Fender Bender (2016) (Blu-ray Review)

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Fender Bender (2016) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Mark Pavia
Starring: Makenzie Vega, Cassidy Freeman, Dre Davis
Rated: UR/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory

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In a small New Mexico town, a 17-year-old high school girl who just got her driver’s license gets into her first fender bender, innocently exchanging her personal information with an apologetic stranger. Later that stormy night, she is joined in her desolate suburban home by a couple of her school friends who try their best to make a night out of it, only to be visited by the stranger she so willingly handed all of her information to — a terrifying and bizarre serial killer who stalks the country’s endless miles of roads and streets with his old rusty car, hungrily searching for his next unsuspecting victim.

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First off I’d like to say that I can appreciate what the fine folks over at Scream Factory tried to do with their first original film, Fender Bender. In a lot of ways, this is a bit of a throwback to the classic slasher of yesteryear complete with a cool looking killer, but it is a bit flawed. We basically have a guy who gets into fender benders with people so that he can get personal information to stalk and kill them later. He does one quick job at the start of the film just so you get the point and then he sets his sights on what will be our main lead, a character named Hilary (Makenzie Vega). They REALLY want us to like the character of Hilary and they seem to go all out to make us try to feel bad for her. I’m not sure if it works well enough or not because we can tell it’s forced. Also, one thing I dislike is that we know who the killer is (named the Driver here) from the start. That kind of takes away from the stalk and slash part because we know who’s behind the mask. Sure, they try to make him slick and smooth and at times a bit weird in his stalking and slashing, but we know who the guy is and it kind of kills some of the mystic this “driver” has about him. I won’t say some of the kills aren’t good, but I will say I wish we had more of them. The movie sets this up and it takes about 30 minutes from the first kill to the next one. Things do pick-up at the end, but isn’t that always the case?

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When we reach that portion we have our lead and her two friends alone in a house being stalked by this guy. Like I said already, some of the gore is good but we could have used more. Maybe we needed more characters for the guy to plow through? The movie does try a time or two to be clever but you just have a general idea how this one will end up and if you’ve seen enough of these or pay attention to how things seem to be going I’m sure you’ll be able to guess and be correct without even seeing the whole thing unfold before your very eye’s. Still, if you do love slashers it won’t hurt to give it the good once over anyway. This one has already debuted this past year on the CHILLER channel and nowhere in October, we have the Blu-ray from Scream Factory if you want to get out there and own this one. Which is the only way you’ll see it uncut I’m sure. While I don’t know how often I’ll go to re-watch it, it isn’t awful. It kills its own killer’s aura early on and is predictable, but it isn’t horrible. That’s always a plus! But beware of one of the most cringeworthy dialogue exchanges you’ll ever see during the final portion of this film.

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Extras

– “Retro VHS” Version Of The Film In Which You Can Watch The Film In A Re-created Mode That Takes You Back To The 1980’s And The Heyday Of VCRs
– “Slashback” Trailer Reel – A Collection Of Vintage Scream Factory-branded Slasher Previews
– Director’s Commentary
– Producer’s Commentary
– Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
– Original Trailer And TV Spot

Quality of Transfer: 90%

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