I’m not sure what drew me to Exeter. But whatever it was, I’m pleased at the outcome. Exeter does a fantastic job of establishing a tone and sticking with it. As Exeter is a straight up horror film, well technically its a Supernatural Horror film. Though the exact nature of what’s going down was a little confusing and a couple of the actors were a tad inconstant with their deliveries, overall I liked this film. Probably more than I should have if I’m to be completely honest. Than again, I never claimed to have refined tastes.
Exeter opens with a woman, shooting up right before blowing her brains out. We’re then treated to the history of Exeter School of the Feeble Minded. Which treated children with mental and behavioral problems… in an era when those things weren’t understood in such a way for there to be proper treatments. So they were subjected to the horrors that comes naturally at those places. Though after the treatment of the children was made public, the school was shut down and the building abandoned. We then jump ahead, Exeter is looking at being reopened as a youth center by Father Conway (Stephen Lang). He’s been assisted by Patrick (Kelly Blatz), who Father Conway is unhappy with due his decision to not go to college. As the pair leaves the let local picker I’m guessing, Greer (Kevin Chapman) look the place over for anything he wants. A little later, Patrick gets convinced by his friends Brad (Brett Dier) and Brian(Nick Nicotera) to let them throw a party in Exeter. Since you know he has a key and the place is abandoned. Patrick reluctantly agrees to a small party, what he receives is a massive blowout. After the party has all but finally ended with only a handful of people remaining, Patrick along with his little brother Rory (Michael Ormsby), Brian, Brad and his girlfriend Amber (Gage Golightly), Drew (Nick Norella) some guy that was at the party, and Reign (Brittany Curran) also a party attendee. After a little game of Light as a feather Stiff as a board spooks Rory enough that he pees himself and takes off is where this picks up. While Patrick and Reign are wandering around discussing the building, Reign comments on Rory’s behavior and admonish’s Patrick for his handling of his brother. This results in the pair going off to find him, which they do, in a heavy state of being straight up possessed. Possessed Rory attacks the pair, but gets subdued and tied to a bed. The go to get help from the others, which none believe him. Then Greer shows up and basically makes everything a hundred times worse. Its no big though, since he dies because he frees Rory. Who he did think was being abused or some shit. Now with his state of possession no longer in dispute, Patrick and the others to free Rory of the possession. But not everyone is who they seem…
The twist, which I’m not going to spoil since it want you to go see this, does feel a little out of left field. There’s a revenge twist to it that makes little sense and it’s inclusion does cause the film to suffer a bit. But it’s delivered well enough that it feels forced. Ham-handed is the best way for me to describe the end of the film. That said the post credit scene does salvage a lot of it.
What I liked were the teens, who honestly look way too old for their roles. But that sort of comes with the territory. Brittany Curran is by far and away my favorite actor in this film. But the other two notable actors are Michael Ormsby, who came off a bit like a Jason Mews knock off at times and Stephen Lang, who is always a delight.
What really sells this film is the atmosphere created by the location. As it was shot on location, all be it not in an actual haunted build. But was filmed in the state that it was found in. Which really works wonders for this film, creating a very tense and spooky backdrop. One that the actors and story could have capitalized on a bit more.
Final thoughts, I like it and I do recommend it. But you also need to be willing to kind of turn off your mind a bit to really get into it. I was aided by a couple of cold beers and it was a wonderful experience. One that I might try to recreate. 7.5/10