The Reenactment opens with footage from “Myths & Mysteries”, a knockoff of “Unsolved Mysteries” hosted by Wilbur (Tony Todd, Stoker Hills, Candy Corn) before segueing into auditions and crime scene footage related to their next episode. Several years prior, The Wallach Brothers, already wanted for several bank robberies, retreated to what they planned to use as their hideout, not knowing it had recently been sold to a newlywed couple who had just moved in.
The mystery isn’t about their fate, everyone knows the Wallachs killed them. The question is what happened to the brothers who were never seen again. Unfortunately Jane (Megan Duffy, All the Creatures Were Stirring, Maniac), Gordon (Richard Taylor Quinn), Kevin (Stephen Wesley Green, Robot Apocalypse, Nicole) and the rest of the crew are about to find out.
The Reenactment doesn’t get to the murder house until around the half hour mark. Director Andrew Ford and co-writer Eli Osman, making their feature debut after filming three shorts together, use the time to give us backstory on the killings, introduce the characters and let us see them in action filming other parts of the show. And, since the film is set in the 90’s, give us multiple references to the band Mudhoney.
This is all nicely shot and fairly amusing, apart from some of Gordon’s bumbling idiot comic relief scenes. But since The Reenactment only runs seventy four minutes including credits it probably should have gotten down to business a bit quicker. Even once they get to the house the only thing that happens is they find a dead animal that’s been wired up turned into a primitive flesh and blood animatronic.
Finally with half an hour to go, The Reenactment lives up its name and literally explodes into bloody action as the film’s unnamed killer (pro wrestler James Storm) turns up and repeats the crime they were there to recreate a bit more realistically than they would like before turning his attention to the rest of the cast.
Once again though the film sidetracks the horror and mixes in large chunks of the killer’s home movies that Jane is tied up and forced to watch. I suppose some of the footage could be considered horror, but it’s mostly footage of, what I assume is the killer as a child, clips of an incredibly unfunny kid’s TV show, the house’s residents going about their lives, etc. It just kills the suspense dead every time they cut back to it.
The Reenactment does have its moments though. There are a good number of bloody, if not always convincing effects worked into the film’s last act and that alone puts it ahead of a lot of recent slashers. Those effects include a gruesomely funny scene where a couple of survivors have to hack their way through a friend whose corpse is blocking their only escape route.
Another plus is that Storm, with his long career in the ring, is excellent at delivering beatings and other violence to his victims and making it look real. And he has the size to be believable doing it in scenes where he has to contend with multiple people at the same time.
In the end though, The Reenactment is a near miss. The final act is lively but there’s not enough scares or suspense to make it an effective horror film. And for all the physicality Storm can give the film’s killer, the fact that the script fails to give him a name or motive renders him rather bland.