'Starve': Film Review

Courtesy of P2 Films
Another "Saw" knock-off

Three friends find themselves trapped and tortured in an abandoned school in Griff Furst's horror film

If the villainous Jigsaw had added food deprivation to his roster of tortures you'd have a sense of Griff Furst's derivative horror film that recently had its world premiere at Spain's Sitges International Film Festival. Concerning three friends who find themselves locked in an abandoned high school and tormented by a mysterious psycho, Starve is thin gruel indeed.

The main characters are Beck (Bobby Campo), a graphic novelist; his comely girlfriend Candice (Mariah Bonner); and the oddly named Jiminey (Dave Davis), who arrive in the practically deserted town of Freedom, Florida to research an urban legend about feral cannibal children apparently spawned by massive sinkholes. They're greeted less than warmly by the residents, who advise them to "leave before they become part of the story."

The cocksure young people naturally ignore the warning and are soon enduring such hardships as having their car stolen before they wind up kidnapped and thrown into the dilapidated school building, where they discover a motley group of fellow prisoners being systematically starved and forced to fight for their lives at the behest of the crazy Runyan (Bobby C. King). They're also subject to periodic taunting loudspeaker announcements by the school's "principal" who at one point asks, "Don't you know there are starving children in South Dakota?"

Xander Wolf's screenplay has its occasional witty touches, such as when one of the prisoners is offered "finger food" that turns out to be exactly that. Later, one of the villain's accomplices asks him, "Can you burn the rest of the dead folk? It's starting to smell around here!"

Truer words were never spoken, as the film degenerates from its playful beginnings to the usual assemblage of unimaginatively rendered Saw-style torture porn clichés. Director Furst has staged the proceedings in reasonably coherent fashion, and production designer Matt Muschamp, dressing up an actual abandoned school, has created a vividly evocative house of horrors. But the overly familiar goings-on in Starve will only leave horror fans hungry for more substantial fare.

Production: P2 Films
Cast: Bobby Campo, Mariah Bonner, Dave Davis, Copper Huckabee
Director: Griff Furst
Screenwriter: Xander Wolf
Producers: Griff Furst, Rufus Parker, Sukhi Pabla
Executive producers: Sudhaher Kumar Ashok Bodpudi, Rajesh Naroth
Director of photography: Mark Rutledge
Editors: Griff Furst, Chris Villa
Production designer: Matt Muschamp
Costume designer: Jennifer Schreck
Composer: Andy Garfield
Casting: Matthew L. Morgan

No rating, 102 min.