Fender Bender
You have got to love 80s horror films full of dim witted teenagers who can't open doors or escape a window when a murderous, slashing stalker is chasing them throughout the night. While most audiences shout at the screen when they see this in modern day horror films, I usually put up a suspension of belief in an understanding that these characters are meant to be completely and utterly useless. They are meant to inject a little humor to the film, a little emotion, but - most importantly - they serve as food for the slaughter. This is exactly how I would describe to anyone Mark Pavia's recent Slasher Fender Bender. 

Fender Bender is an interesting beast as it was co-produced by both ChillerTV and Shout! Factory, with the original June 2016 release premiering on ChillerTV. This is the first film that was released and produced in such a fashion by the two companies, though it did go on to have a limited release on May 23rd, 2016. However, enough about the production and what-not; let's actually talk about this film. 

Fender Bender follows 17 year old Hilary (Makenzie Vega). After being caught in a minor accident with a murderous-innuendo filled, creepy driver who exchanged information with her, she's grounded by her parents and forced to stay home from the show they were going to attend together. After her friends appear for a fun night, they are soon stalked by said Driver in a full leather get-up. 


From the title credits to the way the film is shot, this movie is easily paying homage to classic B-rated 80s horror films. The mood, the shots, the grain; it's all there. The DVD/Blu-Ray even has an option to watch the film in VHS style, letterbox format - which is why this movie is worth a rewatch already. That, and the score from Nightrunner is glorious synth heaven. In other woods, Fender Bender captures the atmosphere of slashers to the T. 

Now, if you're like a lot of other fans of horror that enjoy smart protagonists who do their best NOT to get slaughtered, Fender Bender is not the movie for you. Hilary is the type of teenager who won't call the police even though she has her cell phone right next to her when she thinks there is a stranger in her house. No, instead she grabs a baseball bat and goes hunting for said person. Her friends are the type who will eat a cake that was left on top of Hilary's car by either her cheating ex-boyfriend or possibly the driver who she was in the accident with. These are the type of children you're going to deal with today. 

However, where they lack genius is where hilarity ensues as well. At once you're thinking, "Oh, hey, I kind of like these kids and wish they'd stay alive," but through the course of the film your thoughts will equally change to a wish to see them gutted and die. The way the driver eliminates his prey comes in standard format of classic slasher - uses a knife-blade contraption to stab them multiple times - or he does what Stuntman Mike did in Death Proof and uses his car to terminate. Also, Hilary's one friend looks like Miley Cyrus, so seeing her murdered was so satisfying. 

So, hapless teens, terrifying cars, and a slasher with a knife are all in check. So, now comes the problematic bit: the pacing. I adored Fender Bender for all of it's B-rated glory but there were a couple of parts in the film where it needed to move faster. The tension was built, the timing was perfect, but when I watched the protagonist move for another minute or two throughout the house doing absolutely nothing my attention became limited. The suspense was there but the action needed to happen sooner. 


What I did like about Pavia's vision was his placement of the driver throughout the film. I liked how he would just make the slasher pop in behind the characters and just stand still until the dumbasses actually noticed the guy. Which, of course, then proceeded to make them all freak out. That was great. 

The only cliche that I hated that Pavia used was towards the end of the film. After HIlary beats, slashes, and sets the driver on fire and presumes him dead (y'all know where this is going), she gets on the phone and takes her eyes off the deranged slasher. And, what do you know, she looks back, the slasher is gone, and is now stabbing her. I absolutely hate that bit in any horror film; it's been overdone and should have been replaced with a better scene. 

