Horror News Network “Lost After Dark” – Review

Rating: 8 out of 10


Synopsis: In this clever homage to 80’s slasher films, a group of teenagers looking to party get stranded when their ride breaks down, and end up being stalked by a cannibalistic killer.


Our Thoughts: ‘Lost After Dark’ is one of the best homages to the 80’s I’ve ever seen. It captures the spirit of the slashers of the time, and adds it’s only touches with amusing characters.


The story starts with a glimpse of a teen being murdered in the 70’s by a mysterious killer. The film then fast-forwards to 1984. A group of kids get together following a dance and head to a cabin for a party, when their bus breaks down near the original murder took place. Meanwhile, the killer had taken his home back from the current resident of the house, creating the worst situation possible for the teens. When they take refuge in the empty house and begin to discover the secrets of the owner, things take a creepy turn.


Considering the fact that this is a throw-back slasher, the acting is great. Robert Patrick gives an amusing performance as Mr. C. Elise Gatien gives is outstanding as terrified teen Jamie. From 80’s style music, to big hair, the film captures the styles and charm of the era. The technology limitations of the time are played up with a few seconds of “missing reel”. A good amount of gore, along with a mix of classic style slasher kills with creative new ones, make this horror flick an entertaining way to spend a Saturday night for any horror fan!


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Local Filmmakers Revisit a Gory Cinematic Decade

While the 1980s might be most commonly associated with new wave, hair metal and Sylvester Stallone sequels, it was also the decade of the slasher film, with fictitious characters such as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger becoming household names. While the decade and its accompanying splatter-filled genre have been the subject of both satire and tribute, a new film courtesy of a local director and producer is making waves as being one of the most authentic representations of the ‘80s slasher genre in quite some time.


Recently, The Suburban spoke with director Ian Kessner and producer Eric Gozlan to find out about their new retro film, Lost After Dark, which was recently released by Anchor Bay on DVD and Blu-ray.
“After Scream, which was amazing, you just had so many bad imitators,” says Kessner of the state of throwback horror films over the last two decades. “I wanted to make it feel like you were actually in the theatre, in the ‘80s, watching the movie.”


The film takes place during spring, 1984, as a group of teens sneaks away from their high school dance, only to stumble across a rundown farmhouse which just so happens to be the home of Junior Joad; a cannibal killer from an urban legend. After the brutal murder of one of their friends, the group seeks only to survive the night. “We though it would be fun to do something that’s authentic and that really captures these films with a bit of a contemporary feel as well,” says Gozlan.


Kessner and Gozlan, who grew up in and around Côte-Saint-Luc, are admittedly both horror fans, with Kessner especially bordering on the edge of fanaticism from a very early age. “My mother’s water broke while she was watching Whatever Happened to Alice, so I basically kicked out in the middle of a horror film,” he says.


With a clear vision in mind, Kessner says he was given more or less free reign from Gozlan.


“We had a tight schedule, we only had so much money but we got it done,” says Kessner. “Eric let me just do my thing.”


Because the film is a Canadian production made possible partially because of Heritage Fund investment, only one non-Canadian actor could be featured in the film and that would end up being none other than silver screen veteran Robert Patrick — best known for his roles in Terminator 2, The X Files and the current From Dusk Till Dawn TV series on Netflix.


“We love Robert,” says Kessner. “He was our first choice. We had him for four days. He really loved the script and got the material and understood the tome right away. He had very light days. It worked out well. We didn’t bring him in here and work him like a dog. The guy is a pro.”


After his last day on set, Kessner says that Patrick had a particularly funny encounter with a random patron in a nearby diner.


“Somebody looked up and said, ‘Hey, you look like the Terminator,’ and Robert answered, ‘I AM the terminator.’ The whole place went bananas.”


Filmed in Sudbury, Ontario, Kessner says Lost After Dark follows in the rich tradition of Canadian-produced horror.


