An interesting attempt to introduce a few variations into the standard teens-in-peril horror formula, “Lost Things” has cult possibilities, though its slow-to-develop structure and its supernatural elements may turn off some of the target audience who just require the maximum of sex and slashing. A possibility for midnight fest slotting, and undoubtedly a strong ancillary item, low-budgeter looms as a marketing challenge, but an interesting one.
Pic starts off with the considerable asset of a screenplay by Stephen Sewell, author of the film and play, “The Boys,” which was inspired by a real-life rape-murder case. Using deliberately repetitive speech patterns, Sewell writes the way teenagers talk, and thus brings a rare degree of authenticity to the well-traveled yarn. Main marketing question is whether teens who see this kind of film actually want to hear such authentic lingo, or whether they in fact prefer dialogue that is more conventionally “movie-like.”
Four youngsters aged about 16 lie to their parents and set out for a weekend of what Garry (Leon Ford) and Brad (Charlie Garber) hope will consist of sex and surf, in that order. The girls, Emily (Lenka Kripac) and Tracy (Alex Vaughan), have made no commitment to the former, however, and all four are still virgins.
Traveling by van, they reach an isolated beach chosen by Emily, and at first it seems that this will be an idyllic getaway. The girls indulge in some topless sunbathing, while the boys cavort in the surf.
But then things start to go wrong, as ominous elements intrude on this paradise. Flocks of sinister looking crows arrive on the beach, a bunch of dead flowers is found, along with a tailor’s dummy which has been inflicted with knife wounds. Emily remembers that three teenagers were killed near here some time earlier, and Brad is afflicted with a strong sense of deja vu.
Enter Zippo (Steve Le Marquand), a self-styled forager and beach bum, who seems at first friendly enough, but is too attentive to the girls as far as the boys are concerned. As creepy incident builds on creepy incident, night falls and the suspense really kicks in.
Though astute members of the audience will probably deduce what’s happening quite early in the proceedings (the film owes something of a debt to the classic British ghost pic, “Dead of Night”), director Martin Murphy ably creates a creepy and very slow-burning sense of doom with the minimal elements. The fresh-faced young actors convincingly and naturalistically portray their roles, while Le Marquand is broodingly effective as the handsome, knife-wielding stranger.
Film has a low budget look, and the night scenes in the print caught were overly dark and gloomy to the point where it was difficult to determine who was who. Otherwise, production values are average, with kudos going to the brooding music score by Carlo Giacco.