FILM REVIEW: TERROR TAKEAWAY
As Halloween swiftly creeps in, horror fans will inevitably be dining on an endless buffet of welcome scares and gory treats. This applies to both foreign and domestic markets, and this year Italy is no exception. Director Alberto Bogo (EXTREME JUKEBOX) will soon be serving his second stab at the horror genre with “TERROR TAKE AWAY”. This bloody satire may be the very first “Pizza-Slasher” or as he describes it “a political horror at GEORGE ROMERO”.
TERROR TAKE AWAY first greets its audience with an opening hook filled with stylish close-ups of a seemingly shattered young woman muttering suicidal tendencies as she reaches for her box of cocaine. After answering a sudden knock at the door, a brusque but silent pizza delivery man soon interrupts her lonely evening. Cue the ominous music, a genuinely frightening home invasion scene and finally, the film’s title card. It’s a great start. A promising opening sequence with interesting visuals, but it deceivingly fails to establish the pace and aesthetic of the remainder of the film.
Despite the visceral tension of the first ten minutes, I eventually realized that the bulk of TERROR TAKE AWAY is actually a horror-comedy. We’re soon introduced to Terrence Parode, a well-to-do tip embezzler and owner of successful pizza chain “Tinto’s Pizza”. Terrence admittedly exploits the urban legend of “Max the Pizza Delivery Killer” to gain media publicity. As he describes these guerrilla marketing stunts in his own words – “If someone orders that pizza, they know they must tip our pizza delivery guy. If they do not tip him, Max will come to avenge him”. After revealing his sleazy motives through this grinning dialogue (classic bad-guy move), we learn that the Tinto’s brand recently took a page out of the Willy Wonka playbook. Five randomly selected people have won an opportunity to compete in an APPRENTICE style contest to be the next employee of the franchise. I did find it both clever and humorous to portray a job at pizza company as the grand prize. Despite knowing next to nothing about the Italian job market, socio-politics or economics, even I could appreciate these satirical jabs.
The exposition heavy sequences of the first act were interesting enough to keep me engaged. However, TERROR TAKE AWAY begins to slow down as it moves forward. After being introduced to our ensemble cast of characters, the second act ( a hearty portion of the film) is a series of reality-TV style games (think MTV’s ROAD RULES, but with pizza) sprinkled with some decent character moments. Considering this, I was often reminding myself this was a horror movie, while I eagerly waited for all of the silliness to pay off.
As expected, Max the Pizza Delivery Killer finally arrives and begins picking off the cast of pizza job hopefuls one by one. At this point, it felt like a completely different film and arguably a better one. The tone, tension and even lighting seem to revert back to the disturbing horror displayed in the opening sequence. I enjoyed the way this new aesthetic was playfully juxtaposed with a handful of schlocky kills soaked in over-the-top gore.
This flick did provide sporadic but well-crafted splatter effects, genuinely fun ideas and a veil of social commentary that wasn’t excessively preachy. However, I found the overall execution to be tonally bi-polar. It comes off as a campy yet competent satire sandwiched between a crust of straight-faced slasher. Its far from the worst slice of horror I’ve gorged myself on, but it could have used a little more consistency and a lot of extra cheese. TERROR TAKE AWAY is scheduled for an Italian theatrical release this Halloween.
“TERROR TAKE AWAY is a campy yet competent satire sandwiched between the crust of a classic slasher”
2.5 Tombstones out of 5….