"Attack Of The Morningside Monster"
Directed By: Chris Etheridge
Something evil is at work in the sleepy town of Morningside, New Jersey (and, seriously filmmakers, why does Jersey get to have all the fun?). Corpses, strange occult symbols, and a mysteriously masked killer have Sheriff Tom Haulk (Robert Pralgo) and his deputy Kiara (Tiffany Shepis) putting in some overtime to catch a psycho. Unfortunately, they're also dealing with the local drug trade, the Sheriff's friend & his cancer stricken wife, and their own strained relationship. So goes the plot of "AOTMM".
A slasher film at heart, AOTMM sets itself apart from the pack by taking it's sweet time to build exquisite tension and features real characters with real life problems, giving it a very "authentic" feel. Pralgo, who obviously is a skilled actor, lends a very believable shine to the very busy Sheriff role.
Veteran thespian Nicolas Brendon, as Sheriff Haulk's best friend Mark, also really chews up every emotional scene he's in. Shepis, again, proves that she's got some serious acting chops when given an actual role, instead of a "hey! Look! We got Tiffany Shepis!!" cameo spot. She seems to relish the opportunity to play a serious law-woman, and somehow even manages to make an ill fitting uniform look sexy (seems she may have been a teensy bit pregnant--I've heard things...).
This is truly horror done right. Unlike most modern slasher films, AOTMM manages to entertain without buckets of blood, extreme violence and ADD-style editing. A ripe, twisty, and imaginative plot, an excellent cast, superb writing, a really cool mask, and a satisfyingly original twist at the ending, AOTMM is a great example of how all of the former can combine to make indie horror magic! Do yourself a favor and take a trip to New Jersey, just watch your back!
9.5/10--Scream King Tom