Since I've seen Martyrs very recently, I couldn't help but make comparisons to confined slavery and the inevitable deconstruction of humanity to the glorious effects of sensory deprivation. For the sake of a rather straightforward horror film, the underlying erotic themes have been removed and replaced with a higher body count. Perkins' 14 includes a master plan that plays out like one of the future installments of the Saw franchise. Think about it this way, Saw really has nowhere else to go but revisiting characters but even then the fan base will dwindle. So why not include drug-fueled zombie manchildren? To aid the effect of Perkins' 14, a rather delicious "punk" daughter is introduced to the mix and as noted in the recent review of 2008's The Children, these trendy girls only deliver eye candy while the tension builds up rather well. To put it blatantly, I enjoy staring at beautiful girls while I witness police officers getting disemboweled. These two fine points of the American dream just go hand in hand, I guess.
I digress this very same reality that allows low budget horror to take place. I favor a certain charming low budget horror but not the over-produced trite that plays into our DVD shelves with promises of splatter and nudity. While these both are shining portraits of contemporary horror, I find a film with an emotional response to be a better way to "waste time" rather than watching subhuman looking females taking off their shirts revealing subnormal breasts only to get decapitated rather shoddily resulting in some half-painted prop head bouncing on the ground. Perkins' 14 did promise splatter to a degree but also made due with its riveting plot that was constantly shifting faces never allowing you to get bored.
Expect an amendable level of violence, intrigue, and social discussion after viewing this film. It's not anywhere close to being an excellent film but it does uphold a contract to please, entertain, and amuse you with a level of seriousness that couldn't be that serious after revealing the plot in depth. Perkins' 14 is probably the most enjoyable film out of the third After Dark Horrorfest roster and the most visually engaging, especially after admiring the modern exploitation cover art that's handsomely illustrated. PCP fuels a personalized army of unstoppable psycho's to kill for Mr. Perkins after he snaps thanks to a neurotic paranoia. This effort is sustained through promotional tag lines as being lamented as the first film to be produced over the internet. This isn't as exciting as it sounds and certainly doesn't usher in a new era of film making. That, and this film's climax boils down to a disappointing rip-off of Assault on Precinct 13.