Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Little Jenny (Jessica Aitkin) is upset because big sister Ellen (Kelli Barrett) is making her go to bed early so she can fun it up with her boyfriend. Then a random cop knocks on the door and stabs Ellen to death right in Jenny’s plains sight. That sucks. Top Cop Lt. Fox (Terrance Mann) takes care of this loon with extreme prejudice so we don’t have to worry about him any more during this little horror flick ‘Red Hook’ but Jenny’s life will never be the same.

Ten or so years later Jenny (Christina Brucato) is all grown up and off to the big apple to start her college education. We should mention that Jenny is skittish and scaredy and paranoid of everything and everybody so it does seem odd that the girl would choose New York City, one of the most populous and dangerous places on the planet earth as a place of residence, but we are going to roll with it. Now at school Jenny will make the acquaintance of her fellow schoolmates destined for death. There’s her roommate Angela (Hollis Scarborough), emphasis on the second syllable, who is a drama major and we know this because she sings and dances all the time like a complete idiot. There is student floor manager Tim (Bryan Fenkart) who is an asshole, there’s Deena (Frankie Shaw) the lesbian, Paula (Karla Mosley) the cute journalism student who is also an asshole, Camille (Karissa Staples) the whore and a few other random dudes including Gavin (Tate Ellington) the love interest. Gavin ‘can relate’ to Jenny because he too lost someone very close to him.

Floor director Tim has assembled these students for a school opening scavenger hunt, which he probably should’ve just renamed ‘death gathering’, with the winner getting a pair of cherished White Stripes tickets with the moderator of this game being a mysterious dude only known as ‘Red Hook’. Search the depths of New York City, which can’t be a good idea to start with, find the clues and win the game. Despite Jenny’s reticence Gavin has convinced her to play, but oddly enough when the game starts Gavin is strangely absent. Plus somebody is spying on Jenny but why?

It’s not long into the game that our players realize that somebody isn’t playing a game at all but playing for keeps as some extremely irritating college students are getting their throats slit and their abdomens gutted with all of this murder and mayhem all coming back to Jenny in someway, a girl who is a magnet for death it would appear. But who is doing these terrible things and why? The answer may surprise you… or not.

One of the reasons that this movie ‘Red Hook’ intrigued me is because the director, Elizabeth Lucas, is a woman. Obviously, since I’ve never met a dude named Elizabeth. Women don’t get that many chances to direct period and even rarer is the female helmed horror movie so I was curious to see if there would be any discernible differences. Well, not really which I imagine is a good thing proving that a woman can direct a run-of-the-mill horror movie just as well as a man can. Girl Power!

The movie itself is a collection of standard horror clichés with a team of supremely annoying characters doing stupid stuff, as per usual, in order to get themselves killed. For instance when one character is repeatedly yelling at the top of her lungs ‘LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU’ and you already know there’s a crazed maniac on the loose slicing spinal chords, then for the love of God woman… look behind you. Or when you find one of your classmates caught in a chain fence with her intestines spilling out on a New York City street, this would be a great time to call the police as opposed to texting another classmate. Oh, but the cell phone service is shoddy. That’s a tough plot device to buy into even when a movie takes place in the sticks, but I’m thinking I could be in a submarine on the bottom of the Hudson River and still get a few bars on my cell phone. But then I’m not I’m not a resident so who knows. Or if one of your classmates is having a battle to the death with the bad guy, instead of sitting in the car watching the show screaming your head off how about lending girlfriend a hand?

This is a SPOILER but if your reason for killing all these people is to show the girl you love how much you care, gee, maybe a box of candy would work just as well. And admittedly while we wouldn’t want to spend too much time any of these kids, including Jenny, being annoying shouldn’t be a death sentence.

All that being said this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like ‘Red Hook’ at least a little bit. It was well acted by a cast of relative but talented unknowns, Elizabeth Lucas as a film director has a good feel for the camera and she expertly guided her cast of actors where she needed them to go. No, the movie wasn’t all that scary or frightening but there was a good amount of bloodletting out there for those of you who like that kind of thing, and I kinda liked how Jenny closed out the show. I don’t know if this is enough to completely offset these irritating folks doing stupid things on their way to eventual death in a run of the mill setup, but I have seen a lot worse costing a lot more and that is saying something.

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