Date From Hell (Short Movie Review)

It should come as no surprise that for every love story born online there remain a dime a dozen horror stories of dates gone wrong. From cases like ‘The Craigslist Killer’ to the Urban Legend of ‘The Hook,’ there stands an authentic fear embedded in society of having a bad blind date or experiencing far worse. A short film that feeds off of these terrors in a rather ingenious way is Date From Hell, which will be out in September of 2019 via ALTER.

From the twisted imagination of Ven Scott (Runescarred, ex-Dead Earth Politics), making his writing and directing debut, Date From Hell is set in Llano, Texas, the perfect southern town for the nightmare to unravel in. It opens with an arching view of a industrial bridge that leads into a small town as the sun is beginning to set. This is while the title credits flash and a rip-roaring country song begins to play.

Meanwhile, inside a bar, the television broadcasts the news wherein a killer is loose and out for blood. The lead couple, Bobby Dean (Samuel Brett Howard: Pretty Bad Shape 2017) and Susie Q (Ava L’Amoreaux: Couples Night 2016, So You Wanna Make a Movie 2017), fight over the prospects of marriage, something Susie does not want just quite yet. Bobby storms out when the inquisitive bartender asks what is going on with the dissatisfied couple. This is all while a foreboding snippet of music plays briefly in the background, a sharp warning for what is to come.

They make their way outside, with Susie desperately trying to make it up to her irate boyfriend. He leads her into a bleak and eldritch infirmary beside them so that she can “make it up to him,” despite that she detests going inside. The abandoned building has floors that creak and single light bulbs that buzzes, everything that makes for a disturbing place to slice and dice. Bobby is nowhere to be found and it remains obvious that Susie is not amused. The background is complete with shredding guitar, an unnerving organ, and classic ’80s synth as the blood spatter hits.

A unique little Horror story, most of the film is dark with beautifully contrasted overlays of red and other shades. The intention of Date From Hell is to pay homage to classic ’80s Slashers with a wicked twist and a somewhat dozy comedic sensibility. That said, it successfully hits every note to join its elder Slasher siblings. With cinematography that is clean and well-executed alongside an appealing cast that doesn’t shy away from their roles, Cryptic Rock gives Date From Hell 4 out of 5 stars. 

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