After murdering his parents in the middle of the night, Nicholas Matthews is sent to a mental hospital and kept under close observation where he continues to draw pictures of a figure named Dollman while never saying a single word. Years later, after being paid a visit by his younger sister, Nicholas breaks out of the hospital to finish what he started that night, dressed as Dollman.
It's time for another R-Squared Films release with the movie "Methodic" and it is an interesting little no-budget horror flick. Firstly, it's a slasher movie that doesn't involve any slashing in the course of its runtime. Secondly, the movies plot and characters come clearly influenced by the classic movie "Halloween". And if you need me to tell you that I'm referring to the original and not the remake, then you need to turn in your horror-badge right now and get the hell out of my office.
While I say influence, "Methodic" actually borderlines on plagiarism. The movie starts off at a birthday party for young boy named Nicholas Matthews, who sits quietly drawing pictures of a person named 'Dollman' instead of having fun and playing games. That night Nicholas gets a hammer, kills his parents, and tries to kill his baby sister but is stopped before completing the job of murdering his entire family. Nicholas is sent off to an institution where he never speaks a single word and then many years later escapes when his now adult baby sister pays him a visit. Dressing up in his new 'Dollman' persona, goes on a killing spree trying to get to his sister while his former psychiatrist and a detective try to stop him.
The "Halloween" influence is so heavy and predominant in the first half of the movie it almost felt like I was watching a remake, or better yet, a Bruno Matti-esque style cash-in. No doubt that this distinctive John Carpenter aftertaste will detour a lot of people from "Methodic" and bring in harsh criticism, personally though I wasn't bothered by it. Oddly enough. Chris Notarile and Brandon Slagle bring in enough changes and quirks to the story and characters, such as having the 'Dollman' character actually be a spirit that possesses people and jumps around turning different folks into killers. Then going back to what I was saying earlier, there is no slash-n-stab action in here; Dollman beats his victims to death with everything from his fists to hammers. Most likely the result of movie's budgetary constraints, it still was a nice change to a formulaic project.
Forgetting and ignoring the fact that the story has some "borrowed" elements from a genre classic, "Methodic" is a well made micro-budget (probably more like no-budget) and first feature length movie for Chris. They do quite a bit to hide the lacking budget, such as going for bashing instead of slashing, and try to make the movie feel bit bigger in scope than it is. Doesn't always work and it does have its fair share of cheesy moments that'll make you cringe or laugh. But for similar projects; the score, the camera work, Dollman's costume, and some of the acting is actually good (though it can also get pretty bad too).
There is no getting around the distinctive influence and similarities from "Halloween" and it will probably leave a bad taste in the mouths of some of the viewers. For a first feature length project I'm willing to look past it and quite frankly "Methodic" kept me entertained, which is more than what I can say for certain remakes. And overall, the movie isn't as cheesy as you would expect but at the same time you should be aware of what you're getting with this movie. Even though it is better than most movies of the same caliber, it still has the usual problems that come with these no-budget movies.