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Teacher Shortage

USA 2020
produced by
Troy Escamilla, Derek Huey, Keith Gillis (executive), Matt W. Kiracofe (executive), Brad Sleurink (executive) for Fright Meter Films, Huey House
directed by Troy Escamilla
starring Chris Jehnert, Debra Lamb, David E. McMahon, Roger Conners, Kaylee Williams, Michael Tula, Samantha Marie, Brinke Stevens, Mel Heflin, Tamara Glynn, Julie Anne Prescott, Ashley La Porta, Joe Grisaffi, Maye Harris, Rebecca Torrellas, Dan Braverman, Dave McClain, Bronson Bramlett, Loree Marloe
written by Troy Escamilla, music by Guthrie Lowe, special effects by Kristi Boul

review by
Mike Haberfelner

After being bullied too hard at high school, a student locks herself into the girls' room and commits suicide - but that was 10 years ago, and things have moved on since then. In fact, it's the start of a new school year at the school above, and like every year, Sue Steel (Debra Lamb) has invited all her colleagues from the English department over for a get-together, something that's appreciated by some - like newbie teacher Ryan (Chris Jehnert), young and self conscious Lauren (Kaylee Williams) and busybody Alice (Samantha Marie) - but not all - like alcoholic veteran teacher James (David E. McMahon) and womanizer Brandt (Michael Tula). So if the evening was a success really depends on everyone's interpretation of success - and that's before a killer has gained access to Sue's place and starts slaughtering all those who stray from the main group without the others noticing. And he carries with him the yearbook of the high school from 10 years ago, when above girl killed herself ...

Iconic scream queen Brinke Stevens and horror veteran Tamara Glynn can be seen in fun cameos in this one, too.

 

Now Teacher Shortage isn't the film to reinvent the slasher genre, and it probably hasn't set out to be - but staying within genre confines, it does a really great job making its story more interesting and relatable than your usual slasher, enriching it with diverse and fleshed-out characters who are given enough space to develop and thus make into more than just cannon fodder. And of course, a strong cast that also includes several genre favourites doesn't hurt one bit. Also, director Escamilla seems to take quite some inspiration from Italian giallo cinema from the 1970s and early 80s regarding his use of music and the rather stylish (yet pretty gruesome) murder scenes, which is a quality too rarely seen in today's cinema and certainly adds to this movie's charm.

Well worth a look for sure!

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD