DVD Review – Twelve (XII)

Leonard Karlsson, convicted for an unspecified crime against a minor is released on parole after five years. Horribly facially disfigured by other inmates whilst in prison, he seeks revenge on the 12 jurors who convicted him.

Michael Nickels’ film is a fairly standard horror flick, that while not reinventing the wheel, does come up with flashes of invention within a tried and tested formula.

The opening credits deal with both Karlsson’s crime, conviction and the attack on his person. Glitchy, stylistic, it never specifies exactly what he was accused of, or even if he was guilty. A character later refers to him as a “baby fucker”, but none of the jurors ever discuss the case.

It’s a canny decision, preventing unneccesary exposition and allowing the action to flow at a reasonable pace. Similarly Nickles’ manages to confound our expectations about the longevity of characters, in true horror movie mode anyone can die at any time. If in the end it falls into the final girl trope, this is no bad thing, as it’s well executed.

The killer Leonard Karlsson played by Jeremy Fitzgerald is something of a cypher; we never see all of his mutilated face, hidden as it is by a plastic mask. He does however appear to be missing most of his nose and has had his lips cut off, making him look not unlike Kroenen from Hellboy if I’m honest. Futhermore we never hear him speak, only mutter indistinctly, which means he does not engage with his victims in any way. His lack of dialogue and relentless manner makes him an effective bogeyman. Fiztgerald, handsome in real life is also given a quick cameo in one of the bar scenes, presumably to soften the blow of hours of make up and no real acting required.

Emily Hardy as Claire (brunette, “good”) and Mercedes McNab (blonde, “good time”) are an effective double bill through the film. McNab, most recently seen in Hatchet 2 may well be our newest Scream Queen, and while this role hardly stretches her, she’s always fun to watch. Hardy, last seen in The Good Wives Club, is effctive, if a little whiney, but then McNab gets all the good lines which hardly seems fair.

Nickels’ takes an interesting angle on shooting the violence. After the first death (a shotgone to the head at point blank range, so sudden I laughed out loud), he makes a concious decision not to show too much for the most part, focusing instead on suggesting and aural cues. It may have been one born from financial constraints and gore hound fans may feel a little cheated.

However, towards the denouement we are shown more explicitly how peels the faces off his victims, while they are still alive, which should placate the baying crowd.

Ultimately it’s a competent little flick, which requires little of the audience other than to sit back and enjoy. Although not overly scary, it takes some interesting and unexpected plot turns, and while a purchase may be for horror completists only, a LoveFilm rental is definitely advised.

Warning, the trailer is inconsistent with the film on a couple of points.

Twelve is released by Chelsea Films on September 27th


~ by moviegrrlreviews on September 13, 2010.

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