Horror Club: Made Me Do It
Madness comes in many forms; not every psychopath killer is a big, buff masked man or able to jump in and out of your nightmares with a knife covered glove. Sometimes the craziest ones are the ones who look just like you & me. Such is the story of Thomas - a mentally unstable young adult who escapes from a mental institution and wrecks havoc on the small community in a new-to-streaming film entitled MADE ME DO IT. Writer and director Benjamin Ironside Koppin - along with writer Matthew John Koppin - tell a deranged story of a young man who is driven to insanity, as well as some of the people who are affected by his madness. It's a disturbing, dark descent into madness and a unique, totally awesome ode to the classic slasher films we've grown to love over the years. Made Me Do It will have you tense throughout its quick hour and a half run time, and leave you unsettled deep into the night after watching it; a clear sign this is one flick you're going to want to sit back and watch.
There's two stories being told throughout Made Me Do It: that of Thomas (Kyle Van Vonderen), who has been pushed to insanity through the mental and physical torture of his aunt and classmates, as well as the story of siblings Ali (Anna B. Shaffer) and Nick (Jason Gregory London), who have the house to themselves as this crazy ass night goes underway. The film bounces back and forth between the stories, giving us just enough backstory into Thomas' disturbing and saddening past with his family as we get to briefly know Ali and Nick... oh yeah, and Jason (Liston Spence), some long haired dude who's been trying to get in Ali's pants for years apparently. Thomas' story is a sad one, showing us signs that the mentally challenged man was harassed not only by his classmates but especially by his aunt who took him in after the tragic death of his parents. Through her awful actions and treatment towards Thomas, she eventually molds him into the psychopath he becomes as he hides behind a mask that was hand drawn onto a paper plate. And unfortunately for the three people at Ali's house, he - or she, rather - is out for some bloody revenge in Made Me Do It. It's up to the victims to figure out how to stop him, and the secret may lie in their pasts.
Right off the bat, one of the things I loved about this film was the constant flashback footage you're exposed to in regards to Thomas and his severely upsetting upbringing and treatment; throughout the movie, there's pretty constant back and forth scenes of Thomas being bullied, beaten, degraded, put down, and even starved by his caretaker, aunt Shannon (Elain Rinehart). There's also a decent amount of footage of Thomas just being Thomas in his small world inside of his room, dancing around in his underwear to music and making drawings to go along with his stories. By the end of the film, you'll undoubtedly understand just how this poor guy was pushed into the insanity he bears, and it's a dark reminder of just how disgusting and saddening humans can be towards other humans. Without any disrespect to any of the other cast members in the film, who all do a pretty phenomenal job in their respective roles as victims or evil aunts, Kyle Van Vonderen's portrayal of the mentally disturbed Thomas makes him the star of the show as he dons his creepy hand drawn Barbara mask and descends on the town to draw a little blood. Van Vonderen does a mind blowing portrayal of a man battling the voices inside of his own mind, while still trying to listen to the innocence on his shoulder telling him what he's doing is wrong. That couldn't have been an easy mindset to have to place yourself into during filming, and the performance absolutely gives the film extra points in the long run.
Then again, there's not really anything to not like about Made Me Do It: if you grew up loving the classic slasher films just like myself, this film will be right up your alley. I say this because it tells the story that most of those other films needed sequels to tell: the story of the actual build-up into the killer character you see on screen. Through Thomas' flashbacks (which you see plenty of), there's absolutely no question as to why or how this poor guy turned out as devious as he becomes after seeing the torment he had to endure from people who showed him nothing but pain. All of this, and it does it in such a brilliantly executed way; the way this story unfolds - as well as the pretty epic twists and turns it takes - makes for one hell of a movie. You'll totally find yourself questioning who you're supposed to be rooting for as Thomas descends on Ali, Nick and Jordan, and it's a roller coaster you're going to want to see to believe. Another thing worth noting is that while this film definitely classifies as a slasher, don't go into it expecting a ton of flashy kills or blood-fest gore; Made Me Do It isn't so much a gore-happy film as much as it is a look into the psychological side effects of degradation, torment, and emotional abuse. While the movie won't exactly share the shit out of you, the ideas it implants in your head will sufficiently haunt you until the end of the film.
This is one film you're going to want to give the time of day if you're looking for something definitely different, and definitely unsettling. It's got some pretty eerie elements mixed with some uneasy scenes of degradation to a mentally disturbed man, and the end result is one twisted, masked killer. It's a unique take on the slasher story, and even if you aren't a big fan of the story or the twists, you'll have to admit that the flashback scenes alone are definitely memorable and excellently executed, alongside Van Vonderen's exceptional performance as Thomas Berkson. The final verdict: definitely worth your time to stream or rent, but remember, just because we say it's a slasher doesn't mean it's a gore-fest. It's bare bones on the gore, but packed with plenty of other elements that will leave you in shock and awe.