My friends, we have not only come to the conclusion of my exploration of the films of Dick Maas, but the culmination. His first film THE LIFT showed me that the Dutch writer/director has a strong shooting style, a taste for deadpan absurdity, and a knack for quirky character detail. AMSTERDAMNED applies that to a more ambitious I-can’t-believe-I’m-seeing-this story (action-packed scuba slasher), and even his 2001 American THE LIFT remake DOWN is trashy, audacious fun. (I also checked out his Halloween episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which you can read about on Patreon if you’re interested.) Some joy was dampened by the amount of screen time spent on dull procedural business in the ’80s ones, but I liked them all. I’m a fan now.
Let me bring up a completely unrelated director for a second. When I reviewed EXTREME JUSTICE recently I wrote about how Mark L. Lester doesn’t get enough credit for having directed CLASS OF 1984, FIRESTARTER, COMMANDO and SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO. And yet I (rightly or not) have little faith that Lester’s 21st century movies like PTERODACTYL, POSEIDON REX or DRAGONS OF CAMELOT would be worth watching, because I assume they’re not coming from the same place. I had similar feelings when I heard that Maas made a killer lion movie in 2016.
But – holy shit! Maas’ most recent movie – which I found as UNCAGED on Shudder, but it has apparently also been released as PREY – is a new instant favorite. It has most of what I loved about his other films, but way more of it. It’s loaded with quirky characters (both the leads and incidentals) who say and do funny things within the context of a story that is knowingly ridiculous but unashamed to take itself seriously. And unlike those other ones it never slows down for long because it has a high, unforgiving body count and provocatively over-the-top gore to attend to. UNCAGED is a total blast.