A gory watch that will be a delight to those who can get past the film’s shortcomings, the plot follows a renegade cop and an investigative journalist whose paths merge as they dig into a missing person case and the people using the monstrous presence that is Havoc respectively. Set in and around a secluded compound it merges horror set pieces with action sequences that will make you nostalgic for exploitation-era thrillers.
Limited budgets are almost a core feature of the horror genre and there are some creative ways Cry Havoc manages to get round this fact. But at other times it is an impediment to what could be an effective take on a modern slasher genre. A muted palette and a feeling that this film is stuck in the same stretch of non-descript woodland make this a mostly dull watch.
Cry Havoc is at times painfully dated (its gender politics would be disagreeable in the 90s), with its throwback quality only hiding so much. You ache for Perez’s film to be a better watch as there is much to admire. Essentially boiling down to a wish fulfilment of Charles Bronson taking on Leatherface, it feels like this could play well to an audience with a healthy diet of 80s schlock. Robert Bronzi is certainly fun in the role of a near-silent force of avenging fury. And the creature design around Havoc is memorable (you can see why he keeps popping up in Perez’s work). But the film surrounding these two is a mostly lacklustre affair, lacking any real punch to leave a lingering impact.
Cry Havoc certainly shows director Perez’s ambition’s scope, forging his own low budget cinematic universe with figures from previous works merging. But what desire there may be for a sprawling set of Havoc films is limited by the technical deficits of this film. Some great character design and effective FX do not make up for a film that really should be better made then this. This is one for schlock completests only.