Screens

Review: "Plank Face" by Bloomington filmmakers

Plank Face is the sophomore effort of the Bloomington production company, Bandit Motion Pictures

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I can't imagine a bolder film than Plank Face to kick off a renewed focus in NUVO's film reviews — locally made movies.

Plank Face is the sophomore effort of the Bloomington production company, Bandit Motion Pictures, which made its debut last year with the psychosexual thriller, Harvest Lake. While that film focuses on fungal creatures that send campers into a sexual trance, Plank Face follows forest-dwelling cannibals as they seduce people into their tribe.

The feral family kidnaps a camper named Max (Nathan Barrett) and turns him into a primitive beast, complete with the titular mask — a thick piece of bark that makes him look like he sprouted from the earth. Unlike the iconic backwoods bogeyman, Jason Voorhees, this killer's mask is more organic, and his motivation is far more intriguing.

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Harvest Lake and Plank Face are the arthouse responses to the Friday the 13th films. They dig into the sexuality of those slasher flicks to reveal the raw humanity underneath. While Friday the 13th uses sex as a quick catalyst for more sinister behavior, Plank Face pauses to examine its characters' primal urges more closely. It emerges as an exploration of the wild side in everyone — predators and prey.

Co-writer/director Scott Schirmer maintains a slow-burn pace while cinematographer/composer Brian K. Williams hypnotizes us with darkly beautiful imagery and a somber score. Plank Face is a surreal, bewitching spectacle.

The film is currently available to rent on Amazon Instant Video and Vimeo, and you can buy it on DVD and Blu-ray at the Bandit Motion Pictures website. You can also stream it through Amazon Prime starting February 10. It's safe to say you haven't seen anything quite like Plank Face. This film is a shining example of the movie magic at work right here in Indy.

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