An everyday, blue-collar, working, middle-class American named Hunter Isth is watching his young daughter Angela play hopscotch in the road. He urges her to hurry and get ready, because they have places to be. She looks so cute, so he allows her to continue to play, although he knows they’re running out of time. He looks away for a second, but it is a second too long. Suddenly, his beautiful daughter is struck by a car full of drunk party-goers. Hunter leaves town and is never heard from again, but his story becomes a ghost tale spoken by kids for years to come. In present day, a daring bunch of friends decide to spend the weekend together camping near by the supposed site of Hunter Isth. Although the girls are afraid, their male companions assure them that it’s simply an old tale, and there is nothing to fear. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Punishment is one of the scariest films I’ve seen in years. What makes me even happier is that it’s a newer film with a low budget, proving that new, scary slashers are possible, and that it doesn’t take a ridiculously large amount of money to make a good movie. Too many times have I paid for, and sat through a supposedly scary movie, only to be disappointed and bored. In my opinion, too many newer horror films, especially the ones in mainstream theaters, focus so much on the drama that they forget to make it scary. However, in this film, there is a perfect balance. Movies like Punishment deserve to be in theaters, because they give the audience what they paid for: terror.
The special effects are extremely realistic, which horror fans will appreciate. There’s not a ridiculous amount of gore, but not so little that the audience is left wondering what the injury was, either. The result is graphic violence so true-to-life that you’ll wonder if what you just watched was real. The death scenes are just as inventive as they are lifelike. In a genre where hundreds of deaths have occurred, creating new moments of panic are challenging, to say the least. Christopher has literally taught an old dog new tricks with this film. Through the use of old, simple, household tools, he has constructed an original camping trip gone wrong. He’s really captured what made old killers like Michael Myers so terrifying–the idea that such gruesome acts could happen to anyone.
They could even happen to Jenn, the illness-ridden main character, who you’d think would be off limits from pain due to her weak nature. The fact that her character is put in harm’s way proves that no one is safe, and everyone is fair game.
Jason Christopher’s goal for this film was to give new audiences an old school slasher, and he succeeded. Punishment is on a par with Friday the 13th. This film is not only scary, but it provides fans of the genre with a new, substantial serial killer that stays with you after the credits roll.
Jason Christopher can be contacted through twitter @JayJayMay @DownTheRoadfilm and facebook http://www.facebook.com/DownTheRoadFilm