In order to explain why Daniel Maze's 2009 neo-slasher Cornered! (aspirational exclamation point his, not mine) is even worth writing about, I have to spoil the flick. The "serial killer targeting bodega employees" logline is, in and of itself, worth a chuckle; but the odd idea of a bondage mask wearing slasher dispatching cornershop employees isn't the real reason to watch the film. Honestly, the reason to queue up this odd duck horror disk on your Netflix account is because it features - and here comes the spoilation - Steve Guttenberg as a psycho slasher.
I shit you not. For reals.
If you've been possessed of a burning desire to see Mahoney bury a meat cleaver halfway through some whore's neck, this is the cinematic experience you've been waiting for.
And, for the record, the "whore" thing isn't me passing judgment on the lifestyle choices of a character of the presumed personal life of an actress. In said film, the be-cleaved is a semi-freelance sex industry worker.
Now that we've covered those details, I'm not sure what, exactly, there is to still say about Cornered!. And, yes, I'm going to add the exclamation mark to the title every time it shows up. You can't see it, but I'm actually doing jazz hands every time the title appears in my review. 'Cause any film can be ho, hum . . . Cornered, I guess, but this is Cornered!, F**k Yeah!: the movie so unjustifiably self-satisfied that it deserves to be a Tumblr blog!
It would be easy to spend the rest of the review scoring cheapo zingers off this flick which is, regardless of anything I might say after this sentence, not a very good film. Instead, I'd like to point out a couple of aspects of the film that worked for me.
First, our victim collection is a nice departure from the stereotypical gaggle of teens. Admittedly, it staggers belief that a run down cornershop that - as far as we see - has no customers would employ enough people to make up a slasher fodder cluster (SFC). Still the SFC is made up of a nice platter of urban wreckage types and, for the most part, the actors bringing these dead-end types to life all acquit themselves honorably. Special props to Peter Story who has the thankless task of animating the donut-addicted Donny: a character who is constantly on the verge of becoming a hero, but repeatedly retreats into cowardice and uselessness. Donny doesn't discover his hidden resourcefulness until everybody else is pretty much dog food and his personal survival in on the line. His utter incapacity and pointlessness makes him something like the opposite of the mostly mythological final girl and Story, Maze, and Co. deserve credit for denying themselves the easy route of sudden and senseless heroism.
Second, there's a nice magical realism element involving James Duval's kickin' cold turkey junkie character, Jimmy, and a tribe of sinister, seemingly intelligent cockroaches. This running bit gives us many of the film's most pleasing moments.
And third - freakin' Steve Guttenberg as a slasher.
That's points four, five, and six as well.