I happen to be very familiar with “filmmaker extraordinaire” Rene Perez‘s cinematic oeuvre. I’ve followed his career trajectory from the days he reused goblin masks in spectacular, straight-to-VOD duds like The Snow Queen in 2013 or Sleeping Beauty, a year later. I guess you could call him an auteur of sorts. Perez proudly writes, shoots, edits, and directs his Z-grade, fantasy/action/adventure/sci-fi/horror features on a minuscule budget, churning them out by the dozen. The horror atrocity Cry Havoc marks Perez’s 23rd film since 2010. You can’t fault the man’s work ethic.
What you can certainly fault is the quality of his output. Robert Rodriguez, he is not. IMDb claims that Cry Havoc cost $4M to produce. That is, more or less, the average budget of Blumhouse films. But Cry Havoc ain’t Blumhouse. Its limited location, a cast of four principal characters (one of whom can’t act, another sweating under a gimp-like mask), shoddy make-up effects, and piss-poor visuals suggest a misprint of “million” instead of “thousand.”
It’s also one of those bottom-of-the-barrel, creatively-vacant films that lets you know what you’re in for from the get-go, and then fails to add anything remotely compelling. I know these types of flicks too well; they are custom-made to appease a specific demographic and generate a certain amount of cash on VOD platforms to break even so that the work-for-hire filmmaker can go on to make another lousy, custom-made product. Do you want sexy, topless girls? Check. Do you want gory slaughter? Check. What else do you need?
“…he invites young women to his compound, and then watches them get tortured and killed…”
Cry Havoc has no clue what story it wants to tell. After a brief, nonsensical introduction involving a girl strapped to a killer by a chain, we follow an ambitious young reporter (Emily Sweet) as she interviews a megalomaniac millionaire called The Voyeur (Richard Tyson). The Voyeur has created a reality show of sorts, wherein he invites young women to his compound, and then watches them (on multiple cameras attached to trees) get tortured and killed by his one-time prison mate, the monstrous Havoc.
The Voyeur refers to his macabre experiment as art. “I refuse to call my work something as loathsome as snuff films,” he states, before spouting nonsense about seven deadly sins and seeking the truth in our existence. I’ll let you guess whether our hapless hero, who’s totally oblivious to warning signs, becomes one of his stars.
Then there’s the story of a pipe-smoking, rogue detective (a leathery-but-in-good-shape Robert Bronzi, bless him), going after his kidnapped daughter and ending up in The Voyeur’s compound. A prolonged, confusing shoot-out between him and The Voyeur’s henchmen makes up the majority of Cry Havoc’s running time. The gunfight is intermittently interrupted by Havoc ripping open blouses on young women, before smashing their skulls, yanking out their guts, and, perhaps worst of all, sawing off their toes.
"…It’s cruel and deeply misogynistic..."