“End Zone 2”

This movie was screened at Panic Fest.

Let’s start at the top when talking about “End Zone 2,” billed as the long-awaited sequel to the 1965 horror film “End Zone.” The history of these films is completely fabricated. There wasn’t an original in the 60s and part two wasn’t really made in 1970 (although the clever filmmakers have created a very convincing IMDB page for their project). This supposed sequel is presented as a “restored” version of the original movie (which again, doesn’t really exist), making it a form of cinematic performance art where the audience may or not be in on the joke.

Set fifteen years after the events depicted in “End Zone,” bullied high school football player turned cannibal Smash-Mouth is back to finish off the gaggle of cheerleaders who killed his mother. According to legend, the original film was a supposed horror cult classic that’s well known in genre circles for its missing final act. Again, none of this is actually true, but the back story is well-developed.

It’s a modern day movie that’s crafted in a way to make it look and feel like a genuine retro slasher flick. Through clever use of sound, well-placed film scratches and burns, and orange-tinged visuals, director August Kane nails the vintage tone so well that it’s easy to believe the film was made in the 1970s. The deliberately stiff acting, erratic editing style, costumes, and lighting all work to sell the grift even further.

The film’s clever tone and sense of humor are a perfect homage to those old slasher movies that you’d watch at slumber parties when you were a kid. There’s a genuinely creepy séance scene that would’ve scared me out of my wits when I was 11 years old (ditto the goofy looking Smash-Mouth, whose makeup reminded me a bit of Large Marge from “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”), and the film brought me back to that time in my life. It’s an achievement to make a modern day film look and feel so much like one that’s decades old.

Despite the silly humor in “End Zone 2,” a little goes a long way. The brevity of the film’s runtime definitely works in its favor. The ending doesn’t land, but Kane makes a valiant effort.

By: Louisa Moore

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