Sep 222016

Writer/director Mark Pavia makes a valiant attempt with Fender Bender to create a throwback to the slashers of yesteryear and while there are a few touches to admire (scenes that remind you of Halloween in particular), the rest of the writing and plot points were utterly laughable and not in a good way.



Fender Bender

Genre(s): Horror
Shout Factory | NR – 91 min. – $22.97 | October 4, 2016

Date Published: 09/22/2016 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Mark Pavia
Writer(s): Mark Pavia (written by)
Cast: Mackenzie Vega, Bill Sage, Dre Davis, Cassidy Freeman, Kelsey Leos Montoya, Harrison Sim
Commentaries, Featurette, Trailer, TV Spot. Retro VHS Version
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 46.0 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 1.25/5

Note: This review contains major plot SPOILERS.

He stalks the streets. Remorseless. Brutal. Bloodthirsty. When his prey is as its most vulnerable, he appears. And when night falls and all is quiet…he strikes.

Seventeen-year-old Hilary (MACKENZIE VEGA) has just received her driver’s license… only to have her first accident shortly thereafter. Innocently exchanging her personal information with the remorseful stranger (BILL GAGE) behind the wheel, Hilary returns home to her disappointed parents who leave her behind from a planned trip.

Alone in an empty house, one with no television and a windy thunderstorm blowing through, she receives a text message from The Driver (as he’s credited) apologizing for the accident. Weird, but she sets it aside, but soon enough she begins hearing strange noises and after taking a shower, she discovers someone was inside and took a picture of her on her own cell phone. Does she call the police? Nope.

Two of her best friends (DRE DAVIS, KELSEY MONTOYA) drop by with pizza and partake in a cake left on top of the damaged vehicle. Not sure why Hilary didn’t just throw it away or even bother running out in the middle of a wind storm to retrieve it, but, well, nothing good can come of it. Sure enough, one of her friends takes a few bites and begins feeling ill. From her, The Driver, wearing some sort of gas mask/S&M mask, begins terrorizing the teens.

Fender Bender is the latest throwback to 1970s and 1980s horror/slasher genre and while I can appreciate what writer/director Mark Pavia (his first film since 1997’s The Night Flier), with paying homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween with decent set-ups and a creepy-enough sociopathic villain credited as The Driver and portrayed by Bill Gage (character actor with 70+ credits to his name and even has 7 more films set for release in 2017/2018), none of it can overcome a dumb script and even dumber characters:

Mackenzie Vega’s — who I think did fine all things considered — Hilary sees the pic of her in the shower and for whatever reason had to walk over the bathroom door and compare just to make sure or I misunderstood and wanted to see where it was taken from; either way, the fact some stranger is in her home is all she should need to get the hell out of there. And then when her friends drop by, entering the home with a hidden key to provide the obligatory jump scare, they suggest calling 911 (both for the incident and for her abusive and drunken ex-boyfriend stopping by), yet she declines not wanting to cause any more problems being in trouble with her parents as it were. Real smart. Instead of being concerned for her and her one-dimension friends, I could only sigh in their stupidity. Heck, Hilary even manages to beat The Driver up and set him on fire and yet, well, I think you can figure out the rest.

Fender Bender attempts to be a throwback to fine era for slasher in the 70s and 80s but fails in spite of a couple decent scenes and the creepy vibe Gage presents as The Driver. Vega for her part isn’t terrible but she doesn’t have much to work with especially playing a dumb ass character and the others are mere knife fodder for the killer, though we get the stereotypical gay guy and jerk jock.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside a redemption code for the Digital Copy. Also, the inner cover is reversible showing off a retro movie poster version.

Audio Commentaries – Two tracks are included: 1) Writer/Director Mark Pavia and 2) Producers Gus Krieger, Joshua Bunting and Carl Lucas. These are both fun tracks though the producers are a bit looser.

“Retro VHS” Cut of the Film (1:31:59; 1080i) – For those nostalgic for the 1980s style of watching horror movies, this is the cut for you. It’s actually kind of cool and shown in 1.33 full frame. Audio: DTS-HD MA 2.0

Behind the Scenes of Fender Bender (9:16; HD) is a basic featurette on the origins of the project that began with his own fender bender accident and stylizing to 1970s/1980s horror/thriller.

“Slashback” Vintage Trailer Reel (38:39; HD) – We get some classic horror trailers from Halloween II, Visiting Hours to Bad Dreams amongst many others From what I can tell, all of these were released to Blu-ray by Scream Factory.

Original Trailer and TV Spot (2:07; HD)


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Fender Bender drives onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer, courtesy of Shout’s Scream Factory line. The picture is mostly sharp while colors are tamped down in keeping with the horror-centric genre, though the splashes of color do come through well enough.

AUDIO – 4.25/5

As with most Shout releases, this comes with the option of 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks, the former being the default. If there’s one good thing the movie gives us, is some nice and thrilling atmosphere as well as another throwback to the 80s: a synthesized score which is one of the better highlights and it makes good usage of the center speaker while the front is reserved for some of the side action, such as objects hitting the house during a wind storm, and rears for ambient noises.


OVERALL – 2.25/5

Overall, writer/director Mark Pavia makes a valiant attempt with Fender Bender to create a throwback to the slashers of yesteryear and while there are a few touches to admire (scenes that remind you of Halloween in particular), the rest of the writing and plot points were utterly laughable and not in a good way either. The Blu-ray released by Shout Factory offers good video/audio transfers while the bonus features are above average.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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