1-4 - Movie Review: PERKINS' 14Lions Gate Films / After Dark Films

“Think of it as a mercy killing for a sick animal.”

Ten years ago, Officer Dwayne Hooper’s son was abducted, the final victim in a string of fourteen local disappearances. Now, Hooper’s suspicions have been aroused by a prison inmate who bears striking similarities to the purported kidnapper. Hooper finds evidence in the criminal’s apartment and seeks revenge–igniting a wave of carnage that engulfs the town.

Initially I came into watching this entry in the 3rd After Dark Horrorfest expecting something of another imitation of that other George Romero film The Crazies. And…well, it was, but not without a heavy dollop of Assault On Precinct 13 and just a dash of Silence Of The Lambs for that taunt psychological thriller underpinning. I was also expecting sub-par acting and a story that was meandering and edited badly. To be fair, that’s how I usually go into watching any horror movie. It’s a default setting. Makes things more fun that way.

Perkins’ 14 starts off on a slow burn, with officer Dwayne Hopper about to go into work for an overnight shift at the precinct. It’s been ten years since the kidnapping of his son Kyle, and his family is falling apart because of his inability to move ahead with life: His wife is having an affair, and his daughter is a rebellious Goth kid who’s dating Michale Graves. Seriously. That night at the station is relatively quiet…until Hopper realizes that one of the prisoners who goes by the last name of Perkins might be the guy who abducted several children ten years prior…including Kyle. After a bit of psychological quid-pro-quo, Hopper sends another officer over to Perkins’ place of residence, where he finds the caged kids crazed after ten years of psychological torture and whatever else Perkins put then through. He lets them out…good job there, as they immediately go out and begin killing everyone they come across. Now, its up to Hopper to find his wife and daughter and make it back to the station to barricade themselves from certain death. Only…yeah, things don’t seem to work out that easily.

As mentioned, Perkins’ 14 takes a bit to unfold, which gives time to build the story, which is surprisingly potent. Patrick O’Kane, who played Officer Hopper, looks like an emaciated Eric Bana, which lends to credence to the character still being haunted by his son’s abduction. And the first part of the movie, which was the psychological thriller part, was a slow burn building up the tension, until the second part, which was the all-out Crazies-style horror that didn’t shy away from the gore and violence of the situation. The ending, in fact, was one that I preferred, which many probably wouldn’t agree with me. Let’s just say, love does not always conquer all. Yeah. We’ll just leave it at that.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how Perkins’ 14 turned out. It was very well made and, despite the inclusion of the second vocalist for The Misfits, rose above its low budget to deliver a satisfying horror flick. Worth a look-see.