Directed by Lou Simon
Written by Lou Simon
Stars: Norbert Velez, Aniela McGuinness, Todd Bruno, Gema Calero, Giordan Diaz, Tom Stedham, Daniela Larez, Reggie Peters, Dennis Spain, Mario Nalini, Massiel Checo and Brandi Rudicil
Big thanks to Lou Simon (Writer and director of the creepy horror film The Awakened) for asking me to check out her new film HazMat. HazMat came completely out of the blue for me so it was a really nice surprise to hear from Lou and get the chance to check it out. One thing I can say off the bat is that the film is a tense, frantic slasher film with a brilliant streak of originality.
The set up goes like that - a trio of friends enlist the help of a prank TV show, Scary Antics (think candid camera with blood, guts and lots of screaming) to try to scare their friend Jacob (Norbert Velez). The main reason behind doing this to Jacob are claimed to be to help him get past his obsession with an old chemical plant that he is convinced is haunted. However it is very clear from the pre-show interviews with the friends setting him up, that there is much more to it than that - jealousies, rivalries and an underlying fear of Jacob are very much apparent and this helps to ensure that we are not dealing with your usual stock slasher movie characters with no identity. As the Scary Antic crew (including the charismatic 'Scary Dave' and put upon Brenda) set up station in the eerie old chemical plant, our trio of conspirators Adam (Reggie Peters) Carla Daniela Larez) and Melanie (Gema Calero) do their part by tricking Jacob to the location.
I don't want to spoil anything about this movie so I will keep the rest of the plot short and sweet. What I will say is that Jacob's so called friends should have really cared enough about him to notice just how disturbed he really is - I would like to have hoped it would have stopped them from going through with the prank! As Jacob realises what is happening his mind has already snapped...and his friends and the film crew are very quickly running out of luck.
I had to email Lou after watching this film to congratulate her. I was drawn straight in by the strong characterisation and enjoyed the teasing build up to the horror elements. Once the horror truly kicks off its pretty much edge of your seat stuff as the characters try to escape Jacobs rage. Cue some excellently executed jumps and some really nasty kills. I thought that Norbert did an excellent job as Jacob particularly in his enraged state and also thought Todd Bruno and Aniela McGuinness as Dave and Brenda had brilliant chemistry together. Brenda's scenes towards the end are also extremely well performed. The bitchy banter between Carla and Melanie is just great and amusing and both actresses did a great job as playing the backstabbing best friends - in fact I wish we could seen a bit more of that along the way.
HazMat is a low budget slasher movie that I believe should be shown in the theatres. Its very well made, belying its budget and is excellently written and acted. It also provides, in spades, those elements horror fans want which is thrills, spills and some outright scares. A great job to all and I cant wait to see what Lou Simon comes up with next, she is one to watch in horror film, trust me!. Please check this film out on Facebook and show some love!