One of the outcasts is the lonely, miserable Stan (Brad Dourif, Halloween II), who runs a crematorium. The other is Jarod (Jeremy Sumpter, Soul Surfer), a high school “loser” who paints his nails black. When the latter approaches the former about a job, Stan reluctantly gives in, yet sees so much of himself in his young charge than he begins to apprentice Jarod in his trade — not cremation, but killing those who’ve wronged you and then cremation.
At risk of sounding like overpraising a damned good but not great product, director/co-writer Justin Steele crafts the film with more depth than it has any right to, and has just the right touch to pull it off. It helps that it does not end as you might think, and that the minimalist score — more than a little reminiscent of the TV series Dexter — achieves mild tension.
It seems that Dourif will take on almost any project, no matter the budget, no matter the quality (Priest, Catch .44, Chain Letter, Turbulent Skies — all within just the last year), but he’s a terrific actor when the filmmakers allow him to be. Although Steele is no Milos Forman, this is one of those times — twisted, yes, but still one of those times. —Rod Lott