An obvious but loving ode to “Assault on Precinct 13,” Jamie Nash’s horror survival comedy is probably one of the more entertaining indie films I’ve seen in a while. It’s a movie that is obviously small in budget, but makes the most out of a single setting horror film through the end. I was surprised by how much director Jamie Nash was able to pull out of this premise as they’re able to really justify why the film is confined to one place and is set during one night rather than multiple days. “Last Night at Terrace Lanes” is that classic siege horror film but with a dose of familial drama and coming of age.
On the closing night of the Terrace Lanes Bowling Alley, Kennedy is dragged along with her friend Tess on a group date, unaware that her father Bruce runs the alley. As the night drags on, the customers inside are trapped inside by a coordinated death cult, all of whom begin slaughtering innocent bystanders on the inside. Now with no way out, Kennedy has to figure out how to outwit and fight back against the cult members with the help of her father and Tess.
“Last Night at Terrace Lanes” works thanks a lot to the cast, all of whom are very good here. Particularly ex-Disney actress Francesca Capaldi is fun as the reluctant heroine Kennedy who is grappling with her feelings for her best friend and is forced to confront the murderous cult. What I liked it while the movie does lean in to the grim with the murderous cult, director Nash is also never afraid to get silly. He implements the whole bowling motif as much as possible, allowing for some slick deaths involving bowling balls and pins, and even transforms a bowling mascot in to a murderous villain.
You wouldn’t think a bowling alley could allow for a creepy setting, but Nash pulls it off well, allowing for a back drop that garners a ton of character. The simplicity of “Last Night at Terrace Lanes” is what renders the movie so much fun with a lot of vicious violence, a pretty creepy villain, and some very interesting character dynamics that I was very much invested in. Kennedy manages to be a very engaging heroine, while Ken Arnold and Mia Rae Roberts compliment Capaldi very well. I wish we’d gotten a little more focus on Ken Arnold’s character, as well as more considerable build up, but that doesn’t hinder the overall experience.
Director Nash and writer Adam Cesare pack in a lot of plot in a considerably short period of time and it amounts to a fun, and crazy horror hybrid through the very end.