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Panic in Detroit film review

Directed by: Joey Harlow

Written by: Joey Harlow, Benn Perry

Starring: Carrie Bradstreet, Benn Perry, Kevin R. Allen, Molly Cunningham, Michael James Alexander

Poster for Panic in Detroit showing protagonist.
Poster for Panic in Detroit

A serial killer is on the loose, decapitating women.

Rachel (Bradstreet) is giving an interview to Darcy (Cunningham), who works for a crime magazine, about her brother Jake (Allen). Rachel, Jake and Danny (Alexander) are three siblings, who had a traumatic childhood, due to the suffering they endured in the hands of their abusive mother. Now they are adults and the authorities suspect that Jake might be the murderer, because he has a criminal record. The killings continue and the fear and agony rises. Who is the culprit? Who will be the next victim?

This mystery thriller develops into kind of a slasher film and contains elements of child trauma, family values, dysfunctional households and lowlifes. The concept is OK: a maniac is on a killing spree and must be stopped. Unfortunately, the execution is flawed.

To begin with, the acting is not convincing, to say the least. The cast give the impression that they are trying too hard, especially when they are trying to be distressed or angry or even serious and the result is not positive.

Looking at the filmmaking techniques now, the editing often appears clumsy with continuity errors. Regarding the score, it often does not match the situations. Sometimes it is much too dramatic and others it is much too loud and tense.

The screenplay has some interesting characters and the fact that it evolves around murders is intruiging, which is a plus. However, the script does not know whether it means to be serious or ridiculous. For instance, one minute a person is brutally killed, their head separated from their body, blood everywhere and then law enforcement characters get into silly arguments, with the corpse lying nearby. With a duration of nearly two hours, the movie feels overlong, with quite a few scenes that last longer than necessary and others should probably not be there at all, as they do not. And the directing is rather inefficient.

If Panic in Detroit is supposed to be a serious film, then it tries way too hard to be that. The unrealistic acting, over-pensive music and uninspiring script are likely to make people laugh at it. Perhaps this movie should be categorized as a dark comedy, although it would be difficult for it be accepted by the public even as that.

With all these observations in mind, is this feature worth viewing then? If one wants to see it, just to say that they have seen it, then they should go for it. If not, they will probably spend two hours doing something better.



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