Produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, this no-frills exercise in sadistic nastiness was directed by exploitation veteran Gregory Hippolyte, proudly using the pseudonym Gregory Dark he once reserved for making pornographic films. A brief, bloody prologue introduces serial murderer Jacob Goodnight (hulking Glen Jacobs, who wrestles as "Kane"), who tears out his victims' eyes to the tune of "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Police officer Frank Williams (Steven Vidler) rescues a blinded, shrieking victim, but Goodnight hacks off one of Williams' hands before succumbing to a bullet in the head. Four years later, Williams has a prosthetic hand that winds up having no bearing whatsoever on the plot, and is in charge of a ridiculous community-service program that gives eight inordinately attractive prison inmates, four of each sex, the opportunity to shave time off their sentences by cleaning up the once-opulent Blackwell Hotel, a ruin due to reopen as a homeless shelter. Williams is chaperoning the men, while the ladies are ineffectually supervised by Hannah (Tiffany Lamb); no one involved in the prisoner-selection process noticed that tattooed goth girl Kira (Samantha Noble) and volatile jerk Michael (Luke Pegler) have a history she turned state's evidence against him in a drug case that guarantees trouble. After being expressly told by the Blackwell's caretaker (Cecily Polson), that the fire-damaged top floor is off-limits, Michael, Russell (Mikhael Wilder), Zoe (Rachael Taylor) and Melissa (Penny McNamee) make plans to party there after lights out. Richie (Craig Horner) talks Tye (Michael J. Pagan) into helping him find the safe that's supposedly hidden somewhere in the building, and Christina stays behind to comfort Kira after an ugly run-in with Michael. Naturally, the Blackwell is a maze of secret passageways, tripwires and two-way mirrors and, also needless to say, Goodnight is not dead, despite the maggot-filled bullet hole in his head. He quickly begins dispatching the interlopers in various gory ways. First-timer Dan Madigan's screenplay has the rhythms of a particularly simplistic video game snoop, surprise!, run/scream while Hippolyte's direction is 100% free of the bizarre inventiveness that made him notorious as half of the adult-movie team the Dark Brothers. Hippolyte subsequently reinvented himself first as a director of baroque erotic thrillers and then as music-video maestro to pop tarts like Britney Spears, but stalk-and-slash horror for all its porn-movie rhythms appears to have defeated him.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: R
- Review: Produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, this no-frills exercise in sadistic nastiness was directed by exploitation veteran Gregory Hippolyte, proudly using the pseudonym Gregory Dark he once reserved for making pornographic films. A brief,… (more)