A comedy horror written and directed by Antonio Pantoja, One Must Fall has a strong premise and a game cast but fails to balance comedy and horror well. It stars Julie Streble, Andrew Yackal, Barry Piacente, Daniel de Weldon and John Wells.
Set in the late 80s, we are introduced to Sarah, a single working mother who just happens to have one of the sleaziest bosses seen in modern horror in some time. She can handle him though as her work makes her invaluable to the struggling company. That is, until a mistake results in her getting fired.
Her best friend Alton, disgusted by these events, quits in support and together the pair set about looking for work. Eventually, settling on getting some money by doing a short stint as crime scene cleaners.
Unfortunately for them, and his victims, a serial killer is on the loose and the scenes of his crimes are very messy indeed. The freshest is a real bloodbath and just so happens to be in a huge, abandoned warehouse. Of course, the killer is long gone, right?
That there is what makes One Must Fall a stimulating take on the tired slasher genre. We’re not following the usual rules here and the premise/set-up is genuinely excellent. As is the introduction to the characters, who get a little time to breathe, even if most are walking caricatures. Yet, when the horror starts, a lot of what you expected from certain characters doesn’t happen and it almost makes them feel more real.
Will you care about their fate? That’s hard to say. Mainly because the movie tries to subvert all expectations which means killing off characters you would expect to make it to the final act and keeping other alive who should have been the first to go. This doesn’t make a lot of sense but importantly, makes it hard to invest in them.
Who cares about that though, right? It’s a slasher and all anyone wants to see is slashing. Blood will be shed, and One Must Fall has a lot of blood to spare. Notable by its gruesome intro, the crime scenes, and the unfeeling actions of the killer.
Yet, again, this is an area where One Must Fall begins strongly but stumbles heavily as it goes on. The pacing of deaths is off. One moment, characters are killed quickly then we slow down to a crawl as the killer gets chatty with another. This doesn’t just apply to the ‘final girl’ character either. The final third of the movie is incredibly drawn out and starts to become quite boring.
Thankfully, a macabrely funny ending manages to recover things nicely ensuring One Must Fall goes out on a high.
For offering something mildly fresh in a sub-genre that has nothing left to offer, One Must Fall deserves a lot of praise. Add some good comedy moments, a very good cast and plenty of blood and guts and it’s clear this is a movie well worth checking out.
One Must Fall (2018)
The Final Score - 6.5/10