By Matthew E. Milliken
March 30, 2017
The Poker Club is a modestly effective direct-to-video suspense film about four friends who struggle to hold their lives together after one of them accidentally kills a burglar.
The 2008 movie, based on a novel by prolific author Ed Gorman, begins as Bill, Neil, Curtis and Aaron are playing cards at Aaron’s isolated farmhouse in a small New Jersey community. The quartet have been playing on Monday nights since they were college students, but this get-together takes an unexpected turn when they discover a jittery knife-wielding intruder (Lenny Levi) in the kitchen.
The men tie up the burglar after a chaotic scuffle, but when he breaks loose, a wounded and frightened Curtis (Loren Dean) kills him with a single blow from a baseball bat. To avoid an ugly legal mess, the friends agree to bundle the corpse into a tarp and deposit it in a nearby river.
Naturally, this does not resolve their problems, in part because it turns out that the intruder was not just a random burglar.