Lost After Dark joins a growing sub-sect in the horror genre as a throwback to the slasher films of the 1980's. With the tag-line. “And you thought the 80's were over,” Lost After Dark takes place in 1984 and tells the story of a group of high school teens headed to a cabin for the weekend. A familiar story for sure, but the movie is a good time full of nostalgia and plenty of good ole fashion slashing!
We meet our group of teens in the usual manner as they prepare for a school dance. Of course, they plan on skipping the dance and heading to the cabin without there parents knowing. As the plans unfold we see the group of teens being teens and relationships being established as they talk about sex, make raunchy jokes, and steal a school bus to head to the cabin.
The early goings in the film have very little to no music playing behind the scenes. They are all simply filled with dialogue with the occasional temporary burst of an 80's pop song playing to liven things up and put the 80's era on full display. These scenes are not boring however, the actions of the characters are definitely pushing things forward as they talk. The only time music plays is after the bus runs out of gas on a dark, deserted, road surrounded by woods and we get hints of the group being watched by the killer as they figure out what to do, and it's a deep dreadful score. This reminded me of those slashers from the 80's when music didn't play over every scene in the beginning like they seem to in today's horror films.
With no particular stand out performance, the cast does a solid job and has a decent chemistry together. The group is a believable group of friends and there are no characters who are douchebags; it's a pretty like-able group. So when the bodies start to pile up, we actually kind of care about these folks.
When the group spots an old abandoned, (or so they think), house to spend the night in, there time left alive starts ticking down as they are stalked by a cannibalistic hillbilly killer named Joad. The time spent exploring the house seems to drag on just a tad too long and it slows down the pacing of the film here as not too much happens except the usual pranks and scares the group plays on each other. Throw in a little character development and some shots of the group being watched by the killer and the house exploring sequence is saved from being a real mood killer.
Once the first kill happens the pace picks right back up and it's full on slasher time! The kills provide plenty of blood and gore with a couple of them even making me cringing a bit. One kill in particular involving a broken window and an eyeball was relentless in it's build up and created an “oh shit!” moment. As for the killer, Joad, the film doesn't go out of it's way to hide his appearance too much and it was refreshing not to see a deformed face or half man, half monster appearance, he was just a regular looking human, albeit a very tall, evil, and bearded human, but a human nonetheless.
To add to the 1980's feel of the film, the movie displays a dark yet slightly faded and greyed over picture complete with random film scratches and rough around the edges edits between some scenes. It's a nice touch that is thankfully not overdone. There was one questionable choice showing when film slips off it's reel and melts by projector heat around the 1 hour mark that I did not care for at all. I get the vintage possibility and retro feel they were going for but it was very distracting. Thankfully it was a brief moment and I quickly got over it.
Overall, Lost After Dark should be a satisfying watch for any fan of the classic slashers from the 80's or fans of old school horror in general. It delivers on the feel, the kills, and the fun factor and that's all a horror fan can really ask for.