Remember at the beginning of The Terminator, Arnold is running around Los Angeles trying to kill Sarah Connor but keeps offing the wrong Sarah? Well in The Wrong Sarah writer/director/star Jason Toler (Crack House of the Dead, Half Moon) has taken that idea and done some running of his own.
FBI Agent Lance Roberts (Jason Toler) is tracking The Black Rose Killer. He kidnaps, tortures and murders women named Sarah leaving a black rose behind, hence the name. He and his team come across the latest victim (Sarah Brine, Choke, The Awakening of Emanuelle) after he’s burnt her to death. A lead on a stolen credit card leads them to another dead body in a cheap hotel.
We then cut to a long montage of Roberts at the gym, jogging in the middle of the night and going for takeout with an old friend from the academy. While this is happening the killer takes another victim. The Wrong Sarah runs sixty-three minutes including credits, barely long enough to call a feature film. At this point, we’re eighteen minutes in and a third of it is the workout montage.
We then get more jogging, this time it’s Sarah Thompson (Elliott Woods, Amityville Cop, Kill Plan). In case you can’t guess, she’s the killer’s next target, something we can guess when she reports her car was broken into. Of course, Roberts sees to her protection personally, and of course, the relationship becomes more than professional.
Despite the cliché plotting and short running time, The Wrong Sarah could have worked if Toler had stuck to the important aspects of the film. But instead of at least delivering the equivalent of a TV cop show, he gives us tons of padding. The montage I mentioned, a long call between Sarah and her mother (Lisa London, Sudden Impact, Heartbeat) that adds nothing to the plot.
But that’s nothing next to the sloppiness of the film itself. Woods’ character is referred to almost interchangeably as Sarah Thompson and Sarah Thomas at different points in the film, sometimes within minutes of each other, and almost none of the characters’ names in the film’s credits match the IMDB entry. But that’s par for the course with films from Cinema Epoch.
The last fifteen or so minutes do pick up a bit of steam with a bit of skin from Ms. Woods’ character, whatever her name is, and a showdown with the killer (Shane Ryan, Apex Predators, Axegrinder 2). But the final fight is pretty lacklustre apart from some gory-looking bullet wounds.
That is something I can say for The Wrong Sarah, it actually has some effects, including a charred body, and they’re reasonably good. The killer also sports a mask that has a digital image, usually of flames, playing on it. I haven’t seen that before and it’s a neat touch. The CGI fire we get elsewhere in the film is, as expected, bottom of the barrel.
While certainly better than what we usually get from Cinema Epoch, The Wrong Sarah is still a pretty weak film. The potential was there, and it feels like Toler was at least trying to make a good film rather than just slap some scenes together and put a title on it. But in the end, it comes up short, suffering from too much padding and too few surprises.
The Wrong Sarah is available on various Digital platforms including Tubi for those who live where it’s available. And it might be worth a watch for free if you don’t mind the ads, but that’s the closest to a recommendation I can give it.