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Film4 Frightfest: The Last Showing review

Robert Englund terrifies a young couple in their local cinema.

Stuart (Robert Englund) was a former theatre projectionist who has now been downgraded to a cinema kiosk assistant. With superiors much younger than him, Stuart is constantly told what to do and he grows ever more resentful with each passing day. One evening, he volunteers to work the night shift. But he plans to make his own horror movie by trapping a young couple attending a midnight screening in the empty cinema, and then forces them to take part in a sadistic game of cat and mouse.

The Last Showing as a concept is quite brilliant. Anyone who’s ever spent a discernible amount of time at a multiplex can identify that it’s a great alternative environment for a horror film. Filmed at the Vue cinema in Cheshire Oaks, this impressively cavernous cinema is a wonderful setting to have some fun with. Sadly, that’s where the fun ends. The rest of the movie is poorly conceived and executed, relying on cliché after cliché to do the heavy lifting. Not even Freddy Krueger can help salvage this.

the last showing

Robert Englund is always brilliant and he is clearly too good for the material at hand. He doesn’t let this affect his performance though, and he easily sells the concept very well. His devilish charm and smirks are brilliant and his general demeanour is one that demands your attention. He deserves a lot more.

Now this is horror, so a healthy level of disbelief needs to be suspended in order for any film to work. But even allowing for this concession, The Last Showing really does flirt with the ridiculous far too often to make any of this stick. Why would Martin not contact the police straight away, why wouldn’t he even discuss this situation with his girlfriend when an opportunity to escape presents itself and why are we still getting horror films with poor dialogue and characterisation? Surely a post-Scream world has allowed a greater freedom for horror writers to cultivate something less hokey and predictable.

the last showing

Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones is dealt a bad hand here. The role of Martin is weak from the offset and doesn’t afford him any opportunity to make a lasting impression. Emily Berrington, fresh from her successful stints in 24: Live Another Day and The Inbetweeners 2, also can’t do anything with the role of Allie given how poor it is to start with. Again, the actors aren’t really at fault here, it’s the quality of the script.

Some good ideas then, but ultimately, The Last Showing failed to take the initiative with its solid, clever and relatable concept. This is such a shame given the potential. Poor dialogue and Hollyoaks-esque acting doesn’t help but genre fans can revel in the fact that Englund, the master of nightmares, can still turn on the chill factor at will.


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