Review: Lost After Dark

Lost After Dark (image: Anchor Bay Entertainment)

A fun throw back to the horror movies of the 1980s, Lost After Dark is the first feature by Ian Kessner, a horror film aficionado whose movie delivers on the promise of a squad of high school kids getting what they deserve, when they stumble into the wrong abandoned house on the wrong troubled night. Dressed in their best off-the-shoulder-shirts and varsity jackets of the 1980s, the film is half serious period piece, half parody, as the cast could easily cross through the background of any early Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween movie, or even Texas Chainsaw Massacre and fit right in, while suffering the genuine chills in their own movie.

The cast brings the proper note of underplayed reality to match the enormous mis-steps the characters make in just about every horror movie like this from the '80s, which is the point and part of the fun, and which leads to their demise. Director Ian Kessner hits each note squarely as the cast's increasing panic and unexpected frights causes higher states of suspense.

"I wanted to package an old wine in a new bottle," said Kessner when we spoke. "I wanted to give people the stereotypes they would expect, but by changing some of their expectations we planned to keep people on the edge of their seats. For me it's kind of a John Hughes film meets Friday the 13th. Horror fans know what we're doing." Kessner co-wrote the film as well with writing partner and Co-Executive Producer Bo Ransdell.

The ensemble cast puts in some great performances, notably Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, Sons of Liberty), Justin Kelly as Sean, Elise Gatien as Jamie, and David Lipper playing the father of one of the doomed adolescents. Lipper shows his versatility coming off his own performances as a beleaguered shut in for the thriller The Unwilling, to be released in 2016, and his turn as "Amos" in Sons of Liberty, a 2015 History channel mini-series where he plays a revolutionary war hero.

The film's production history is almost as scary as the subject matter. Primed for shooting, the production was cancelled two days before principle photography, forcing the director to release cast members and crew. He started again 6 months later having lost his original locations and with only 10 days to prep before rolling the cameras again.

"It was a labor of love and I'm really proud of the film. Initially I wanted to make something the regular Joe who goes to the movies would love, and when we got a really good critical response from Fangoria,,, and I was blown away."

"I'm really greatful these people have gone out and bought my movie," says Kessner, "I'm always responding to them on facebook, or whatever social network I can. All the DVD's and Blue Ray's have been sold out at Best Buy, Wallmart and Target. It's doing much better than expected; I'm super thrilled and want to say thank you to each fan."

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