MAY 30, 2008
I hope the Blockbuster clerk was, like all Blockbuster clerks, completely oblivious to what I was renting/buying (or what anyone else in the store was doing, for that matter) the other night when I rented Séance, because I was also buying Highlander 5, and both films star Adrian Paul. I would hate for the sod to think I was some sort of Adrian Paul junkie, for as far as I know, there is no such thing and thus I would be the first. I’d also hate to think anyone actually realized that I was buying Highlander 5, for the love of Christ (excuses: I actually own all the others so I felt bad for the poor thing, and also they were doing 3 for 20 and I could only find 2 I actually wanted).
And it was not Paul, but the cover’s proud declaration that the film was “From The Writer of Vacancy” that piqued my interest. But sadly, it’s his script that is ultimately this film’s biggest problem. The cast is fine (more importantly, they look like regular college kids), the makeup and visual effects are good (other than some CGI rain in the first act – what the hell?), and it’s even a good looking film despite its digital origins. But the script was just too generic to really hold my interest. It’s yet another “kids fuck around and bring back a murderous ghost” movie, complete with a little “good” ghost girl, a Ouija board, the whole nine yards. There is nothing in the film you haven’t already seen in movies that weren’t that great in the first place. Luckily, since the other elements are perfectly fine, if you’ve never seen a film before, you will probably really enjoy this one.
There are a few nice touches, however. One line in particular made me laugh out loud; a girl says “He wasn’t there and then he was!”, to which someone responds “That’s how ghosts work!!!” Hahahaha, awesome. There’s also an odd moment where the girl is begging her boyfriend to “do something!” and he yells “Who do I look like, Harry fucking Potter?” and I swear to Christ she says “yes!” There’s also a delightfully nasty kill near the end involving an elevator (it’s not a particularly logical death, but it’s a good one nonetheless).
I would like to mention the music. There are two types in the film. One is a very Goblin-esque score that is pretty decent (and fits with the film’s sort of generic feel). But the other is just variations on "Itsy Bitsy Spider". Can we get a moratorium on horror movies using little kids’ songs from the past century and trying to make them creepy? It barely ever works, and it’s just ridiculous to boot. If you want to scare someone by singing a well known song, you gotta go with "Total Eclipse Of The Heart". “Turn around.... bright eyes....” - shudder.
There’s also a pretty hilarious moment where the heroine is breaking all of the lights (the ghost is only visible in the dark, another reasonably inventive notion). As she breaks the final one, the ghost appears and they begin a chase scene, which is lit by the obvious production lighting coming from the ceiling. It’s so obvious I almost expected Paul to grab the boom mic guy or maybe a key grip and kill him in the middle of the scene.
But while the film’s only real crime is being generic, the making of is just an abomination, making even the kissass-iest EPK piece of shit look respectable in comparison. Half of the footage (including the interviews) looks like it was stolen off of Youtube (I suspect the editor digitized the footage at low resolution in order to piece it together and never bothered to re-digitize at the proper resolution once he was done), the director interrupts his own actor’s interview, and there’s even a “hilarious” mock interview with a parrot. The editor also has never bothered to learn about audio tone, leaving jarring moments of complete silence in between clips. Or how to edit at all; a full minute is given to a PA bringing one of the actors a sandwich. Gripping footage. The only reason I would recommend watching it is to see Joel Geist, who plays the film’s resident loner turned hero, talking with a noticeable gap between his two front teeth, a ‘blemish’ that is covered in the film itself. Also, Adrian Paul discusses how he researched serial killers like “Ted Bundy and Robert Rodriguez”. While I am no defender of Spy Kids 3D or Sharkboy and Lava Girl, I would never go so far as to call Rodriguez a murderer for directing them.
(I assume he meant Richard Ramirez).
So it’s not a bad movie, just a by the numbers one. Like I said, if you haven’t seen the type before, it’s no better or worse than the others (well, it’s definitely better than that piece of shit The Brink, I’ll give it that much).
What say you?