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I Really Must Try to Watch More 5 Star Films
on 24 April 2015
The title ‘F’ is intriguing enough until you actually start to watch this film and understand what the letter means. This is when, ironically, it makes perfect sense. Director Roberts uses a real school as a stage on which to play out his story, which comprises a group of teachers, security guards and one or two others, who are hunted down and (mostly), killed by a group of hooded individuals who move about silently and ninja-like. That’s about it really.
This is an infuriating film. The assailants are anonymous and we have no idea who or what they are, nor are we given any clues as what their motivations are. The initial set-up gives a hint but that’s as far as it goes. They slip across the background, often out of focus, and crawl along the tops of cupboards or cabinets before dropping noiselessly down behind their victims. Beneath their hoods there is nothing – just black. The staff simply cower, cry and plea before being dispatched. The film doesn’t seem to have the intelligence to attach any meaning to their facelessness or for that matter to what they represent. I must admit that I suspected that Anderson (well played as you’d expect by David Scofield), would turn out to be the killer and that all the goings-on were simply a product of his drink and trauma riddled imagination but no, we were spared that, thankfully, although one scene did indicate that it might just be a possibility.
The ending does, as one reviewer pointed out, feel as though Roberts had run out of film, and possibly budget too. While it doesn’t exactly leave things hanging, it really is not satisfactory, in fact it offers, God forbid, the possibility of a sequel.
The characters are not pleasant and therefore it is not easy to care about them. Whichever film making book Roberts consulted evidently did not include this piece of advice. It seems that he was simply hell bent on making a tension filled piece without due consideration for other, more important aspects. I’m getting déjà vu here, having recently written a review for Haute Tension. Roberts confesses that he has been influenced by Assault on Precinct 13; sadly this influence has not paid off.
So what’s good about it? Well, the run time is only one hour and a quarter but longer might have improved things. It’s a big ‘might’.