NOVEMBER 26, 2008
I was interested in They Wait for a couple reasons. One is that it was executive produced by one Uwe Boll, automatically a point of interest (good or bad). Another is that it stars Jaime King, whom I would watch read a phone book (want proof? I watched Bulletproof Monk). And third and finally - it was directed by Ernie Barbarash, who made the above average franchise films Cube Zero and Stir Of Echoes: Homecoming (which I watched almost a year to the day ago, oddly enough). This would be his first original film, so I was curious to see how he fared without having to work alongside any mythology or sequel expectations.
So I suppose it's kind of ironic that the film feels like a remake to an Asian movie that I just haven't seen yet. A lot of the hallmarks of the sub-genre are accounted for: Americans dealing with Asian culture and being the only American around, despite the fact that everyone speaks English (a la The Grudge and Shutter), a child in danger (The Ring, Dark Water), lots of hospital scenes (The Eye, One Missed Call), and, of course, a ghost or ghosts who are mainly pissed about the fact they were improperly buried (see all of the above, plus about a half dozen others). Yet, IMDb's "Movie Connections" page for the film remains empty, so a remake it is not.
Luckily, it's not all that bad anyway. Sure, you can sort of see exactly where it's going right from the first 10 minutes - anyone who doesn't think that Michael Biehn is in the movie just to help provide some exposition doesn't know their DTV movies very well - but it still works as intended; providing the occasional jump scare and even the occasional gore gag (a head split nearly down the middle) that a paying audience expects/deserves. And King, who has never really had a lead before, proves capable of carrying a film nearly on her own (she's in nearly every scene, but other than her son, the other characters just sort of drift in and out).
The movie also has one of the best deaths for a villain ever, not to mention an A+ epilogue. After the movie is more or less done, we go back to one of the conspirators behind the tragedy that set everything in motion. She begins puking up human bones (including a full length arm bone - awesome!), and then all of the ghosts appear and presumably eat her down to her skeleton. SO MUCH MORE AWESOME than a cheeso "everything's OK, the heroine goes home and gets one final scare" bullshit scene you'd expect.
Another thing about the ending (minor spoiler!) that delighted me was a doctor who is watching over King's coma-fied son. She rushes to the hospital, and he turns to her with a stern look and says "I just don't understand it..." or something to that effect, and then finishes "He's completely better all of a sudden!" It reminded me of the terrible doctor on Arrested Development who would tell the family something like "he's gone..." and then 30 seconds later explain that their loved one actually just left the hospital. If a doctor ever did that to me, rest assured his cock would be punched into mush.
The DVD is slim on extras, with only a few deleted scenes, which all curiously take place in the first 20 minutes of the film. No making of or commentaries are included, which is a bummer, as I would have at least liked to have learned how in the hell Boll got involved with this.
In closing, I would like to say that I think it would be awesome if some Asian filmmaker remade this in his home country. Very meta.
What say you?