MARCH 9, 2011
Instead of the usual loud fan on the ceiling, my bathroom has this sort of space heater thing built into the wall, right below the towel rack. Which I love, because it makes my towel nice and warm for when I dry off after my shower. Unfortunately, I hung it a bit “low” and the towel was actually resting on the heat, which burned a big circle in my towel this morning. No fire, didn’t even make a hole, but it’s still kind of scary and interesting, unlike anything in The Wailer (La Llorona).
Honestly, this may be one of the most generic movies I’ve ever seen in my life (I wish there was more to the towel story – this will probably be a short review). It never gets better than its melancholy opening, with a woman drowning her kids in the river, believing that if she got rid of them she could be with her lover, who rejects her when she tells him what she did (as per the traditional La Llorona story) . Although in this version he sort of kills her (a joint effort – he’s holding the knife and she more or less forces him to stab her), so it’s a little different than the version I know, where he just leaves and she kills herself later.
But after that, yikes. We meet our bland and annoying teens, and of course they are comprised of two couples and two single “nice” folks who are getting to know each other, and of course they are heading out to an isolated house to party for the weekend, and of course they go swimming and one of them pretends to drown in order to add some excitement to the interminable first two acts, and so on and so on. I don’t even know why I bothered pausing it when I left the room to check an email – it was a new movie, but I had seen it 49596 times already.
The horror elements, which finally kick in at around the 55 minute mark of the 80 minute film, are no better. If anything they are worse, because after almost an hour of this crap you owe me some good kills and maybe even a scare or two, but it’s just as rote and pathetic, boiling down to nothing more than an endless cycle of shots of someone getting attacked, a cutaway to someone hearing them struggle, and then finding their dead body, followed by a lot of panicked crying and screaming until the next person gets grabbed. We never get a real good look at La Llorona, the gore is laughably generic (everyone seems to have the same “slashed face” appliance), and it’s just plain dull. Evil Dead may lack a crackerjack story, but Sam Raimi and co. more than made up for it with their inventive camerawork and FX (and for a larger chunk of the film’s running time to boot).
It’s also an ugly looking movie. I was suspicious right off the bat, when the company’s logo appeared, looking like it was taken from a VHS (the poor tracking being a key giveaway), but the movie itself didn’t look much better. Some of it was obviously just poorly compressed for DVD, but I could tell that even from the source it was hardly a visual masterpiece. The sound was also pretty bad, often sounding like it was recorded directly in camera. There’s also a scene where the male lead is clearly talking but the soundtrack has him muted while another guy makes drinking/burping sounds. OK.
This scene also kicks off the only part of the movie besides the opening where I was enjoying myself. The kids are either socially advanced or stuck in 1985, because rather than producing some weed or acid to party with, one of them pulls out a vial of coke. Four of them snort up happily, but the obvious final girl turns down the offer. And she’s quite civil about it (“No thanks”) but one of the other girls immediately snaps, asking why she is being such a bitch and ruining their fun and what not. So they start fighting, which is always awesome, with the nice one mocking the cokehead’s fake breasts and such. Then, the icing on the cake, she takes off, followed by the guy who is trying to nail her, who tells her “I think it’s really cool that you stay away from coke”, the same way one might compliment a love interest on their interest in charity work. Yeah, she’s a real independent spirit.
The DVD has a bunch of trailers for movies that look equally as bad, as well as a behind the scenes piece that is primarily the actors talking about how much fun they are having and how well everyone works together, so at least it fits the movie’s cookie-cutter approach. It ends with a split-screen showing the behind the scenes of a particular shot along with the finished product, except it appears to either be a different take or just out of sync. Good to know the editor was just as disinterested as the audience.
Oh, and there’s a sequel. I know this because both Wailers are among the four horror titles at my Blockbuster that I haven’t seen yet (not an exaggeration – the other two are Curse Of Alcatraz and something called Freakshow from The Asylum). Impressive or sad? Your call. Either way, let’s all just hope Wailer II is better (it has a different director at least, so I’m hopeful).
What say you?