AUGUST 29, 2009
A few minutes into The Seamstress, I “tweeted” that I already ranked the movie above about half of the DTV Lance Henriksen movies I had watched for HMAD, simply because they spelled his name right. So it’s amusing that it indeed falls right in the middle of what I expect for these things; nothing particularly surprising (like the decent Madhouse), nothing terrible (Mangler 2), just sort of... OK (Sasquatch Mountain).
I tend to not like supernatural slasher films, not counting the Jason sequels where he is clearly a zombie. The reason is - there is no need for any chasing/stalking, because it seems the villain in question can just appear behind someone and stab (or in this case, sew) them to death without any buildup. If you’re going to have that sort of setup, you need to have a little more fun (i.e. Shocker), but this movie follows the early 80s slasher model to a T otherwise.
To wit: we have six young people, 3 guys, 3 girls. We have love triangle issues and characters going off to have sex. We even have a woods-based setting. You take any one of these scenes out of context and you can be forgiven for thinking you are watching The Burning or something. But apart from some clumsy humor related to the sexual hijinks (including a guy that goes off to masturbate, a habit that’s apparently just a sort of nuisance to his friends; the Final Girl even waits around for him to finish), the story is rather serious, almost cripplingly so. The backstory is a bit convoluted, and Final Girl is driven to solve the disappearance and likely murder of her father, which means it’s a no-nonsense type journey for her. It’d be like if Hatchet focused primarily on Tamara Feldman (character-wise, she was the film’s weakest link) and left all of the others way in the background. Plus, the characters seem kind of old to be engaging in this sort of grabassery.
And Lance isn’t in it enough, but that’s par for the course these days (does the guy ever spend more than 2 days on a film set anymore?). He plays a very Lance Henriksen-y character; a shady man who you immediately suspect of not really being the villain, and he’s not, but has done enough wrong to warrant his eventual demise (this isn’t spoiling anything, Lance has only survived about 5 of his hundred plus movies). And unlike Screamers 2, it doesn’t take the whole goddamn movie for him to appear; he’s actually in it throughout, just in brief glimpses (at one point they randomly cut to his character sitting in bed smacking a baseball bat into the mattress - then it cuts back to our main group again. OK, thanks for stopping by, Lance).
But apart from some scenes that are too dark to clearly see what is happening, it’s well shot, the actors aren’t terrible (though one of the girls looks a lot like our heroine, making it a bit disorienting at times), the killer’s look is pretty cool, and I never really got bored (it’s only like 72 minutes long), so in that respect it’s worth a look. It’s also got one of the best cheesy taglines in quite some time - “A million ways to die... this is the worst!”, which is something I expect to hear during the trailer reel at Grindhouse night at the New Beverly. So in short, you can do worse, and hey, taking the time to learn how to spell “Henriksen” should be rewarded.
What say you?