SEPTEMBER 13, 2007
Let’s talk about some key ingredients for a great horror story. Clowns? For sure. A writer? Hell yes, works for Stephen King in every other book. Isolation? Most definitely. A cast member from Dawson’s Creek (in this case, Dawson himself, James Van Der Beek)? Ye- oh wait. Abandon... The Skulls... Disturbing Behavior... Forsaken.... that one’s iffy.
So where does Final Draft fall on the spectrum? I’ll give you a hint: I’d rather watch Abandon.
Sweet asschristing fuck, I don’t know how a movie can squander so many opportunities to at least be interesting, let alone good, but this one managed. It’s almost more impressive that they failed so miserably than it would be had they just made a good movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that continuously set up so many promising ideas only to never follow through on them.
For example: the backstory involves Dawson’s character laughing at a clown who accidentally burnt himself to death during a circus. He dreams about this clown one night, and decides to write a movie about the clown coming back to seek revenge on all the kids who laughed at him. Now, the movie can do three things: One, actually have the clown come back and get revenge on Dawson; two, have the script somehow come to life as his friends begin mysteriously dying; or three, have Dawson kill his friends himself in order to ‘research’ the story. Hell, they even sort of set one of these up, as one of his actor friends loses a movie role and then he’s “late” for a coffee date with Dawson. Did he die? Did Dawson kill him in a fit of unconscious rage? No, he just didn’t show up on time for some reason. Whatever.
No, instead, the movie is simply an endless montage of Dawson hanging around his apartment, trying to write. He distracts himself with old videos, basketball, coffee, mousetraps, calendars... doesn’t this sound exciting? Then at one point, he begins to imagine his ex-friends and ex-wife are in the apartment with him, taunting him and distracting him further. At this point, he begins writing scenes in which the clown kills them. There’s no gore or anything interesting about these killings, but at least something is SORT OF happening. One gets the idea that the film is fairly autobiographical, that perhaps writer Darryn Lucio really was trying to write a movie about a murderous hobo clown, came down with a severe case of writer’s block, and wrote this instead; sort of like Adaptation crossed with The Shining, but that doesn’t excuse the film from being a colossal bore.
And a couple times during the film we see the final page of Dawson’s script, which says FADE TO BLACK, THE END. Does this film fade to black? Nope. It cuts to it. It’s a meta-movie that can’t even stay meta.
I almost considered writing a meta-review, where I just wrote about how I was having trouble writing my Final Draft review, but I decided to be like the movie in a different way: by being lazy and not putting any goddamn effort into it at all.
What say you?