Still, Pavia and friends have their influences in place and Fender Bender is along the lines of old school direct-to-TV cable horror movies that dominated the eighties. They are fun, stupid, and worth a watch with a bowl of popcorn and some friends right next to you. 
3
Brutal Resonance

Fender Bender

6.0
"Alright"
Genre: Horror, Slasher
Director: Mark Pavia
Writer: Mark Pavia
Star actors: Makenzie Vega, Bill Sage,
You have got to love 80s horror films full of dim witted teenagers who can't open doors or escape a window when a murderous, slashing stalker is chasing them throughout the night. While most audiences shout at the screen when they see this in modern day horror films, I usually put up a suspension of belief in an understanding that these characters are meant to be completely and utterly useless. They are meant to inject a little humor to the film, a little emotion, but - most importantly - they serve as food for the slaughter. This is exactly how I would describe to anyone Mark Pavia's recent Slasher Fender Bender. 

Fender Bender is an interesting beast as it was co-produced by both ChillerTV and Shout! Factory, with the original June 2016 release premiering on ChillerTV. This is the first film that was released and produced in such a fashion by the two companies, though it did go on to have a limited release on May 23rd, 2016. However, enough about the production and what-not; let's actually talk about this film. 

Fender Bender follows 17 year old Hilary (Makenzie Vega). After being caught in a minor accident with a murderous-innuendo filled, creepy driver who exchanged information with her, she's grounded by her parents and forced to stay home from the show they were going to attend together. After her friends appear for a fun night, they are soon stalked by said Driver in a full leather get-up. 


From the title credits to the way the film is shot, this movie is easily paying homage to classic B-rated 80s horror films. The mood, the shots, the grain; it's all there. The DVD/Blu-Ray even has an option to watch the film in VHS style, letterbox format - which is why this movie is worth a rewatch already. That, and the score from Nightrunner is glorious synth heaven. In other woods, Fender Bender captures the atmosphere of slashers to the T. 

Now, if you're like a lot of other fans of horror that enjoy smart protagonists who do their best NOT to get slaughtered, Fender Bender is not the movie for you. Hilary is the type of teenager who won't call the police even though she has her cell phone right next to her when she thinks there is a stranger in her house. No, instead she grabs a baseball bat and goes hunting for said person. Her friends are the type who will eat a cake that was left on top of Hilary's car by either her cheating ex-boyfriend or possibly the driver who she was in the accident with. These are the type of children you're going to deal with today. 

However, where they lack genius is where hilarity ensues as well. At once you're thinking, "Oh, hey, I kind of like these kids and wish they'd stay alive," but through the course of the film your thoughts will equally change to a wish to see them gutted and die. The way the driver eliminates his prey comes in standard format of classic slasher - uses a knife-blade contraption to stab them multiple times - or he does what Stuntman Mike did in Death Proof and uses his car to terminate. Also, Hilary's one friend looks like Miley Cyrus, so seeing her murdered was so satisfying. 

So, hapless teens, terrifying cars, and a slasher with a knife are all in check. So, now comes the problematic bit: the pacing. I adored Fender Bender for all of it's B-rated glory but there were a couple of parts in the film where it needed to move faster. The tension was built, the timing was perfect, but when I watched the protagonist move for another minute or two throughout the house doing absolutely nothing my attention became limited. The suspense was there but the action needed to happen sooner. 


What I did like about Pavia's vision was his placement of the driver throughout the film. I liked how he would just make the slasher pop in behind the characters and just stand still until the dumbasses actually noticed the guy. Which, of course, then proceeded to make them all freak out. That was great. 

The only cliche that I hated that Pavia used was towards the end of the film. After HIlary beats, slashes, and sets the driver on fire and presumes him dead (y'all know where this is going), she gets on the phone and takes her eyes off the deranged slasher. And, what do you know, she looks back, the slasher is gone, and is now stabbing her. I absolutely hate that bit in any horror film; it's been overdone and should have been replaced with a better scene. 

Still, Pavia and friends have their influences in place and Fender Bender is along the lines of old school direct-to-TV cable horror movies that dominated the eighties. They are fun, stupid, and worth a watch with a bowl of popcorn and some friends right next to you. 
Oct 06 2016

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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