With each year in the After Dark Horrorfest, the films get a bit more unique and satisfying. Although many of them still suffer their flaws, I find I have lots of respect for a majority of the releases. This includes "Perkins' 14". This is a film where conceptionally (like many of its peers this year) the film is far greater than its actual performance, and although it definitely could have used a few fixes here and there, is pretty solid on the watch.
"Perkins' 14" deals with a police officer father whose son had been abducted 10 years prior in a string of 14 missing children cases that was never solved. As he continues to deal with his loss (and demise of his family situation) a strange encounter with jailed man named Perkins unleashes a series of horrific events that rocks the town to its knees and brings the father one step closer to finding his lost son (and the other 13 children).
Pretty cool concept eh? I think so too and honestly its the one reason to really watch this film. It's concept is very clever and pretty unique. The first half of the film focuses on the father figure and his family as it tells the story of the missing children within flash backs. The acting is decent all around, although some scripting issues tend to forego and around what could have been some even greater moments. In fact, that's where most of my problems with "Perkins' 14" come into play. There is a lot of build up in the first half with lots of hints towards these things that Perkins did to the children and who he was, but the last half of the film tends to feel like a rushed together zombie flick that never answers a lot of questions.
For example, a large plot device that was built up was Perkins' connection with the judge and his release from jail. But it never explained why this mysterious monster of a man would have this connection or why it was so very important. It simply gets lost in the chaos of the second half. There are many very interesting plot points that are ignored this way and as an intelligent viewer I felt let down that they didn't quite give me what I wanted to see/hear. It felt like a cop out of giving us more for the sake of 'letting us make up our own minds'. I wasn't buying it.
Other than most of the odd plot movements and choices, this was a pretty solid film. Some odd choices and some moments that could have been built up (some of the deaths are just sort of written off at the end and the emotional aftermath wasn't ever really shown) hindered the second half even more than it could have been. I wanted to know more about Perkins and his connections to everyone and I wish they would have built him up a bit more as a major player. Too bad really, cause had they done that and fixed a few flaws here and there this would have been a modern classic with its concept and pretty solid elements.
Written By Matt Reifschneider