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The Full Moon Fathers

average rating is 3 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Apr 20, 2023

Film Reviews
The Full Moon Fathers
Directed by:
Sean Cranston
Written by:
Sean Cranston
Michael F. Hayes, Paul Sacchetti, Stephen Croce

The Full Moon Fathers combines a grizzly biker setting and supernatural brutality, with a chunk of lingering familial trauma to create a survival horror thriller that never quite finds its midnight hour.


In 1979, a biker gang are hiding out in the woods whilst on the run from the cops. After setting a devastating trap which ends the pursuit of the law, the gang leave to celebrate. But when one of their members Chip (Tim Roberts) ends up grievously injured in unknown circumstances, members of the group start to wonder whether the threat comes from one of their own. Little do they know that a much darker external presence hunts them – one with a link to a member’s dark past…


Riding the dissipating wave of Sons of Anarchy’s biker boom, The Full Moon Fathers is an extravagant and enjoyably ruthless horror, but one that gets muddled by far too many characters and a diluted focus on some initially intriguing plotlines. The film raises a number of different premises – a dark force from the past re-emerging, a rift in the gang between rival factions, a police force hunting the group to bring them to justice – but none of these ever really take the mantle of the primary story. The supernatural danger gets most screentime – and given this allows director Sean Cranston to have fun finding increasingly imaginative ways of blowing his cast into tiny pieces, this is at least an entertaining direction. But the various other strands both take away from this storyline but fail to really land their own memorable mark.


There is the element of an anthology as different gang members get a focus. Paul Sacchetti’s Floyd gets a chance to shine as cracks and suspicions start developing in the group. Stephen Croce’s Reggie meanwhile acts as comic relief as a hard-partying delinquent who predictably ends up running into trouble. But whilst the cast give fine, if hammy performances, their limited screentime due to the group’s sheer size mean audiences will only be able to invest in a few of the members before the storylines pile up.


There are some genuinely thrilling moments – particularly the film’s opening as the police seemingly close in on the group. A voiceover from the chief as his officers hunt through a foreboding forest is an impressively constructed sequence that will have viewers on the edge of their seat, and acts as an impressive switcheroo as to who the film’s protagonists are whilst establishing the gang’s nature.


Cinematography throughout is strong and convincingly transports the film’s tone from that of a 70s biker movie to paranormal horror whilst still matching the story developments tonally, such as darkening the lighting and crawling the camera close to the characters to create a sense of claustrophobia at moments of high tension. The film never takes itself too seriously, and the often corny-looking visual effects therefore don’t seriously detract from the action.


Ultimately for its flaws, The Full Moon Fathers is a fun and over-the-top grindhouse-style thriller that lives and dies on its impressively realised aesthetic and graphic violence rather than deep plot or thematic development. On these matters, it lands well. Though a more refined focus on one of its many plot strands may have served the overall film better.

Watch the official trailer for The Full Moon Fathers here.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Theatrical Release, Digital / DVD Release
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