Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 44m
Director(s): Erik Bloomquist
Writer(s): Erik Bloomquist, Carson Bloomquist
Cast: Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, William Russ, Naomi Grace
Where To Watch: premiering at the 2023 Popcorn Frights Film Festival on August 18, 2023; for more information, visit www.popcornfrights.com
RAVING REVIEW: FOUNDERS DAY offers an unexpected plot twist you didn't see coming. It’s more than just your usual scare fare; it artfully marries the realms of suspense, political drama/satire, and those classic horror elements we all love. The Bloomquist Brothers have a reputation that precedes them, and they deliver in FOUNDERS DAY! They transport us to Fairfield, a quaint New England town amid a new mayoral election. But, much like a scene transition that changes the movie's pace, the celebratory vibes take a dark turn. Political tensions and some spine-chilling happenings cast a shadow over the festivities.
Center stage in this thrilling drama? Allison Chambers (Naomi Grace,) our young scholar whose mysterious ordeal sends shockwaves through Fairfield. While a prime suspect might be under lock and key, the unsettling events are far from over. I promise no spoilers here, but the suspense meter is sometimes off the charts. The audience is left to wonder if the true menace might still be pulling the strings from the dark corners.
Adding layers to FOUNDERS DAY's depth are the cast's excellent performances, including Devin Druid as Adam Faulkner and Amy Hargreaves, who portrays Blair Gladwell. Their on-screen magic and a gripping storyline create an immersive cinematic experience. William Russ (Cory’s dad from BOY MEETS WORLD) as Mr. Jackson may lowkey be one of my favorite performances. Generally speaking, the acting was solid throughout; a few characters felt out of place, but in general, it was well done across the board.
However, every film has room for some touch-ups. While the central plot of FOUNDERS DAY keeps you riveted, a few side stories might seem like they're from a different script altogether. Trimming these outliers could have amplified the central tension and even had us biting our nails more. It would also help with the surprisingly long runtime for a standard horror film.
While the film is a clear homage to the popular horror franchise THE PURGE, there are also a lot of moments that will take you back to the classic 90s horror scene. We’re offered up a mix of SCREAM, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, and a pinch of URBAN LEGENDS all round out the overall feeling of the movie. While the film tries to add some political spice, at its heart, it’s a slasher, and that’s not all bad; usually, horror films centered around holidays (even fictitious ones) are fun.
FOUNDERS DAY offers a flavorful blend for the casual movie-goer and the dedicated genre enthusiast. It's a fun cocktail of thrill, drama, and some contemporary relevance. While missing some marks, the film accomplishes what it's going after, other than editing down some of the unnecessary to help focus the narrative and a few of the lesser believable performances, I can’t think of a lot that I would change; I had a pretty fun experience with the film.
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[photo courtesy of MAINFRAME PICTURES]
MY SAG-AFTRA/WGA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in their current strike. The entertainment industry is built on these individuals' extraordinary talents, and their contributions must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. They deserve fair compensation, sensible work hours, and respect for their creative rights. I believe in the power of unity and collective action, and I'm steadfast in my support for their fight for better working conditions and fair remuneration. Together, we can shape a more equitable future in the entertainment world.
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