Review: “Plank Face”





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Posted September 23, 2016 by

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The folks at Bandit Motion Pictures are doing something very important. Folks like Scott Schirmer and Brian Williams, who are having a banner year in 2016 with the release of both “Harvest Lake” (Review here) and now “Plank Face”. They are helping the heart of indie horror by redefining it, by pushing its boundaries, and by making films that are so far outside the box they aren’t even aware there is a box. With each film, they seem to be gaining not only experience, but the courage to make movies that contain anything and everything that resides in their sick, depraved, warped, brilliant minds.

With the aid of talented individuals like Ellie Church, Jason Hignite, and David Pruett, Bandit has put its stamp on the indie horror world. They are creating exactly what that world needs… quality horror films that have no fear and show no mercy. Schirmer and Williams both have bloody, bright futures ahead of them, and “Plank Face” is a perfect example of why.

Max (Barrett) and his girlfriend Stacey (Church) travel deep into the woods, for a romantic camping trip. While gathering fire wood, Max is attacked and rendered unconscious. Waking to find Stacey being raped, by his attacker, Max takes swift and painful revenge. Unfortunately, the rapist wasn’t the only thing lurking in the woods and Max only gets to enjoy slicing his throat, for a brief second, before being knocked out again.

plank-face-2When he regains consciousness, for a second time, he finds that he has been taken hostage by a wood-dwelling, feral family. It just so happens that the three women (Martin, Macaulay, and Winkler) have recently lost their alpha male, and have chosen Max to be their new pack leader. Through various torture methods, both painful and sexual, they slowly strip him of his humanity, in an attempt to make him part of their cannibalistic tribe. The sex and violence are definitely present, but Schirmer and Williams make the focus on the feral lives these women are living and the fragility of the human psyche.

“Plank Face” will not be everybody’s cup o’ tea, and something tells me Schirmer and Williams are just fine with that. They know who their audience is, and they know how craft something that will appeal endlessly to that audience. I don’t know quite how to describe it, other than to say it is violent, sexual, exploitative, art house horror. It is what happens when you take the extreme and repulsive, and make it beautiful and profound. The film showcases the talents of its cast, who you can tell didn’t just dive into their roles head first, but dove in, splashed around and happily put themselves at the mercy of their director. Without the use of any dialogue, except for grunts, laughing, and a few unintelligible words the actors instead use body language and facial expressions to coney what they are feeling, and they all do an incredible job. Add in the great score and cinematography from Williams, and the bad ass costume design from Ellie Church and James Dunn, and what you are left with is an impressive accomplishment in independent film making. As long as Schirmer, Williams, and company keep refusing to adhere to boundaries, and continue to go to wherever their sick imaginations take them, this will only be the beginning for Bandit. As a fan of films that take those kind of risks, I cannot wait to see what they do next!




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