Drop Down Menu

Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Review Shocker (1989): Wes Craven unleashed!

genre: thriller, horror

Horace Pinker (played by Mitch Pilleggi) makes Freddy Krueger look like an amateur. He easily is one of the most evil and sadistic killers portrayed on the screen. Yet he failed to make an impact like Freddy did. While I do think that Shocker is among the best Wes Craven has created, I do understand why Horace Pinker lost to Freddy!

Creatively speaking, Wes Craven takes it a couple of steps further than he did with Nightmare on Elm Street. Horace Pinker surely is a threat to be recognized and feared. Right from the start, you get to witness what Pinker is about. That alone would have been enough. But no, Craven thought it was necessary to turn it up a few notches and add some insanity to a character already ridiculously overpowered. 

However, there is one good reason why Horace Pinker doesn't instil fear as much as Freddy does. The tone of the film is all over the place. Nightmare on Elm Street was a legitimate feature film that tried to scare the hell out of you, where tension and dread were built up as much as possible. Shocker does have some moments that come close to this, but then often goes too far and over the top. It's too cartoony for its own good. The violence is bloody and menacing, for sure, but it's never scary nor terrifying. It easily could have been, but just isn't. At times, it does feel like Shocker is intended as a parody on Nightmare on Elm Street. But this doesn't quite mesh with the notion that the film should have been the start of a new franchise. I assume Craven was serious, but that for some reason he didn't get enough time to make the film he wanted. Poor handling of some elements do suggest that certain things were rushed. 

But one can't deny that most of the events are super cool. Our protagonist, Jonathan Parker (played by Peter Berg) is smart and tough. Even heavily traumatized, is ready to fight the evil Pinker. Since he is very aware that Pinker has special powers, he comes up with ingenious ways to battle him. Quite ludicrous, but so much fun and immensely satisfying to see him fighting the good fight. I have read that a lot of people say that the editing and effects were poorly done. Well, I think in some scenes it's pretty obvious that it was deliberate. Certain people and things needed to look like they didn't belong. Otherwise, it would have been hard to follow what's going on. And I should note that Craven very clearly was blurring the lines of reality and dream sequences. The viewer should wonder and question whether the events are real or not.

In my humble opinion, Shocker is immensely underrated. I have seen it a couple of times now and with each viewing my appreciation for it grows. There is so much to dig into. But yes, you have to be willing to overlook the messy tone. Although, that shouldn't be in your way of having fun. In that regard, Shocker does deliver.

Also check:

No comments:




Join us for free and get valuable content delivered right through your inbox.


Reviews Netflix Originals


Popular Posts