“So many of the slashers from the golden age were actually Canadian productions, pretending to be American, which I thought was really fun,” he says. “That was part of the in-joke of Sudbury playing the location of Michigan. There’s a scene in the movie where [a character proclaims] ‘This is America!’”


“Standoff” Trailer With Laurence Fishburne and Thomas Jane

Laurence Fishburne is one of the most versatile actors working today. Which is why it looks interesting to see him playing a type of character that he hasn’t really tackled before in the trailer forStandoff. He seems to go full sadistic psycho pretty well.


Thomas Jane co-stars in the film from Adam Alleca. No release date yet.



Combat veteran Carter Greene (Jane) lives alone in a rustic farmhouse where he grieves the death of his young son and the resulting failure of his marriage. Meanwhile, Bird is an orphan who’s experienced too much loss for somebody so young. As Bird mourns her parents on the anniversary of their death, she watches a professional assassin storm the graveyard and kill a group of funeral goers. Terrified, Bird springs into the woods, followed closely by the sadistic assassin Sade (Fishburne). She eventually takes shelter in Carter’s farmhouse, where Carter vows to protect her and avenge the murder of her family.


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Director Ian Kessner Talks “Lost After Dark”

Director Ian Kessner delivered in his inaugural full-length feature, Lost After Dark (review), an 80’s throwback to the heyday of the slasher phenomenon, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us about the film, its conception, and what he’s got planned for the future, so settle in and enjoy!


DC: Can you just give us a brief outline of the story and how you came to direct the film?


IK: Sure. The film is set in 1984 and was written as an homage to the golden age of slasher films in the early 80’s. It revolves around a group of high school seniors who discover an old house that belongs to a cannibal killer from an urban legend. Things go downhill fast for them after that. I came to direct the film by first finding and optioning the first draft off my co-writer on the project, Bo Ransdell. Then we wrote a bunch of drafts together, after which I got the script to producer Eric Gozlan and his company, Goldrush Entertainment. Eric brought in a Northern Ontario film fund that helped subsidize the film. Together Eric and I then raised the private equity needed to complete the financing. Finally we got into production, and I was able to focus on being creative and get to directing, which for me is the most fulfilling part.


DC: What can fans of the great 80’s slasher films expect from this movie?


IK: They can expect to see an old wine packaged in a new bottle. Lost After Dark takes all the familiar genre tropes and then subverts them so it feels fresh. We tried to capture the look and spirit of slasher classics like Friday the 13th, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine, and so many others whose DNA populate this film. It’s really a love letter to them. And if past screenings are any indication, fans will laugh and scream and have a really fun time.


DC: You’ve written, produced, and directed – which do you feel is the most personally rewarding?


IK: Writing brings its own pleasure. You get to lose yourself in another world. Producing is a thankless job. I only do it because I have to. I’m still an indie filmmaker, and nobody is offering me director-for-hire gigs on fully financed features… yet. I also like being a producer so I know what toys I’ll have at my disposal on set and there’s no surprises. Directing is my true passion. I graduated with my Masters in directing from the American Film Institute, and I’ve been working toward directing my first feature ever since. So us discussing Lost After Dark, which is now available across North America, feels like a dream. Equal parts amazing and surreal, and I couldn’t be more grateful.


DC: After the release of Lost After Dark, what can we look forward to from you in the future?


IK: Bo and have a few projects percolating. One is a remake of the 80’s cult classic Waxwork, and we have the original writer/director Anthony Hickox on board to exec produce it. Now we have to get Lionsgate on board. There’s also a script for Lost After Dark 2, which is a sequel to this film, only set in the 90’s against the background of the grunge rock scene. If the first one does well enough, we can get that made, so go buy or rent it today! Then there’s a couple of other goodies, but I need to keep them under wraps until they are further along. I’d like to add that if people see the film and like it, they can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and please post and share the good buzz with their friends. Little films like ours need all the support from the fans they can get!


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