Lapses’ ‘Hexercise’ (2018) Movie Review

In director/musician Matt Cannon’s (also known as Lapses – read our interview with him here) filmatic debut, Hexercise, there is something special. I can’t quite nail down what it is just yet, whether it’s the killer soundtrack pumping throughout the entirety of the film, the humor that permeates despite not the short having any actual dialogue, or the obvious homages to similar films like Killer Workout or Death Spa. What is clear, however, is that Hexercise is not to be slept on.

Ultimately, Hexercise is more than just a short film; it’s also an album. The music that Cannon created for the soundtrack is phenomenal. It’s driving, and it fits the vibe of the film perfectly. From the first note of The Cult Gathers” to the final song on the album, “Powerdrills,” the music fits perfectly. In other films, I have noticed that the music doesn’t always match up to what is happening on screen, but that’s not the case here. This is a film about a haunted gym, and the music is perfect workout music. I ultimately cannot say enough good things about the soundtrack, and that’s the most important part of a film like this. Lapses has always produced music that I enjoy, despite it not being the style I typically am drawn to, and this is no exception. A+ work on the soundtrack.

You wouldn’t expect a silent film to be exceptionally funny, but that’s exactly what Hexercise is. Leading actress Kelly Kriegshauser steals the show with her facial expressions, which allows the viewer to easily read the situation. At one point, we see Kelly’s sleazy boss, played by Brock Vickers, get way too close for comfort to her. The expression Kriegshauser makes is priceless and told me far more than any sort of dialogue could. This just goes to show how good the acting was. In a silent film, you must rely on your actors and actresses to be expressive, and all of the folks involved with Hexercise did an amazing job. I’m definitely hoping to see both Kriegshauser and Vickers in more in the future. I personally don’t care much for horror comedies, but this was done in a clever way that never felt too heavy handed and never outstayed its welcome. I won’t go into too much detail, but the deaths were fairly funny, as well. All were clever, and none felt too goofy or silly where it detracted from the film.

More so than anything, Hexercise is a love letter to those great films of the ’80s that seemed too ridiculous to be good, but managed to be good anyway. I’ve known Matt Cannon for a little while now, and when speaking with him about the film, he’s mentioned that he wanted to write something that he ultimately would want to watch, rather than try and please certain audiences. I’d call this a success. We don’t get to see too many films that channel the spirit of those goofy ’80s slasher films the way that Hexercise does. A fine spiritual successor this is.

I really cannot say enough about how well done Hexercise is, from the soundtrack that’s become a favorite of mine, to the comedy that is so well done, to being a well written love letter to those ridiculous ’80s slasher films. Matt Cannon and the production company he owns with his wife, called Cannonbell Productions, had one hell of a debut. I’m excited to see what’s next, but in the meantime, be sure to checkout the trailer for Hexercise below! Will you be checking the film out? Have you already gotten to see it? Let us know in the comments!

About Matt Stumpf

My name's Matt, and I love all things horror. Books, movies, video games; you name it, I like it. Martyrs is my favorite horror film, and everyone should watch it. I also have a soft-spot for those cheesy 80's slashers. I'm still slightly convinced that Faces of Death is real.

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