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Featured DVD Review: Cornered

May 25th, 2010

Cornered - Buy from Amazon

Cornered is a direct-to-DVD slasher and that's enough for a lot of people to have their expectations lowered. Obviously lowered expectations can help a film, as long as you go into the movie hoping to be pleasantly surprised and not with the intent to mocking it. (As a critic, in this situation I always go into a movie hoping to be pleasantly surprised.) So can this film stand out in a crowded field?

During the opening credits, we are presented with a series of security camera footage and clips from radio call-in shows where we learn there is a serial killer about, one that targets convenience stores killing the workers in increasing elaborate ways before stealing the security camera footage.

We are then introduced to a convenience store and the various people who work there. There's Steve, the boss, who is tough and spends an inordinate amount of time watching his employees on the security cameras and keeping track of the food they steal. There's his son, Jimmy, who just came back from "vacation". (The kind that leaves you with withdrawal symptoms.) There's Donny (Peter Story) who is kind of a pushover, but has a crush on Jesse (Elizabeth Nicole) who is a "working girl". There's Mona, who moonlights as a phone sex operator. And finally there's Morty, the deliveryman we meet when he helps Jesse deal with an unruly customer. The six of them begin discussing the convenience store killer and the half a million dollar reward the police have put up. Steve mentions that since the police never specified he had to be alive, "Dead or Alive" was implied. He starts talking about how he'd kill this guy if he was given a chance, and asks the rest of them how they'd would do it.

After the store closes for the day, Morty heads to his next delivery. They start up their weekly poker game, but the convenience store killer is hiding in the store and is going to bump them off one-by-one.

As I mentioned during my review of Daybreakers, it is nearly impossible for a vampire movie to be truly unique, but it doesn't take much to be 'unique enough'. The same can be said of slasher flicks. In this case, Cornered does have a few points in its favor. For instance, the characters are pretty well written and they are not just a series of horny teenagers who might as well be named Victim One, Victim Two, etc. Also, the callbacks in the kills helped (the killed dispatched each victim in the manner they described earlier in the movie) but for the most part the kills were not particularly inventive. They were not that gory either, but at least they were not sadistic either. Finally, the big twist is hardly surprising, as one of the cast members is a lot more famous than the rest, and given the way they are introduced and then fade from the story, you know there's more to the character than what is initially presented.

I only have a DVD-R screener, so I don't know if there are any extras on the DVD, but the distributor's site says there is a behind-the-scene featurette and image gallery. If I do get the full retail version, I will update this review with details.

The Verdict

Cornered is not a great movie, but it does enough with the slasher genre that fans will want to check it out. It's not inventive enough or gory enough to truly stand out, so the DVD is worth a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, Cornered