By CHRIS HAMMOND
Movie Title: DON’T LOOK AWAY
Starring: Kelly Bastard, Michael Mitton, Colm Hill
Directed by: Michael Bafaro
Written by: Michael Bafaro, Michael Mitton
Distributor: CENTRAL CITY MEDIA (UK)
When DON’T LOOK AWAY was announced, there was a part of me hoping we would see Michael McDonald reprise his character from the Mad TV skit “Killer Mannequin”. For those who don’t know McDonald plays a serial killer that poses as a department store mannequin. He moves methodically and when detected anyone who looks at him thinks he’s just a common store mannequin.
Actually, this story is based on the DMNT Interactive video game of the same name.
Here’s that synopsis of the video game:
“A frightening asymmetrical multiplayer experience! Survive as the Human or terrorize as the Entity that can only move when it isn’t being watched”.
The story is a little more evolved in DON’T LOOK AWAY and not comedic (intentionally) at all. The film follows Frankie (Bastard) after she hits and kills someone with her car. She then looks out her car window to see a naked mannequin staring at her from a distance. Things go from bad to worse as she soon sees the mannequin pop up everywhere she goes. She discusses this with her friends, who at first make fun of her until they start seeing the mannequin too. Learning that they are now cursed, will they be able to escape or will they be the next to die?
Although there have been many films with curses, not many involve killer mannequins. Director Michael Bafaro weaves a good atmospheric horror web with tension and jump scares. The main protagonist is genuinely creepy, who wouldn’t find a naked mannequin following their every move creepy?
The only issue with this is that early on it’s established that the mannequin doesn’t really do much but pop up in places. It doesn’t grip a knife or do any of the killing on screen. The killing usually happens behind doors or out of the site of the audience. Imagine if Chucky from Child’s Play just sort of sat there the whole film being a doll and nothing else.
Kelly Bastard plays the lead Frankie with a freshness that really holds the film together. On more than one occasion I caught myself rooting for her. Bastard really makes this film’s premise as believable as it can be. Some of the other cast members seem a little green, but although a little distracting it is easily overlooked.
DON’T LOOK AWAY isn’t going to break any horror/supernatural genre molds, but what it does do is entertain in a unique fashion. The film looks bigger than its budget and sounds even better. Shout out to the music department for using a Sons of Freedom song in the opening sequence of the film. It’s always nice when a Canadian production uses Canadian music in their films.
DON’T LOOK AWAY Releases Digitally in the UK on September 25