Blu-ray Review: The Clovehitch Killer

As a former Boy Scout, there were adult leaders you just didn’t fully trust. Not the creepy guys who seemed to be doing this as an excuse to get away from their family on the weekend without their wives nagging them that they’re having an affair. Or even the guys who seemed to be a leader so they could hang out with the rest of grown ups running the troop. These were the ones that seemed shocked that the kids also came along on the camping trips as they hung out with their adult buddies around the fire smoking cigarettes. The ones that you just weren’t sure about were the lifelong scouts. These were guys who had received their Eagle rank and couldn’t take a break. They seemed to live in their uniforms or wore khaki and brown during their downtime. You imagined their house was decorated with knot demonstration boards and their merit badges. Simply put: they had no life outside of scouting which is scary. So scary in fact that it’s the perfect basis for a horror film. The Clovehitch Killer is a movie that won’t be playing during the next Jamboree.

Tyler Burnside (All the Money In the World‘s Charlie Plummer) thinks his dad (American Horror Story‘s Dylan McDermott) is embarrassing. The old man is all about his scout leader role. Dad lives for meetings and campings. He looks like a scout leader when he’s at home. He has very few vices. He gets upset when he think his kid has stumbled upon his stash of sodas in workshop. But it turns out Tyler has found something a bit more potent. Turns out dad’s knot devotion goes deeper as he has a pile of bondage magazines under the floor. There’s also a few Polaroids. This leads the son and his new friend Kassi (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s Madisen Beaty) to suspect that dad might be the notorious Clovehitch Killer. A decade before the killer knotted up his ten victims, tortured and killed them. Then he just quit his terrorizing of the area. Did he leave the town or stop from claiming more women? Can his straight-laced father really be hiding such a horrible secret?

This film works so well because Dylan McDermott nails the character so well. He’s always ready to explain and demonstrate whenever someone is “getting it wrong.” He seems like he ought to be the main suspect, but he does come up with excuses that can make sense. He nails the creepy scout master character without overplaying it. Even in the most shocking of moments, he can keep that tone. Director Duncan Skiles, screenwriter Christopher Ford and crew lets the tension build just right like a Dutch Oven of Death. The Clovehitch Killer is the kind a film that you’ll want to share with your old Order of the Arrow buddies unless they’ve become that kinda Scout Master.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the small town details as the son looks for clues about his father. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and stereo mixes. You’ll hear the calmness in the Scout Master’s voice that will chill you out. The movie is subtitled.

Making Of (9:02) is a fun behind the scenes photos. This was a really small and tight shoot. This is a different attitude than what ended up on the screen. They do show off how the Clovehitch knot works.

Trailer (2:10) gives a deep sense of the secret lurking in the dad’s shed.

Scream Factory presents The Clovehitch Killer. Directed by Duncan Skiles. Screenplay by: Christopher Ford. Starring: Dylan McDermott, Charlie Plummer, Samantha Mathis & Madisen Beaty. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 109 minutes. Released: March 5, 2019.

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