Del Playa: A Review
by Luce Allan
Ever since her high school boyfriend was murdered by a fellow classmate, college student Claire Rhodes has channeled her grief into studying the intricacies of the human mind, while attempting to navigate her own. Her progression toward healing, however, is shattered when the boy from her nightmarish past charges into her present as a man with unrestrained bloodlust and a fierce desire to destroy the life that she has built. In Del Playa (2015), the classic debate of nature versus nurture is encapsulated within a gory massacre.
Del Playa rises above the standard slasher film with its focus on the psychological underpinnings of the primary characters, exploring such themes as PTSD, the line between a selfish pursuit of pleasure and a sincere aim for happiness, and the raw instincts within human nature. Devon Barnes (Claire) exudes sincerity and flexibility in her performance, fleshing out her character with palpable vulnerability and emotion. Both Alan Wheeler and Brett Johnson succeed in their portrayals of the antagonist, Matthew, during two different stages in his life, and their performances fuse seamlessly in a complex portrait of a killer's evolution. The score and cinematography are also mesmerizing, with the latter often displaying powerful imagery that leaves a lasting impression.
While Del Playa triumphs in several areas of the film, it often falters in the execution of its plot. The storyline, in spite of its emotional complexity, is generally predictable, and the kills presented in the film are forgettable due to their reliance on common horror scenarios. The pacing is uneven, and some scenes are repetitive in nature, which takes away from the atmosphere of the film.
Overall, Del Playa is a film that shines with psychological depth, although its exploration of horror pales in comparison.