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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 11.18.10] movie review scifi horror action cult

Year: 2010
Directors: Darrin Dickerson
Writers: Darrin Dickerson
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7 out of 10

In a recent interview, Guillermo del Toro stated that when working with B material you should always treat it like A material. That is to say if you take it seriously, others will too. This is a sentiment sorely lacking in low budget scifi right now thanks to the success of schlocky crap like Megashark vs. Giant Octopus and even Ande Aja's recent Piranah 3D.

Luckily Darren Dickerson, writer/director of the Expendables meets Doom mash-up, D4, subscribes to the del Toro way of thinking. So, while his vision is sometimes hampered by money constraints there is more than enough good writing, smart filmaking, frights and fun in here to overcome them. Oh yeah, and mutants that will just NOT go down!

The story of D4 may not be totally new, but at least it's a classic set up I never get tired of. A rag-tag team of mercenaries are brought together to infiltrate D4, an abandoned top-secret military base in the wilderness where a millionair thinks her son is being held. He suffere from a rare form of epilepsy, so the team are told to administer his drgs when they find him.

Cut to the story of old man Dalton, a grandfather who is stalking the wilderness in search of his young grandson. Also and epilepsy sufferer, his grandson was administered new drugs that increased his anger so much he was taken away all together. Now grandpa has gone all green beret and is working to get into the facility to find out the truth.

Eventually these two stories collide to reveal the ultimate secret of D4 and a twist ending that I genuinely didn't see coming.

You can tell that Dickerson grew up on brawny films full of one liners and modern day cowboys. Maybe there's something in the air right now, but the film's early 90s straight to VHS roots really hit a cord with me and I was totally in tune with where the film wanted to take me. I liked spending time with these characters. And even though the acting wasn't always top notch, good chemisty between the cast gives D4 a real-life quality that helps you like these characters and care what happens to them on their journey.

The film needed more mutants though. There's a great showdown between the team and a really tough one in the woods prior to entering the facility, but instead of giving us a glimpse of what was coming it ends up being the main event. If the facility was crawling with weird ass mutants around every corner, it would have really propelled the last act into the stratosphere. As it stands there's still good tension and pacing as well as an emotional payoff, but in this kind of film you really need a ton of straight up gun-on-mutant action. Who knows though, maybe we'll get a sequel...

D4 really took me back to my late night cable days, when low budget movies with soul got to live a good life on TV and you wer always stumbling upon underground genre flicks that you grew to love. Luckily Netflix and VOD are here to replace those days, so keep an eye out for D4. If you're a cult junkie, you'll definitely dig it.

Buy a copy of D4 here.

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