Zach Bohannon ‘The Witness’ Review
Written by: S.T. King
What you are about to read is a true account.
I refuse to hold anything back, as I must finally release what I’ve held inside for so long.
– From The Witness, written by Zach Bohannon.
I was proud at myself for not laughing. There I was, straight-faced, staring at her in the eyes. She said she held it in for so long. Admittedly, I’d thought of her intestines. Don’t look at me like that, reader. I find no fetish in a woman’s bowels. I’d just read her confession, is all. And a few of the pages happened to be covered in shit.
Rebecca Long is her name, twenty something years of age, one hundred thirty something pounds of tortured and pissed off college girl-friend — the perfect weight of the “last girl”: a girl who’d planned a drive to Chicago with her friends, met the devil in the cornfields, and came back with a story to tell.
“Hey,” said Blake. He was Rebecca’s girlfriend. “Don’t be an asshole.” Then he jangled his keys in his hand.
Blake sat next to Allie. Allie nudged her boyfriend, Michael. She leaned closer to him and I heard her say, “do something,” under her breath. “He’s such an asshole.”
“Have any of you a different voice,” I said.
Rebecca’s turn then. She hunkered over her hands and looked at Blake. I watched her lips. “Asshole,” they mouthed.
“Whoops – guess not. No diversity here, I see.”
Blake flushed and got up. I waved him back down. “Sit down, lover boy,” I said. “Let’s just get to the interview. This won’t be long, I promise.”
I stole a glance at the reader’s clipboard. She had the handwriting of a beheaded chicken. But even still the two out of five was fairly clear, red ink.
I leaned over and shuffled my notes. Then I waved to the cameraman “Are we rolling?”
“We were always rolling, dipshit,” he said.
Then we shot the interview.
Years after me and the reader met with the original folks who inspired the story, and we took it and started the script and budget and initial casting, we combed over the police-reports, and the confession Rebecca had written. She wrote it with Zach Bohannon, who wrote it as her memoir, The Witness. The goal was to make a slasher-film. But there was a caveat, you see. I didn’t want any contemporary influences, any of that story-telling, narrative bullshit. I didn’t want to try anything new. And thus it required college students. Nowadays where could you find a more bland population to work with?
The Witness, in and of itself, was only missing those faces I’d need to bring it to life: a trio of college boys with washboard abs and that Baywatch-beach swagger — then, of course, the girls. And just a few will suffice, I think: our main girl, Rebecca, and the other, who despite her charming and preppy goldilocks, won’t be missed, not even by the pansiest, pansy-man on the pansy committee.
Of course there’ll be blood, you imbecile! As much as I can steal from the kitchen floor, at least – what I can scrounge from the chicken-waffle joint where I spend my nights, dreaming: about this memoir turned slasher, this ode to torture-porn in film. I desire nothing but bland and one dimensional dialog here, people: no need for an asshole slinging a sling-blade for free hockey tickets – and who gives a flying wad of snot why the deranged are deranged, anyway — as long as they’re eating the undergraduates. That’s what’s important, you see. Slashers are about the spectacle right, the gore right?
Rob had talked Blake into taking a scenic route on their way to the Crossroads. The Mississippi Delta is full of empty highways, and Rob had insisted on making the trip as genuine as possible. He wanted to pass corn and soy fields all the way there in order to get the full experience of seeing such an important piece of both Southern and music history.
– From The Witness, written by Zach Bohannon.
Then the camera pans out and I followed the chugging Ford down the interstate. A tear wets my eye. It took my cameraman nine times to get that shot. How many times had I watched The Children of the Corn and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre – and Jeepers Creepers and Freddy versus Jason for this single, looming, panoramic shot — for that inkling in the beginning of the story: that an orgy of college kids are going for beer and sex and rock and roll. And maybe in their feeble minds they’d already been humping each other, and grinning like Cheshire cats. And the audience knows they’re not going to get that. If they did they wouldn’t be here, eating Kit-Kats they smuggled in their man-cleavage and cargo-shorts.
But, I digress.
The reviews came relatively quickly; and it was praised mostly by the kids: those who’d never seen a slasher and found a guilty pleasure in seeing the blood — those that’d been scared of violence all their lives and used the medium to treat themselves, and those that liked it, because why the heck not? It’s mindless and arousing, like bacon.
The bulk of the critic’s, though, said it plays on a formula that’s slap out of inspiration, maybe not speaking to prose fiction, but to slashers as the whole of a body of fiction. There is no compelling and fresh voice. Its progression is awkward and contrived. And it has more clichés than Mr. Roger’s has flat colored, tile textured cardigans.
Final Rating: 2/5
About The Author: S.T. King is an aspiring novelist with a ravenous appetite for the dark, and an insatiable thirst for the ink of the fantastique. Currently he’s a mental health counselor, helping people purge the skeletons from their closets – though admittedly, he thinks it’s more fun putting them back in
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