"Cross Bearer wallows in its seamier aspects and turns up the volume when it comes time for a hammer claw to extract itself from flesh after a kill."
by Rob Rector
There are many things you can overlook as a film reviewer if you know the people behind the camera have a clue.
Such is the case for Cross Bearer, a seedy little indie horror flick that may have several shortcomings, but all which can be overlooked by the fact that you can feel the appreciation of the horror and grindhouse genres the film so skillfully captures.
It’s community-theater-league acting, meandering transitions and poor sound quality are certainly speedbumps that must be hurdled, but once they are, hang on and have fun, because it’s apparent that writer/director Adam Ahlbrandt certainly is. As the title suggests, religious zealotry drives our main madman here, as he is hell-bent on showing our cast the err of their sinful ways, usually with the working end of a hammer right across the skull.
Throughout, characters and dialogue suggest that Ahlbrandt is certainly knowledgeable about the films the laid the grue-soaked trail for him to follow. Our killer wears a potato-sack mask (much like “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” and the second “Friday the 13th.” He makes his way through the cast like a jungle guide hacking his way through the rainforest. Heads were reduced to little more than a gelatin dessert, ample breasts and butts are exposed throughout, and it may seem like just another flick in which he convinced hot chicks to expose themselves and make out with one another on camera. But then, one scene in particular won me over.
Our main heroine Heather (played by Natalie Jean, who's a far cry from the Jamie Lee Curtis school of slasher queens and resembles more of a tatted-up stripper who owns her sexuality) launches into a speech that references Eyes Wide Shut (of all films) and why the masses clamor more for the very breasts and buckets of blood horror films (just like this one) deliver. In other words, she, and the film, knows its audience and is prepared to give them the money shot.
Cross Bearer wallows in its seamier aspects (prostitution, stripping, drugs, etc.) and turns up the volume when it comes time for a hammer claw to extract itself from flesh after a kill. It’s no-nonsense and lean at just over an hour in length.
It’s also unapologetically trashy fun, but it’s got enough knowing winks and nods to the audience to let us more seasoned slasher vets know that, like it’s mangy-haired killer believes, Cross Bearer provides us something to believe in.Share: