Pete’s Peek | The darkly comic Wreckage is The Cat & The Canary set in a scrap yard

Wreckage is not your typical slasher movie, but a darkly comic whodunit set in a scrap yard – with a killer twist in the tale.

Breaking Bed’s Aaron Paul plays Rick (the dick), the wisecracking pal of boy racer Jared (Everwood’s Mike Erwin), while Cameron Richardson (of Harper’s Island fame) plays his girlfriend Kate. Then there’s Jessica (Kelly Kruger), Jared’s sweetheart, who is over moon over getting engaged to her hunky beau.

When the four-some get stranded on a country road during a drag race, they break into a scrap yard after hours for a spare fan belt. But Rick’s horseplay with a loaded pistol goes awry, leaving Kate wounded. Jared then runs the 5miles back into town to get help. But when he returns with the police and an ambulance crew, there’s no sign of his friends… until the mutilated body of one of them is discovered.

Desperate to learn if Jessica has met a similar fate, Jared goes off in search of her – with the help of salvage yard’s owner redneck nephew. Meanwhile, the cops conduct their own search, suspecting a recently escaped serial killer could be responsible.

I wont spoil the twists and turns that follow, but it’s pretty obvious the escaped killer is a big fat red herring, while the real killer is a lot closer than you think.

Taking place completely at night, in one location, gives the film a claustrophobic feel, and I give top marks to the lighting and camerawork that makes it all work. Pity, however, that the sound and the music is a bit of a let down. The sythn score sounds too tinny – reminiscent of the Puppet Master series, while the location sound fluctuates wildly.

What’s not a let down are the cracking script, the hot-looking cast, and a stand out performance from Scoot McNairy (of Monsters fame). His quirky unwashed redneck character Franck is a highlight (he comes across like Carol Burnett doing her John Boy Walton impression in The Walnuts). Plus, he gets all of the film’s best lines: ‘The lights haven’t been on since Aunt Mimi got SARS’.

Thanks to McNairy’s comical turn and the ineptness of the cops (especially the snivelling policewoman and the taciturn sheriff), Wreckage certainly keeps it tongue firmly in its cheek. It might be silly and obvious, but the cast seem to be really enjoying themselves. And so did I watching them.

If you want a schlocky version of The Cat & The Canary set in a scrap yard, then you might want to visit this Wreckage. Just don’t come alone…

Pete’s Rating: ***

On DVD from 22 August, released through Chelsea Films