DARK PUNCH * USA 2018 Dir: Nadim Tebyanian. 84 mins
Clad in a white wife beater, sporting a goatee and long hair like a member of Hanson gone to seed, Joe Mayes portrays an unhinged drifter whose therapy sessions (with this year’s least convincing movie psychiatrist) frame the picture. While his shrink tries to understand what turns him on and why he became an unrepentant killer, Mayes mumbles through a drab voiceover about what a shit life he has: “I’m not a murderer, I’m a bastard”.
We’re guessing the royalties for “MMMBop” dried up some years earlier. For some reason, he has a penchant for murdering unattractive, sweaty middle-aged men – notably an over-extended encounter with a self-pitying schmuck in the woods. Amateur acting and low-impact scenes of violence characterise this failed attempt at a HENRY-style character study of a murderer. The devotion to capturing the minutiae of Mayes’ daily life simply means lots and lots of scenes of him driving, cleaning, patching up wounds and getting dressed in between bludgeoning stranded motorists. Its bid to convey the banality of a killer’s everyday life is simply…banal, and not helped by pointless stylistic touches like slo-mo and orange filters. Shooting in black and white doesn’t automatically make anything authentically gritty. A slog to sit through – you’ll find more true horror in that secret S Club DVD you keep hidden in a drawer for when the family are out.
Review by Steven West