JULY 24, 2007
I purposely rented this movie knowing it would be bad. A good friend of mine, with a similar appreciation for watching a bad horror movie and laughing at it, sought out the perfect piece of crap to watch before I left for Con. And Death Row certainly fit the bill. For the love of Christ, they actually claim it has a “stellar cast including Joe Estevez, Todd Bridges”, and some other guy I have never heard of and have already forgotten.
And it wasn’t even as good as I expected.
Most of the problems stem from the description on the back of the DVD case. We are told there is a stellar cast, but I already pointed out that that is a damnable lie. We are also told that the killer dispatches everyone in “creative and brutal ways”. In reality, he stabs a few guys and shoots the others. Yes, a slasher who shoots most of his victims. I guess that is technically creative, but it is also technically stupid.
They also tell us we will “keep guessing until the film’s shocking end!” or some such nonsense. Well, the first character we meet is the killer, who does not wear a mask or hide himself from the other characters, so all suspense is immediately tossed aside. So what exactly is shocking about the end, other than it manages to take an hour and forty minutes to arrive? The killer’s motive. It is beyond amazing. I would like not to spoil it, but I feel I must, as it’s the closest thing I will write that will perhaps pique anyone’s interest (other than Joe Estevez completists). The killer, a prison guard, is after the prisoners and other guards because… he was raped by an inmate. In a confusingly edited flashback, we see a prisoner rough him up and then force him into what looks like fellatio, but then they cut to a Ving Rhames-y shot of the guard bent over and crying. It is so fucking ridiculous and out of nowhere that I came thisclose to elevating this thing out of “Crap”.
But then I recalled the rest of the movie, which takes place in a ‘prison’ that apparently only has 5 cells (and a classroom), and that everyone dies except the killer and the guy who raped him, and there are like 3 instances where the killer makes up these ridiculous excuses for why he was in the room with someone who turned up dead or ‘missing’ rather than just open fire on everyone since he shoots them all one by one anyway, and is supposed to be about them renovating the ‘prison’ but it looks as clean as any community college would look, and Todd Bridges keeps reading an issue of Fangoria with goddamn Cry_Wolf on the cover…. and then realized that only a handful of previous films were MORE deserving of the “Crap” stamp.
Go to hell, Death Row.
What say you?