister White at a horror festival near you or better still support Erica and my daughter by purchasing a copy of the DVD here. Honestly I’ll stop shilling now though I intend to review Erica’s earlier film, Loverboy sometime next week.