Arrow in the Head reviews the giallo slasher That’s a Wrap, directed by Marcel Walz from a script by Joe Knetter, starring Sarah French
PLOT: When filmmaker Mason Maestro throws a private party after production wraps on his new slasher flick, someone dressed like the killer in the movie starts knocking off the partiers one-by-one.
REVIEW: After working together on the stalker film Blind (read my review at THIS LINK) and its sequel Pretty Boy (which we’re still anxiously waiting to see), director Marcel Walz, screenwriter Joe Knetter, and star Sarah French have teamed up once again to launch a production company called Neon Noir. Their first production is That’s a Wrap, a giallo slasher that takes both clear inspiration from the works of Italian filmmakers like Mario Bava and Dario Argento – especially due to the fact that Walz and cinematographer Marcus Friedlander have soaked nearly every shot in colorful lighting – and from the Scream franchise, in that it’s a meta film where the characters work in the horror business.
As Terry Alexander said in George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, “People got different ideas concerning what they want out of life,” and the That’s a Wrap character Mason Maestro (Robert Donavan) is a prime example of that. He’s a director, and while many would write off his latest movie as just another slasher, he is exceptionally proud of it, saying it’s everything he wants to say a filmmaker. His masterpiece. The investor isn’t so happy with it, feeling ripped off after Mason delivered “horror bullsh-t” rather than the “artistic drama” he was promised, but that doesn’t take any of the wind out of Mason’s sails. He throws a private wrap party (no “plus ones”) for the cast of his movie – which also happens to be called That’s a Wrap – and even confiscates everyone’s phone to make sure they won’t leak the very basic (but amazing, as far as he’s concerned) teaser trailer he screens for them.
But since no one has their phone, they’re not able to call for help when someone dressed like the slasher in Mason’s movie, a character called Mistress, starts knocking off the cast members one-by-one.
Gathered together for this party are an odd bunch of characters. In addition to Mason there’s his wife Lily (Monique Parent), who has some awkward interactions with final girl Harper (Sarah French); Molly (Eve Marlowe), who did a nude scene for Mason’s movie and is very into her own body; Amber (Gigi Gustin), who smuggles in a phone because she has to promote her brand; the reserved Lana (Sarah Polednak), who will only spell out swear words; Carter (Ben Kaplan), who is into Lana; Jamie (Adam Bucci), who purchased his role in Mason’s movie; Richter (Knetter’s co-writer Robert L. Lucas), who honestly isn’t around very long; the appropriately named stoner Stoney (Steve J. Owens); and Troy (Brandon Patricio), who hooks up with Stoney. Cerina Vincent of Cabin Fever is also in the cast, but she doesn’t make it into the party. Her character in Mason’s movie is killed off early (as they say, she’s the Janet Leigh / Drew Barrymore / Amanda Wyss of the project)… and life imitates art. There are also cameos by Tom Savini as her character’s manager, Jed Rowen (Pretty Boy himself) as a photographer, Adam Green as an Amber follower, and Dave Sheridan of Scary Movie as a security guard.
The inclusion of Sheridan in the cast seems very fitting, because while the movie is meta along the lines of a Scream film, there are also moments where it verges into Scary Movie-esque parody territory. There are nods to past horror films, a discussion of what exactly a giallo is, Cerina Vincent is the opening kill in the film and the film within the film, and characters will say things to each other like “time for you to exit the scene” or (when asked about their personal life), “ooh, character development”. But several of the characters are goofball, comedic people, and while they might be aware of the tropes and stereotypes, they also live up to them in a major way. Characters sneak away from the party to have sex. One not only feels the need to take a shower after being on the wrong end of a spit take, she even decides to masturbate while she’s in there. When a character finds a substance that looks, smells, and tastes like blood, he still doesn’t think it’s actually blood. But it might make for a good lube… There are plenty of things in That’s a Wrap that you’d be more likely to see in a Scary Movie than a Scream.
The humor didn’t always click for me, but every member of the cast did strong work in their roles (I should take a moment to note that Lana was my favorite character), I loved the look of the film, and the kill scenes tend to be very cool. So I had a good time watching the movie overall. There’s not much to it – people get together and get killed – but I’m an easy mark for a slasher movie and this was a pretty good one.
That’s a Wrap is a fun, stylish slasher that lets you spend 94 minutes watching people exchange humorous dialogue and get cut up in a colorfully lit location. If that sounds like a good time to you, as it does to me, check it out!
Quiver Distribution is giving That’s a Wrap a digital release on August 25th. You can watch it on Amazon.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/thats-a-wrap-review/