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It IS a Nailbiter


Ministry Machine Productions and SenoReality Pictures

Director/Producer: Patrick Rea

Writers: Patrick Rea and Kendal Sinn

Produced by: Aaron Laue

2012 (not yet released to the public)

Starring: Joicie Appell, Emily Boresow, Jason Coffman, Meg Saricks, Erin McGrane, Sally Spurgeon 

Reviewer: Splatter Flick Chick


What far of horror doesn’t like a nail biter flick? All of the horror genre greats keep us on the edge of our seats, holding our breath, wondering what might happen next. Patrick Rea is no stranger to creating the right vibe in his work. His 2011 film festival award winning short, Hell Week, was an excellent thriller, as was another of Rea’s shorts, the film noir piece Time’s Up Eve. Nailbiter, Rea’s first decently funded, full feature film, proves he’s the talent to create, and sustain, the necessary nervous tension required by most in the business of horror.

This film takes place during a spring storm in the plain states on what started as a beautiful day. A mother and her three daughters plan to drive to the airport to pick up their father who is home, on leave, from being stationed a soldier in the Middle East. We follow the family throughout their day, finally preparing for the trip through the countryside to the big city, disregarding all damning TV and radio weather alerts. While making a pit-stop in a tiny farm town for the youngest to take a bathroom break, a local sheriff urgently warned the group to ask any one of the farmers up the road if they could ride out the fast coming storms in their basement, and yet they choose to push onward. Shortly after returning to their country road trip, the weather turns ugly fast, causing mom to pull over abruptly in what is now a golf ball sized hail storm. She yells at the girls to follow her to the closest farmhouse where she hopes they will allow them to join them in their cellar. Everyone knows that the safest place to be in a home during a storm is in the cellar, if it has one, right? 

Now, It only makes sense that the Nailbiter storyline would be based, in part, on a real life experience Rea had in high-school in Nebraska, a state familiar with the wicked storms that accompany warmer weather. Having also taken shelter in the basement of a farm house owned by an elderly couple, Rea “often thought about what would have happened if that whole situation had actually been a horror film”. And what a horror film this is! Wicked storms bring not only mass destruction and tornados, but they also give rise to many a creepy transformation. This ‘condition’ seems to affect most folks who live in the area viewers eventually find. And you thought tornados were horrible! 

Watching a mother fight for her own life, as well as the lives of her three girls, against gnarly monsters reminiscent of the horror movie The Descent, will most certainly make you chew your nails to nubs. As the family formulates their plans forward to what they hope will be their escape to eventual safety, and their reunion with the man they all love, the audience will be yelling at the screen their support of each action these brave gals take! Great acting! Loved the choice of weapons and fight scenes, especially the oldest daughters revenge-filled monster annihilation, oh the blood! And the cinematography, hell even a dingy cellar is beautiful in Rea’s film; he’s obviously no stranger to high quality indie filmmaking. But, as with most all films, I found there were a few problems with plot holes and some of the details surrounding the filmed storm damage. Much of what I’m referring to may not even be noticed by many who have not weathered a tornado or two in their day, as I have, living in tornado alley here in Indianapolis, IN. Of course, my being a film critic automatically implies my noticing many things the average viewer may not, but even so, I still really enjoyed Nailbiter!

Nailbiter easily achieves the big screen, movie-theater feeling, and is at least a 7.5! I especially look forward to watching the audience reaction at HorrorHound Weekend in Columbus, OH in March as I anticipate Nailbiter being a bit hit at this much anticipated horror convention! I was happy to hear that not only is Rea already working on a Nailbiter part two (he CAN’T just leave us hanging!), but he’s also collaborating with Michelle Davidson (Hell Week) on a feature length script, a horror comedy about energy drinks! It would be no surprise to see this film sweep many an award at film festivals and conventions everywhere this year. See it and, when you can, add it to your collection.


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