SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
Hey, I got this great idea for a movie. There’s this group of young folks, maybe just out of or still in film school, and they are making a horror movie. BUT! Here’s the twist - a REAL killer shows up and picks them off one by one! How awesome is- what’s that? It’s been done? Several dozen times? Shit. And you say one of them was called Cut and starred Molly Ringwald? Well then. How bout a movie about Prefontaine?
To be fair, this one came before a bunch of the others, including Skeleton Crew, which I just watched last week. But it also came out the same goddamn year as Scream 3 and Urban Legend 2 (the same year there were like three Mars movies! What the hell was up with 2000?), and it lacks UL2s earnest goofiness and Scream 3s.. uh... Neve Campbell, I guess. And the backstory about a cursed, unfinished film was used to greater effect in this years Hills Run Red, so in short: the movie’s kind of lacking any real use. Everything it does was already done or has been since done better, rendering it little more than a passable curiosity.
Lets start with what I liked. The soundtrack, while probably awful on CD, is the rare kind that seems like songs one would naturally hear over the course of three days. I never got why some movies had wall to wall songs of a particular subgenre, regardless of the characters (Office Space is a good example - do ALL of these nerdy white guys listen to hardcore rap?). The movie kicks off with Split Enz’ “I Got You” (NICE), then we get some alt/grunge stuff, a bit of pop, a ballad... it’s a nice, realistic blend.
I also dug the killer’s look, because it reminded me of Decker from Nightbreed. Not enough people reference Nightbreed directly, as far as I’m concerned, so I will settle for possible homage. But one thing I DON’T like is that the killer is a supernatural force, something that is not revealed until later in the film. It’s fine when things start off that way (Freddy, for example), but it seems a bit deus ex machina-y to me. Plus it spoils the fun of a masked slasher movie, which is trying to figure out who the killer is. Spoiler: he’s some otherworldly thing that literally melts when the film print does (a sweet effect, I must admit).
I don’t get why so many of these movie-movie slashers have supernatural elements behind them. Midnight Movie suffered from the same problem (even worse there, since it was so muddled in its execution - at least I know what this guy’s limitations are), and Popcorn had some of this stuff too. And Skeleton Crew had all of the possession and scenes of people watching themselves in a film called Skeleton Crew. Scream 3 may suck, but at least the killer was a human guy, not a re-incarnated Billy Loomis. That said, I do kind of like the idea of a killer that is literally living film. What with everyone shooting on DV nowadays, it’s possible that in 20 years people won’t even understand the finale.
And maybe in Cut 2, some folks making a sequel to this film will shoot it on digital and the killer will simply disappear when someone accidentally drops the hard drive on the floor. (This is my non-too-subtle dig at how dumb the idea of everything going digital is to me.)
One pleasant surprise was how long Molly Ringwald survived. I’m not a big fan of the lass (I was more an Ally Sheedy kinda guy), but I figured she would be killed within a half hour or so in a Psycho-but-really-Scream kind of way. This allowed the few scenes where she was under attack to hold some suspense, because I actually thought she would die. Luckily, she didn’t have anywhere else to be, so she sticks around all the way through.
So like I said, it’s entertaining enough, but nothing special either. It’s technically sound and the cast is largely decent (I’m guessing Ringwald and Kylie Minogue ate up most of the budget - the DVD has no extras to solidify or dispute this theory), but the script is rather blah, and I’ve just seen too many versions of this story for it to really stick out in my mind. I won’t remember a thing about it in a week.
What say you?