THIS REVIEW IS BASED ON THE RETAIL DVD RELEASE PROVIDED BY ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMET CANADA FOR REVIEW
Sometimes you see a movie where you just don’t even know where to start with putting down your thoughts regarding it. By no means did I go into Old 37 with high expectations or anything, but it still managed to have me questioning why I was watching it at all. Hell, it has Bill Moseley and Kane Hodder, two absolute juggernauts when it comes to the horror genre. They even threw in a small cameo from the king of Troma himself, Lloyd Kaufman! So what exactly is wrong with Old 37?
The first sign of trouble comes pretty quickly, as the director is credited as Alan Smithee. For those unaware, Alan Smithee is the pseudonym name used when the director of the film wishes to disown the project. For horror fans, arguably the biggest use of the Smithee name would be for 1996’s Hellraiser: Bloodline (which at the time was considered far and away the worst entry in the series, but poor Pinhead would see far more dismal films in his future) which was directed by special effects maestro Kevin Yagher. So there is a good chance that if you see Smithee credited as director, you’re not necessarily going to be in for a grand time.
The film begins with a prologue set in 1977, where a large man dressed as a paramedic named Jimmy (Kenneth Simmons) intercepting a call over a CB radio about a car crash. He brings his two sons along with him, and they watch as their father initially soothes the victim by telling her “Don’t worry, I’m a paramedic” before sticking his fingers down her throat, choking her to death. He then spends several minutes sticking his fingers into the open wound on her leg, then licking them clean. We then move to present day where Angel (Brandi Cyrus, and yes, she is the spawn of Billy Ray and sister of Miley) goes off with her new boyfriend and his friends, abandoning her best friend Amy (Caitlin Harris) in the process. During an attempt to stand between the two cars while moving, things go awry and Angel takes a bit of a stumble, tragically dying and bringing her 5 minutes of screen time to an end. This somehow leads to Jordan (Jake Robinson) effectively dumping his girlfriend Brooke (Olivia Anderson) and taking an interest in Amy. Eventually, Amy gets herself a boob job (what this has to do with the rest of the movie, your guess is as good as mine) all while her mother starts dating after her father’s death, first with Detective Higgins (Robert Bogue) who is investigating Angel’s death, then later with a weird kind of guy named Darryl (Bill Moseley) who just happens to be one of those kids all grown up, but don’t worry, he’s a paramedic! Everything eventually all ties together, and we get some carnage at the hands of both Darryl and his brother Jon Roy (Kane Hodder).
The film’s biggest issue is that it just feels completely disjointed. It bounces around with flashbacks frequently, and also scenes that seem like they are just there to bump up the body count. It comes across as the horror movie equivalent of those comedy movies where they just put together a bunch of scenes that all seem random and are essentially just skits, but have a very loose thematic thread to tie them all together. Because of this, it becomes hard to really be able to take any kind of strong interest in the film, which is a shame, because the movie certainly had potential.
In terms of the cast, they are all pretty wretched. Most of the younger cast seem like this may be their first time making a movie, and just can’t seem to get comfortable in their roles. In particular, Jake Robinson as Jordan is a clear definition of someone likely cast for their good looks, as opposed to their acting talent. Kane Hodder of course does his regular thing, which is really just playing the role he is most famous for, the immortal Jason Voorhees, except without the hockey mask and machete. As most horror fans may be aware, Hodder has always been great at expressing the character through body language and the use of his eyes, and in that regard, he certainly does shine once again. But far and away the highlight of the cast is the always entertaining Bill Moseley, despite the fact that, much like Hodder, he is just playing his most famous role, that of Chop Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, again just in different clothes and with a different look. I credit Moseley for getting me through most of the movie. There is really no way you can’t laugh at scrawny little Moseley calling the imposing Hodder a “big fuckin’ retard!” It’s a shame they didn’t get a better movie to work together on.
I highly doubt that anyone seeing the cover art (which Anchor Bay did a great job with, highlighting the imposing Hodder and his weird surgical mask) would choose to go into Old 37 with expectations of being witness to a new horror classic. But what could have been a fun little slasher movie, especially one with two beloved genre icons, seems to have just been lost in translation, relegating it to being a movie that while not a complete waste of 84 minutes, there is certainly better options. But I can’t deny that watching Moseley doing his thing makes it worth a look at the very least.
Old 37 is available from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada on DVD and you can grab a copy on The Deadstore right here to help support the continued growth of the site, or by clicking the link at the top of the page.