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Arrow Video FrightFest 2018: Lasso review

You’ll be afraid to visit the rodeo after this bloody good horror romp.

Lasso
Credit: Epic Pictures / Dragonfly Films

Kit (Lindsey Morgan) and Simon (Andrew Jacobs) chaperone a group of senior citizens on a day trip to a rodeo. Taking in all the joys the small-town rodeo has to offer, the group is horrified when they witness a woman get murdered. Kit tears away with the seniors in the bus, trying to get them to safety, accidentally leaving Simon behind at the rodeo. Simon is captured by a group of sadistic cowboys and he finds himself thrown in with a group of victims including one-armed cowboy Ennis (Sean Patrick Flanery), rodeo Queen Rosheen (Heather Mignon) and bull rider Trish (Skyler Cooper). As Simon and his new friends try to get to safety, Kit’s escape is foiled when the bus breaks down leaving her group vulnerable and easy targets.

Lasso is a Western-themed horror from director Evan Cecil. It’s a fun romp that veers closer to the torture porn genre than the good old-fashion slasher flick. The film wastes little time getting into the inevitable cat and mouse chase between the antagonisers and the victims, and that’s one of its strengths. With so many characters featured in the film, there’s very little time for character development so as long as you accept that, there’s plenty here to enjoy.

Lasso

Credit: Epic Pictures / Dragonfly Films

Essentially built around a series of set pieces, Lasso had me hooked from the very beginning. I’ve seen a lot of horror films in my time but never have I shouted so loudly at the screen so many times throughout one. I found myself really embracing the spirit of the film and I have to admit that a handful of the death scenes left me feeling a little queasy. Word of warning, this film is definitely not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. Once Simon and Kit are separated, the tension rises quickly and Lasso has some marvellous edge-of-the-seat moments. It’s very intense and you’ll be surprised at who lives and who survives.

Where Lasso falls down is in its dialogue. Writer Roberto Marinas attempts to flesh out the characters a little but it doesn’t really work. Instead those moments leave way for unintentional hilarity. At one point a character asks another one for a date, while they’re hiding out terrified they are about to be murdered. Another moment sees two characters decide to have a heart-to-heart, even though time is running out for them to rescue their friend. There are also some very odd dialogue decisions such as one character suggesting (with a straight face) that maybe they could email someone for help. Seriously? Email?!?

Lasso

Credit: Epic Pictures / Dragonfly Films

Despite the lack of character development there are some great performances here. The 100’s Lindsey Morgan, who is always watchable, is brilliant as Kit and Andrew Jacobs shows a lot of promise as Simon. I developed a real soft spot for the excellent Karen Grassle, best-known for Little House on the Prairie, who steals the show as Lillian, one of the seniors on the day trip. It’s also a joy to Sean Patrick Flanery who makes a very odd character work and seem completely normal amongst the madness.

Lasso is incredible fun. It’s scary, it’s gory and it’s utterly compelling. If you take the film for what it is – a violent rollercoaster of a horror film – you’ll absolutely love it. Had the script been a bit tighter, the film would have been even better but as it is, Lasso has enough charm to satisfy even the most discerning horror buffs. Take my word for it, the film is a real hoot.

LASSO – FRIGHTFEST EXCLUSIVE from FrightFest on Vimeo.

Cast: Sean Patrick Flanery, Lindsey Morgan, Andrew Jacobs, Karen Grassle, Thomas Cokenias, Heather Mignon, Travis Andre Ross, Morgan Benoit, Tim Lajcik, Skyler Cooper Director: Evan Cecil Writer: Roberto Marinas Certificate: TBC Duration: 97 mins Released by: Epic Pictures / Dragonfly Films

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