Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Nick Simon
Cast: Kal Penn, Claudia Lee, Kenny Wormald
The Girl in the Photographs is a rather interesting film. On one hand it’s very much a safe slasher film, on the other it’s an interesting blend of home invasion, slasher and dark comedy. The comedy isn’t too heavily pronounced, and the bulk comes from Kal Penn’s character, Peter Hemmings, so don’t look into Wes Craven’s final credit (as producer) anticipating some hilarious content. Don’t look for any particularly complex thoughts transferred to film, either. What The Girl in the Photographs is, is a solid, sometimes creepy little film that impresses more often than not.
Without spoiling the film with too many details, we’ll say that the picture essentially pits a small town girl and her new, strange friends against a dangerous duo with an affinity for creepy masks, photography and savage murder. We don’t see said encounter immediately, as director Nick Simon gradually guides us toward the lengthy show down, taking plenty of time to introduce and really explore key players Peter and Colleen (played by the spunky Claudia Lee). It’s Simon’s pacing that leaves the film feeling noticeably different than the majority of sub-genre films.
We see some very inspired efforts from the onscreen cast. The shiners are Kall Penn, who juggles a narcissistic attitude with the thought process of a profound thinker. Claudia Lee is a strong but sometimes vulnerable final girl and Toby Hemingway – despite having a relatively small part in the flick – delivers with conviction. Outside of a few of the movie’s relatively green performers, the thespian front is covered with some enjoyable personalities.
There are a few vocal exchanges that come across as hokey and unbelievable, but outside of those few moments, the picture as a whole is enjoyable. Penn does a bang up job and genre fans will likely remember Lee’s rendition of the final girl. Luke Baines also shows some promise. The villains are menacing enough, and their tendency to linger in awkward places makes for more than a single uncomfortable shot. We get all sorts of awesome gore, and a few buckets of blood to quench the thirst of the blood thirsty fans out there, and the finale is more than serviceable, though we’re left with one major question mark. Again, we won’t speak on that question mark in order to ensure we don’t kill the story before you’ve got a chance to check it out.
The Girl in the Photographs isn’t a perfect film, but it’s strong enough to believe that Wes Craven – should he have had the chance to see the film – would likely beam with pride. This is a fine addition to the genre and a pic worth owning.