OCTOBER 14, 2007
GENRE: HAUNTED HOUSE
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (SCREAMFEST LA)
Man, Dead End really pissed me off. They totally set it up to be a killer dog movie (in addition to a killer dog attack, one of the characters plays for a band named Cujo!), but then they decided to make a standard haunted house/spirit needs x number of souls to rest movie. Sigh.
It’s not a disaster, but it’s overlong and very repetitive. Like an episode of 24, it features characters learning something, and then repeating that same information to another character moments later. Look, the audience isn’t walking in and out of the movie, we really only need information once. If you feel it’s necessary to see a flashback of a group of neighborhood kids throwing stones at a disfigured outcast no less than THREE times, maybe you should rethink your storytelling abilities. The movie also featured the lamest plot device in any horror movie – a ghost who decides to provide a character with all of the information they need to understand why said ghost is trying to kill them (and again, we see/hear all of this information 2 or 3 times). Can’t a ghost just kill some folks without having to explain itself like a Bond villain? And if the ghost simply MUST provide his own motive, can’t he just write it on the wall, or something more cinematically interesting than inserting his memories into another character’s head?
The movie also had a puzzling nature to its subtitles/language. As it was a Dutch film, the characters spoke Dutch, with English subtitles. However, all of the credits, as well as most text in the film, were in English with Dutch subtitles? What the hell? The ghost would also speak English sometimes, which I guess to a native Dutch crowd would sound kind of creepy.
There was one thing in the movie I kind of loved though. As it was a haunted house movie, this meant a lot of doors shutting themselves, with characters unable to reopen them. The characters, for once, actually do something about this. One of them ties a cord around the handle and nails the other end of the cord to the wall, forcing the door open. And then throughout the film, even when other scary/exciting (in theory) things were going on in the scene, you see the door straining to try to close itself. A few more things like that, and I’d be more willing to give the film a pass on its repetitive audience hand-holding, but even so, it’d still be a movie that fails to offer anything new or remain consistently engaging.
What say you?