Dir. Brad Sykes (2002)
Partying at an abandoned factory is a really dumb idea, but a bunch of college students decide to do it anyway. Things go about as well as expected when a former factory worker really doesn’t want them there.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
From the writer/director of the first two Camp Blood movies comes this little indie joint, showing how far he’s come from those early SOV days. Blessed with a creepy movie poster and a disgusting main villain, Death Factory is a much gorier slasher than some of Sykes’ earlier work, but it still follows the prototypical narrative and “rules” of the many slashers that came before. Unlike Camp Blood, which was scraping the very bottom of the barrel to Maguyver a coherent film out of little to no resources, Death Factory actually provides the opposite experience: it feels like it costs a lot more than it does, and it feels like it’s a much more put-together film than you usually see from movies like this. There is one scene with a particularly annoying cricket, but I couldn’t determine if it was added in post or if the director just couldn’t find the creature before they started rolling.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to complain about: the acting is wooden, the camerawork is often bewildering, and the writing is lackluster at best. The key thing to remember, though, is that those aren’t uncommon critiques of even the good slasher movies. You’re here for the kills and the bloodshed, and there’s actually a good bit of that to behold in this one. The killer (Tiffany Shepis) is a scantily clad female factory worker with syringe-knives on her hand a la Krueger and metal monster teeth a la Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me. She’s legitimately terrifying and downright menacing, a welcome change from the Party City™ clown mask from Camp Blood. It’s also got Ron Jeremy in a cameo role, which may or may not be a good thing with the recent allegations against him. Thankfully for whichever side you’re on, he dies a pretty gruesome death, in which his still-beating heart is ripped from his chest.
The characters are one-note, each fulfilling a stereotype of whatever gender or ethnic group they represent. They’re fairly entertaining though, and they’re nothing but cannon fodder anyway. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is not attempting to break any new ground. The setting is creepy, giving commercial haunted house vibes and providing plenty of long hallways through which characters can be chased and a multitude of shadowy corners from which evil can pounce. While there are a few things work about the film and a few things that don’t, Tiffany Shepis absolutely makes this movie. She plays a terrifying villain, and despite the low production values of the film is effectively ghastly and has some pretty gnarly kills. All in all, Death Factory is not that bad. It’s a cheap B-movie slasher and never pretends to be anything else. Sometimes that’s enough.
Who this movie is for: B-movie fans, Slasher lovers,
Bottom line: Brad Sykes has learned a thing or two about crafting an actually-scary movie since his Camp Blood days. The video quality is not bad, akin to Full Moon films that were made around twenty years earlier, and the acting is a little bit worse than Charlie Band’s output. The writing is terrible but the gore is not, and Death Factory is an effective and grisly slasher despite its many shortcomings. If you’re a slasher fan, you could definitely do a lot worse than this one, and it’s a must-see for Tiffany Shepis fans.