Low budget horror films tend to suffer from the same tropes or pitfalls, they try to be too funny or they create characters that you don’t care about. That is why having to review certain films can be a laborious and painstaking process. Along comes Exit 33 featuring our boy Kane Hodder. Now, I know Kane does not star in amazing or good films all the time, so I was worried when I looked over the description. When I put in my copy and began my viewing experience, I was thoroughly entertained even with all the problems that hinder a low budget film
Exit 33 tells the tale of a large, towering man named Ike (Kane Hodder) who runs a gas station called “Last Chance Gas”. Set in the middle of nowhere (the State is unknown to me), Ike is able to capture his victims with ease. The movie focuses on 5 individuals (4 are headed to a high school reunion, 1 is headed for Canada), who all within a single day end up in the in the hands of Ike. What he does is refer his future captives who need gas to pump number 9 because whatever is in that pump (probably sugar water) causes the individuals car to break down. Ike then goes to find them, knock them out, then take out their eyes or cut the skin off their backs to make jerky. With all of these people being caught by Ike, things get out of control and it leads to a clumsy but open-ended conclusion. There is not much else to discuss in terms of the plot for fear of ruining the movie for you and the fact that the film just focuses on Ike catching these poor bastards.
I am personally not a huge fan of “torture-porn” or similarly related genres, most of it has to do with the story being forgotten or too much fixation on trying to “shock” you. Exit 33 moves at a great pace with the narrative and that may be its biggest strength (besides having Kane Hodder on board), the reason why Ike butchers people becomes known slowly (sadly with some rather laughable flashbacks) and holds your interest all the way to the end. This won’t ruin anything but Ike is being told who to capture via his dead wife (he’s a little nuts) and I thought this was a great touch because it let you see into Ike’s head. His reasons make sense and this movie was not meant to make another entry to the torture-porn world. There are a couple of scenes that are a bit unnerving and one includes one of the best pulling-eye-out-of-socket-scenes that I have ever witnessed (pretty damn good for low-budget). Kane Hodder really shines in every scene of this movie too, all the other actors give a rather adequate performance but Kane makes the movie. Anyone else would have made Exit 33 unbearable.
Exit 33 includes a great opening credits sequence, showcasing guys hunting deer while playing some haunting country music. It’s a pretty effective introduction because it sets you up for the tone of the movie (people being caught and butchered like deer) and it doesn’t try to impress you with some awful metal band that the director is friends with. To go back to the gore factor, while I mentioned some atrocious acts earlier, the violence happens mostly off screen (probably budget issues) and when it does happen, it is used with all practical effects.
I have sort of praised this movie but remember what it is; it is a low budget horror film. It is not going to be amazing, you just have to go with it and not bitch that the quality is not good enough for you. The humor comes across as contrived and at one point I was just annoyed, almost to anger. It was just a scene of a guy shitting loudly in Ike’s bathroom for almost a minute. Not funny and not clever. The end was rather messy and it seemed that the writers did not know where to go after a certain point. It’s just a climax that forgets to be a climax, withholding any sort of feeling of completion. With the open end, I hope that the director will get more money to make either a more refined version of this movie in the future or make a just as entertaining sequel. If you love Kane Hodder, check it out (you probably will anyways) and if you can forgive a low budget film for being a low budget film then find a copy for your own personal collection.