Director: Scott Schirmer
Screenwriter: Scott Schirmer, Brian Williams
Cast: Nathan Barrett, Susan M. Martin, Brigid Macaulay, Alyss Winkler
Runtime: 91 mins
Review by Dave Griffiths
Cinema is never better then when a director decides to go away from the mainstream and deliver a film that is alternative, provocative and above all a film that you will remember a long time after you walked away from the cinema. There have been a few films this year that have surfaced that have done just that, but perhaps none fit that criteria quite as well as Plank Face the brand new low-budget horror film from hard-working director Scott Schirmer (Harvest Lake)
The premise of Plank Face starts off with a young, very much in love couple, Max (Nathan Barrett – iZombie) and Stacey (Ellie Church – Headless), head into the wilderness for a hike. There peaceful time together though is quickly interrupted when Stacey is attacked by an assailant who then knocks out Max when he comes to Stacey’s aid.
When Max wakes up he has been taken captive by three women – Granny (Susan M. Martin – Quench), The Bride (Brigid Macauley – Progeny) and Bunny Girl (Alyss Winkler – newcomer) who are desperate to train him to become their new leader after the demise of their previous Plank Face. In order to train Max to become Plank Face they put him through a serious of tortures and use him for sexual gratification, which leaves the big question will he give into their lifestyle or will he try to break free and try to find Stacey.
Plank Face is the kind of the film that has you in a constant state of suspense from opening to closing credits. Director Scott Schirmer takes his audience on a journey filled with murder, rape, sex and torture during which time the audience is constantly worried about the characters at hand – not only for their safety but also their sanity. While some of more graphic scenes, such as Stacey’s rape which is similar to what the cult classic I Spit On Your Grave depicted on screen, may be a little hard for some audience members to sit through this is the kind of film that more hardened cinema lovers will embrace and the result is a finale that will stay with you for a long, long time.
While a brief look at his film may leave some people wondering whether or not this is just an excuse to put another exploitation film on the big screen they couldn’t be further from the truth. From a psychological point of view Plank Face is probably one of the most in depth look at Stockholm Syndrome that modern has seen. While some may question whether the character of Max would act the way he does the answer is unless we ever found ourselves in a similar situation no one but the filmmaker can answer how his ‘hero’ would act in such a dilemma.
Of course a film with such a hard edge as Plank Face is not an easy film for its cast to act out and here credit must be paid to Schirmer’s talented cast. Nathan Barrett’s performance is pivotal to the journey that Max goes through the young actor never puts a foot wrong despite how intense some of the scenes become. He is well supported by his female co-stars – Susan M. Martin, Brigid Macauley, Alyss Winkler and Ellie Church who also deliver powerful performances in some pretty ruthless scenes that also call for nudity throughout the film. This ensemble is certainly a group that have worked hard to bring the film to screen and the result is a film that they should be proud of.
Plank Face is a film that at times is confrontational but is a suspenseful horror that will be lapped by the hardcore fans of the horror genre. Despite the harshness of the film’s plot the film itself is beautifully filmed and is much more impressive than other ‘lost in the wilderness’ films such as Blair Witch. Plank Face is a horror film with a difference that shouldn’t be missed.
Plank Face is screening at A Night Of Horror (Sydney) on Saturday 3rd December. Tickets can be purchased to the screening here.