Movie Reviews 260 – Perkins’ 14 (2009)

Perkins 14Despondent over his son Kyle’s abduction over ten years ago, constable Dwayne Hopper (Patrick O’Kane) leads a despairing life with a mundane marriage and a rebellious teenage daughter. His son’s disappearance was the last of 14 kids who disappeared at the time, victims of a serial abductor and a crime that was never solved. Haunted by the events of that night long ago, he replays the minutiae of what happened over and over in his mind. His obsession has led him to prior false assumptions and accusations in the past, further damaging family bonds and blemishing his career.

While processing local cell inmate Ronald Perkins (Richard Brake) for release for a minor infraction, Dwayne becomes convinced that he is his son’s abductor when he lets slip some unrevealed information and some of his statements turn out to be outright lies. When two constables sent to the Perkins household to check out Dwayne’s outlandish claims fail to respond, Dwayne goes to investigate himself.

Not only do Dwayne’s suspicions turn out to be accurate, but Perkins’ crimes go far beyond mere abduction. As Dwayne peruses videotapes found in a secret lair he learns that the kids, now absent, have not only been kept penned all these years, but that Perkins, a pharmacist, has been subjecting his captives to a cocktail of drugs that have transformed them. As Dwayne and the entire town of Stone Cove soon learn, the Perkins’ 14 now under zombie like trances, are intent on inflicting Perkins’ revenge on the town.

While the beginning storyline is solid, has great characters, presents a fairly original plot and promises a great movie, the latter half deteriorates into a cliché zombie onslaught. After developing complementary side plots tackling marital infidelity, teenage insecurities and other daily grind complications, once the kids run rampant the focus quickly becomes the story of the detached and trapped group trying to escape the mindless horde. Some of the central conflicts still remain, but it’s mostly about dealing with locked doors, crawling through ductwork and the other usual shenanigans of entrapment.

The fact that we know that one of the rampant kids is Kyle is enough to figure out where the story leads (and the inevitable conclusion). Not a terrible movie by any stretch, but it could have been so much better if it didn’t fall into the well trodden zombie path. Also sad that they could not come up with a title that doesn’t give away one of the main questions posed until it is divulged that Perkin’s is the real culprit.

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