A teenager discovers a horrifying truth about his father in this thriller from director Duncan Skiles.
Tyler is a teenager who seems to have things going good for him. He is in the Boy Scouts with his father serving as Scoutmaster. He is doing well in school and he is finally on a date. However, when his date discovers a very disturbing photo of a bound woman in a room. Tyler insists the photo is not his, but the photo has led to complete rumors about him, which causes his best friend Billy to even distance himself from him. Tyler soon becomes suspicious when he sees his father enter his shed each day.
With the help of the mysterious Cassi, Tyler learns of a serial killer known as the Clovehitch Killer who after a series of murders, disappeared altogether. Tyler finds damning evidence that may lead him to believe that his own father is the one. Despite the possibility of no one believing him, Tyler becomes obsessed with the notion that his father could be a serial killer. Will Tyler stick to his beliefs or will everything crumble down when the killer begins to strike again?
The film plays off like a very intricate mystery akin to another recent indie film, Summer of 84, only this one comes more close to home. Where Summer of 84 revolved around a teen obsessed with his neighbor, this one has out teen protagonist obsessed with his own father, who he believes to be the titular killer who had disappeared only to re-emerge on perhaps the start of another spree.
The film is driven by some very powerful performances, notably lead Charlie Plummer as Tyler, the teen who finds himself suddenly ousted for something he is not even responsible for. Plummer definitely carries the film, having a role reminiscent of Charlie Brewster in Fright Night and Davey Armstrong in Summer of 84. At least Tyler isn’t alone in his journey to discover if his father is or isn’t the serial killer known as Clovehitch. Madison Beaty’s Cassi seems to be the only reliable ally Tyler has in this journey and for most of the film, it is though as if Cassi’s help is because of a crazy obsession she has with the topic of serial killers, until there is something more under the surface in terms of her character.
The man in question comes in the form of Dylan McDermott’s Don, who proclaims his innocence throughout the course of the film while still acting like the trustworthy father to the kids and the loyal husband to Samantha Mathis’ Cindy. From the beginning, it seems like Don may be the perfect dad but once Tyler questions everything, Don still plays it off nonchalantly. However, the evidence gives off a strong possibility that he could be in fact the titular killer. The third and final act takes quite an interesting turn in terms of its storytelling but brings everything to closure in a shocking yet positive way.
The Clovehitch Killer is quite an intriguing film that will keep the viewer interested in seeing if the question is answered while our protagonist attempts to get himself out of hot water. Some great performances by Charlie Plummer and Dylan McDermott drive the film and the third act meshes everything together in an unexpected but good way.
WFG RATING: B+
IFC Films presents an End Cue production. Director: Duncan Skiles. Producers: Andrew Kortschak, Walter Kortschak, Cory Ryder, and Duncan Skiles. Writer: Christopher Ford. Cinematography: Luke McCoubrey. Editing: Megan Brooks and Andrew Hasse.
Cast: Charlie Plummer, Dylan McDermott, Samantha Mathis, Madison Beaty, Brenna Herman, Lance Chantiles-Wertz, Mike Cortese, Matthew Davis, Jonathan Riggs, Jones Emma.