If you are a fan of British indie horror then you may have heard of Tony, at least the short film version. For those fans of the serial killer sub genre of horror, this will be right up your alley as it depicts a rather loathsome character who is from a part of London that is certainly not regularly shown to the rest of the world outside the UK. This is London down and out in a back alley getting stomped on by sneering drunks. It’s the ugly under belly of London, dark and grimy. That is a lot of what can sell Tony to an audience, the rich ambiance that Gerard Johnson brings to the table with this movie. The movie follows the title character, an unemployed chap who is rather inept at pretty much everything in the world – except for getting away with murder. He might just be the most painfully bumbling version of Jack the Ripper that there ever was.
The actor Peter Ferdinando does a great job with Tony and this is crucial because all the ambiance in the world would not be able to better a movie this focused on one character if that primary actor had done a poor job. Instead, we get to see how Tony goes about his utterly hopeless existence watching X rated movies and taking in action flicks – on VHS. He’s no good at dealing with people, can’t find anyone to love and is rather poorly attired, to boot. The absolute bottom of the bad part of London’s proverbial barrel is what we are watching. The thing is, not only does Ferdinando do a terrific job of portraying Tony and Johnson creates the ambiance flawlessly, but the effect ends up being almost painful to watch. We are generally not asked as a horror audience to feel bad for the bad guy, but the scenes are so grippingly horrific from a social stand point that you can nearly sympathize with Tony wanting to kill people right up until you see him do it.
When Tony begins to take his quota of lives in the film, he turns into such a cold and mechanical slayer of humanity that it’s not really possible to feel too bad for him. He’s extremely good at offing people if nothing else. We follow him through all sorts of sordid situations with what some in the audience might experience as nihilistic glee. The main issue is that the film really doesn’t go anywhere beyond Tony dicing up people and chatting them like a truly deranged creature. He kills and kills and kills, but in the end there is no real motivation for the killing nor is there anything to see beyond dirty old England. Perhaps that was the point as many filmmakers will often say and if so, then that is fine with this reviewer. However, in fairness to this site’s audience it needed to be pointed out because a large portion of movie fans, even horror fans, do not like a film with no clear resolution.
So that wraps things up. You’ve been warned, you might not like Tony.