Founder’s Day Review: The Horror Flounders During This Election Season
“Founder’s Day” wants to be a cinematic conundrum wrapped in a slasher’s cloak, offering a glimpse into the darkness of small-town politics with a dash of grisly mayhem. The film, directed by Erik Bloomquist, spins a tale in the quiet town of Fairwood, where a series of harrowing murders mar the days leading up to a mayoral election.
The film pivots around the intricate dynamics of two families, the Gladwells and the Faulkners, whose political aspirations and personal vendettas intersect amid the chaos. Amidst the backdrop of carnage, the film attempts to weave a complex web of relationships and power struggles but fails to launch.
Allison Chambers and Adam Faulkner, portrayed by Naomi Grace and Devin Druid, respectively, find themselves at the heart of the turmoil. Adam, in particular, embodies a figure that defies traditional archetypes. As the son of a politician, his character seems poised to offer a more nuanced exploration of the themes of jealousy, power, and the burdens of legacy… but ends up leaving that journey incomplete.
The film’s approach to its slasher elements is a bit lackluster. While touching upon the genre’s expected tropes, “Founder’s Day” seems reluctant to indulge in the gratuitous violence that defines many of its peers. This restraint makes the impact of the murders, including one particularly disturbing incident, feel muted, lessening the emotional resonance and failing to incite the dread and horror one might expect.
In exploring political themes, the movie presents a surface-level critique of small-town politics. It hints at the corrupting influence of power and the reduction of individuals to mere pawns in a larger political game. Yet, these themes are not explored with the depth and nuance that could help make this standout.
As the story unfolds, the tension between the characters and their intertwined fates builds towards an anticlimactic finale. Rather than offering a satisfying resolution or commentary, the conclusion leaves the viewer with a sense of nihilism; the unity of grief among the town’s residents feels like a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the underlying societal and political commentary.
Ultimately, “Founder’s Day” is a film that presents a promising premise and intriguing characters but doesn’t really have the goods to get it there. From poor performances to awkward execution, this remains mostly an idea that got done through force of will versus a real, solid plan.
RATING: 2.0 out of 5.0
Founder’s Day is now in theaters.