The Lonely Ones marks the debut of David Michael Quiroz, Jr., an amateur filmmaker from Phoenix who likes to take the normal formulas for movies and twist them enough to make them a new experience for viewers. The film begins with some traditional plot and setup; a group of sorority girls is slaughtered while at a log cabin in the woods fifteen years ago. In present day, a group of college students heads to the same cabin for an outing of drinking and sex; right down to the token black couple.
It’s at that point that things go down an alley no one expects.
Welcome to the group, featuring Tifa (Pinn), Cid (Quinn), Jimmy (Danzinger), Thessaly (Moraga) and Dante’ (Micahel De La Torre). (As a trivia fact, all the characters were named after members of the 2003 Arizona Cardinals and video games.) Soon, the crew is engaged in drinking, ghost stories, card games, and the abuse of the phrase “It’s Tequila time”.
Within minutes, viewers are introduced to Quiroz’s split-screen technique setting up the first series of events, and then darting back to a single point-of-view to isolate the viewers into the mind of a single character. It’s an interesting switch from the norm, and one that provides a nice change of pace from the usual pre-credits setups.
Once the lights go out, the film takes a violent change of pace, costing one character his head. It’s then that the college kids realize they’re in the middle of a war between the undead and those who hunt them. Enter Blake Torres (Rosete), the hunter. He immediately shows his value through the use of blades and firearms, and evens the decapitation count.
Instead of the expected slasher film, the movie instead becomes a variation of the classic Night of the Living Dead, with much more gore and a more modern feel. Quiroz uses lighting techniques and camera angles to hide the low budget of the film, and relies heavily on the dialogue and interaction of the characters to make up for the lack of polish on the action scenes. Even limited, the film provides some great shots when it comes to dismemberment and slaughter. The repeated use of light and darkness, even in subtle forms, helps to define the forces at work on the screen.
Unlike the mindless living dead of more common movies, the ghouls in The Lonely Ones are intelligent, and scheme to destroy, even seeing the broader chess game between themselves and the hunters. Their interactions provide insight and even comedy to give the film another gear.
The film’s title is as appropriate as any in the business. Taking something from Anne Rice’s original vampire trilogy, the actions of the ghouls are explained in the film’s climax; and the resolution is exactly what viewers will be clamoring for once they reach the height of the film.
Rosete makes Torres into a believable and credible character, instead of falling into the easy pitfalls of a stereotype badass. He shifts between storyteller and field general with ease. Rae, Moraga and Quinn lead the way among the supporting cast, instantly recognizing the gravity of their situation and applying it to what each of their characters would do.
If there’s a morale to The Lonely Ones, it’s this: If you’re going to cheat on your hot college girlfriend, don’t do it with an undead broad who carries a grudge.
In all, The Lonely Ones sets viewers up for the expected, only to repeatedly take them down multiple unexpected turns, making for an excellent 90-minute ride of gore and horror.
The DVD is a bare-boned release from York Entertainment, featuring almost no extras. Writer/Director Quiroz has promised to make that up to viewers by posting a ton of extras on the film’s site, www.thelonelyones.com, including deleted scenes, bloopers, and commentaries. The site also contains a trailer, and links to the IMDB and MySpace entries.