So, we’ve had Halloween, we’ve had Friday the 13th… and come to think of it, the Ides of March didn’t end too well either. Now it’s the turn of February 29th, which thankfully only comes around every four years.
You see every February 29th Thorn, a machete wielding masked serial killer, manifests himself and goes on the rampage. It wrecks Jessica’s (Jade Wallis) 16th (or is that fourth?) birthday in 2008 when she and her mates get locked into school after hours, but now four years later she and the other three survivors have stunned the killer with a dose of electric current and have him unmasked and chained up in a secret warehouse. As they argue about who is going to terminate the evil bastard, the cops turn up and let him go. Bad, bad idea.
Structurally, the writers have tried to fragment the story by jumping back and forth from incidents in 2008 to 2012, and this is slightly problematic in that we see Thorn murder the usual band of slasher fodder (fashion queen bitch and her gang, nerdy boy, bullies, cheerleaders etc.) before we have properly got to know and dislike them. There is also the question of just who Thorn is and why does he do the things he does, and then there are the mysterious, tattooed locals who are in on Thorn’s doings. None of these things are adequately explained.
Sounds like an American movie, but no Legacy of Thorn was shot in the north of England on a tiny budget of £75,000. It’s clearly very much influenced by 1980s’ American high school body count pictures and as such it is an odd beast; the school looks very American, everyone wears baseball jackets and naturally amongst the kids locked in that night are a bunch of cheerleaders, there’s a lot of running through dark corridors, hiding and whimpering. However, the dialogue is very English. Many of the cast have clearly learnt their craft on stage, with ‘decent boy’ Eric (Paris Rivers) getting positively Shakespearean at times as the gang debate how to kill Thorn. Although my absolute favourite piece of dialogue has to be from ‘nerdy boy’ Clark (Craig Canning) who exclaims: “we fried the fucker once tonight and now he’s having a nap.”
Now I’m not a great fan of body count slashers, but for a low budget movie, Legacy of Thorn is competently enough made and the young cast all acquit themselves well. There is enough blood to satisfy gorehounds and it does not descend into the sick misogyny of movies like Blood Valley: Seed’s Revenge or The Bunnyman. On the downside, it’s disjointed with too many loose ends and the tiny budget does show through with the costume design.
I give Legacy of Thorn a 333/666.
Legacy of Thorn is out now on DVD in the UK and US at legacyofthorn.com
The film is also available for HD Download Pre-Order at legacyofthorn.vhx.tv
Review by Simon Ball
Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here.