NFF Masquerade Review: ‘Duncan’

We are currently living through some very turbulent times. Our country is overflowing with rampant civil rights violations, political corruption, election tampering, corporate malfeasance, police brutality, etc. Not to mention a pandemic. All of these things and more are very dangerous threats. So to are conspiracy theories, be it ones involving Adrenochrome, chemtrails, blood of the youth, the Illuminati, retail-based child trafficking, lizard people, and/or secret Hollywood cabals. Or, you know, Pizzagate.

I guess it was inevitable that someone would take it upon themselves to craft a satirical crime flick inspired by the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. After all, the details of this supposed insidious scenario already sound like they were ripped straight out of an over-the-top ’70s or ’80s grindhouse flick, so why not go ahead and take the leap to making an exploitation movie out of it? It’s really a no-brainer.

Duncan follows an amateur journalist and an awkward militiaman that set out on a quest to take down a similar conspiracy. One in which they wholeheartedly believe. They worship at the altar of a conservative talk show host and her latest report on this outlandish bit o’ insanity has finally lit the powder keg of paranoia, confusion, and rage that lied waiting within them both. What follows is an increasingly violent journey that sends our leads down an ever-darkening path from which they cannot return. Actual “fake news” has, for all intents and purposes, driven them mad.

There are fingerprints of ’70s staples like Joe and Taxi Driver on display here, as well as a tiny dash of They Live (although not in the ways you might expect). Does it live up to those films? No, but it would be Irresponsible to expect it to either. This is a down-and-dirty indie flick and a well-made one at that. While I feel like the filmmakers could have taken things farther in a few places, particularly the finale, Duncan is a film that sets out to tell a very particular story and it succeeds in doing just that. What more can you ask for?

Duncan is an original satirical crime film. It was written and directed by John Valley. The film was produced by Aaron B. Koontz. It stars Tinus Seaux, Laurie Gallardo, Alexandria Payne, John Valley, Lee Eddy, Reynolds Washam, Zachary T. Scott, Derek Babb, and Arthur Simone.

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