Marcel Walz’s That’s a Wrap unites the director’s visually dazzling style with the Giallo subgenre in a match made in horror heaven. Vibrant scenes, solid performances, and a killer synth soundtrack accent this fun murder mystery that’s sure to please a wide array of horror fans.
That’s a Wrap begins just as a fictional “That’s a Wrap” has finished filming. Teaser trailer fresh off the shelf, director Mason (Robert Donavan) gathers the cast of his newest Giallo horror movie to celebrate a wrap party with his wife, veteran actress Lily (Monique Parent). The cast, including the film’s final girl Harper (Sarah French), quickly become bored with the tame party, and scatter about the studios and set pieces. Not unlike the very film they’re celebrating, sex, drugs, and booze quickly rule the evening. Unfortunately, another element of “That’s a Wrap” has crashed the party….
“Vibrant scenes, solid performances, and a killer synth soundtrack”
The film’s masked killer begins to terrorize the vast set, and they’re taking their part a little too seriously. One by one, the crowded cast disappear in increasingly gruesome manners, usually just as things are getting a little too spicy for the pepper, if you know what I mean “wink wink”.. Where is everyone? Who is the killer? Giallo runs amuckas Harper must navigate through the meta circumstances to escape with her life.
Walz’s brilliantly vibrant style and penchant for fun, violent horror have long been a perfect combination just begging to be used in a Giallo film. That’s a Wrapdoesn’t disappoint, bringing the murder mystery mayhem and all of the blood, sex, and style you could hope for. At risk of sounding cliché, the film really is Giallo on steroids. The over-the-top kills and candid presence of those elements almost reach levels of parody, however that would imply Walz may be poking fun at the genre, which really isn’t the case. I would classify it as an extremely hearty spoonful of the subgenre of horror, with a good sprinkle of meta on top for taste.
“Murder mystery mayhem and all of the blood, sex, and style you could hope for.”
Referring back to Walz’s eye for style, That’s a Wrap is a beauty of a film to watch. The vivid glows of multicolor lights, sharp imagery, and elegant camera movements transitioned flawlessly from his prior films into this one. This includes relishing the chance to deliver some eye-popping kills. Without spoiling anything, Walz allows the masked killer to get quite creative with their methods of murder, including one in particular that could find itself on any “best of 2023” lists.
Similarly to Walz’s prior Popcorn Frights entry, 2021’s Pretty Boy, the stunning imagery is paired with equally stunning acting. Monique Parent’s performance as the bewitching Lily projected an astoundingly similar aura to Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, particularly during a fantastic monologue guaranteed to leave viewers hanging on every word. Parent presents a strong but shakable character, whose strength is a product of decades of abuse and a thirst for retribution.
“…crazy cool imagery and atmosphere alone cover the price of admission.”
Actress Sarah French counters seamlessly as the tough as nails “final girl” and heroin Harper. French’s performance radiates a confident, “take no crap from anyone” vibe, commanding a level of respect that would be crystal clear even if she never spoke a word of dialogue. The parallels between Lily’s jadedness and Harper’s “f*ck you” attitude towards the entertainment industry are fascinating to see. It’s as though they began as the same woman but were molded so vastly different by the eras they navigated -“Old Hollywood” versus the post “Me Too” era of entertainment.
Becoming a signature of a Marcel Walz feature, it would be irresponsible to omit mention of the sensational synth soundtrack and score. Artist Mirko Hirsch makes another welcome appearance with multiple contributions, as does composer Klaus Pfreunder, whose score summons comparisons to John Carpenter’s synth work. Both pair harmoniously with the visuals on screen.
“Fans of slashers, sexploitation, and particularly meta horror will find great satisfaction…”
There’s so much to like from That’s a Wrap, the term “Giallo” shouldn’t scare off anyone unfamiliar or unenthused with the subgenre. Fans of slashers, sexploitation, and particularly meta horror will find great satisfaction with what’s given. At a more basic level, the crazy cool imagery and atmosphere alone cover the price of admission. I said it in 2021 and I’ll say it again here, horror fans (and maybe some studio executives) should take note of Walz’s entries into our favorite genre.
Stay tuned for our continued coverage from the Popcorn Frights Festival, August 10-28. Let us know what horror films you’ve been preoccupied with over on our official Facebook and Instagram pages! At the festival or attending virtually? Join the conversation about the movie lineup on our Twitter community!
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There's so much to like from That's a Wrap, the term "Giallo" shouldn't scare off anyone unfamiliar or unenthused with the subgenre. Fans of slashers, sexploitation, and particularly meta horror will find great satisfaction with what's given. At a more basic level, the crazy cool imagery and atmosphere alone cover the price of admission.