obstacle corpse | hope madden | sylvie mix | alan tyson | donovan riley wolfington | comedy | united states | slasher | gareth tidball | jason tostevin | tony white | nightmares film festival | better horror | shane thompson | dani mo | michael cichowicz | eric boso
Film: Obstacle Corpse
Director: Hope Madden
Writer: Hope Madden
Starring: Sylvie Mix, Alan Tyson and Donovan Riley Wolfington
This is a movie that I was excited to check out. I’ve been to live recordings of the podcast, Fright Club, where Hope Madden is the writer/director and she is one of the hosts on that. One of my fraternity brothers was also in this movie, Shane Thompson. This was also the Midwest premiere for the film.
Synopsis: a teen out to prove herself to her dad stumbles into the world’s most terrifying obstacle course.
The character from the synopsis is Sunny (Sylvie Mix). Her and her friend Ezra (Alan Tyson) like to go on different excursions. Neither seem to be that thrilled with what they’re doing here. From what they know, this is going to be like Warrior Dash or other obstacle courses. Sunny is also trying to live up to what her father wants. He tries to give her a knife which she declines. He does sneak it into her bag.
Sunny was invited by Stephanie (Gareth Tidball). They don’t seem to be that good of friends, but they know each other. They are also joined by Stephanie’s husband or boyfriend. Something along those lines. We see when they arrive to start this course, that we have people who have done it before and they invite a ‘newbie’. They also get the rundown from Carl (Jason Tostevin). He is leaving things out though.
The point of this course is that you must complete all the stations and kill the person you invited. The returning players know the score. Sunny and Ezra learn this before it is too late. They escape into the woods to find a way out. They also join with a Sad Clown (Tony White). Making it more difficult are enforcers like Jarrell Pyro Johnson keeping them in. To make matters worse, there is Mason (Donovan Riley Wolfington) who is an ice cream man who knows more about this course than he lets on and participating.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to some of our characters. Where I want to start is that I’m normally not the biggest fan of horror/comedies when they’re not done right. I prefer when they are done in that order. What I will give credit here is that there is a good balance between these elements. This goes places and doesn’t pull its punches. I should come to expect that listening to Madden and getting to know a bit of her taste.
To start delving into this a bit more, I want to break down the premise. I love the idea of this obstacle course and people using it to kill people. There are rules here. That makes it feel in a way like the purge. Murder is allowed if you’re using stations. You can’t just kill someone by stabbing or shooting them. I bet it would be a fun brainstorming session to come up with different obstacles and how you can kill people with them. Examples are like ropes with water/mud under it. There are tunnels under the ground you need to go through and even logs held up by ropes. We get some interesting deaths that are used here. I love that this doesn’t get away from this concept as it gets deeper into this.
Since I’ve brought up the deaths, this is a comedic take on the slasher film. It isn’t one in the traditional sense though. We have multiple people who are killing others. I’m glad that this one went practical with the effects. The man who did most of them was in the audience which was cool and he’s great. If there is CGI here, it was blended well and I didn’t notice it. Overall, I’m impressed with what they did.
I want to shift back over to the story. Madden brought up that her original intent was not to make this about father’s and not living up their expectations. When she noticed that theme running through it, she decided to lean into it which is great. We get that with Sunny, which is the most prevalent. There is another one with Mason that I thought was cool. I think that it is interesting that it wasn’t originally planned but incorporated as things went and it doesn’t feel forced. That is probably why it worked.
The only other thing that I wanted to bring up here is that I love this race has people dressing up in fun things to give them a bit of character. That makes it feel like the Color Run. My buddy Thompson is in a skeleton costume like his partner. There is a couple that are wrestlers that have character credits as Neon Blonde (Dani Mo) and Neon Ninja Façade (Michael Cichowicz). There are also the Sad Clown and Happy Clown (Eric Boso). I thought that was creative as well.
Since I’ve talked about the characters, I’ll go to the acting. I thought that it was good to give these characters personality. Mix is good as our lead. I like Tyson as her friend. The best performance for me though was Wolfington followed by Tostevin. The latter’s monologue is amazing. Other than that, I thought the rest of the supporting cast was good. I’ll give credit to Johnson, Tidball, Ali Ferda, Cichowicz, Mo, George Wolf and White. There wasn’t a bad performance to me and everyone fit for what was needed.
I’ll then finish out with the filmmaking. I’ve said my piece on the effects so I’ll go to the cinematography. I thought that it looked better than its budget. There are no issues there. They do some fun things with stations and setting up the deaths. This was shot well. The other part would be the soundtrack. That was something that I thought fit for what was needed without necessarily standing out to me.
In conclusion, this is a fun movie. I’m not usually a fan of horror/comedies, but I think that this does well in blending the two elements. I like the idea of this obstacle course as it feels like what you’d get with Saw and mixing it with The Purge. There are rules and how people are killed at the stations is creative. The characters are fun. I might not know all their names, but they stick out when I see them. This is well-made which is good. I like the effects for the kills. I would recommend this if you’re into independent cinema for sure.
My Rating: 7 out of 10