NOVEMBER 13, 2011
For a while now, I have been quietly bitching that Netflix should separate legitimate movies from the shot on consumer video dreck, because it’s not fair that a solid, well-made movie like Forget Me Not is lumped in with nonsense like Don’t Look In The Cellar. Since all we have to go by is the cover, it’s impossible to tell what you’re going to get until you actually start watching (and I am 100% against turning a movie off). Plus, sometimes I’m genuinely in the mood for one of those “true indie” things, and thus I wouldn’t want to inadvertently start watching a slick, million+ budgeted movie instead. They can at least tag them somehow.
On the other hand, thinking it was one of those laughable movies made me enjoy Forget Me Not even more. A few lesser actors aside, this is a fully professional film, and even better – it has a script worth a damn. Unfortunately Netflix’s synopsis gave away information that was purposely withheld until the film’s final reel, which hampered my enjoyment some (as I joked on Twitter, it would be like describing Planet Of The Apes as a movie about a man who discovers that Earth has been overrun by intelligent apes), so I urge you to skip reading it if you plan to watch the flick.
And you should plan to watch it, especially if you dig slashers. I didn’t list it as one, because it’s closer to a Final Destination movie than Friday the 13th given the specific victims the killer is after as well as the heavy supernatural elements. But at the end of the day it IS a movie in which 6 or 7 teens are creatively killed until only one girl is left, which is very much a slasher movie scenario. So as a slasher fan, I really enjoyed how it took the basic blueprint of one and made it something vastly more interesting.
Even with my casual attitude toward spoilers here, I don’t want to say much more, because the movie is very much under the radar and chances are you’ve never heard of it. Plus the hook is fairly nifty, and part of the fun of the flick was not only figuring it out, but appreciating how they slowly reveal what is going on in the first half, while teasing us with the killer’s motive in occasional flashbacks (the final one being what Netflix used to describe the film). I was particularly impressed with the very first occurrence; the situation is addressed but it plays as if the character was just being a bitch – it’s not until it happens again that you realize that the previous exchange had a different meaning.
I also dug the variety in the death scenes – a pretty spectacular car crash, a gory workshop “accident”, someone is buried alive… when one happens off-screen later in the movie, I was actually kind of mad. Not because I was spared some visual carnage (which is never a good thing), but because I was enjoying the effort that they were putting into each one. So many modern body count type movies (especially low budget ones) don’t bother doing anything creative with the kills anymore, so again, I walked away quite impressed and wondering why the movie wasn’t given a bigger release. The cast is familiar enough to warrant at least a limited theatrical release, I think (star Carly Schroeder was in a few well received indie films, plus the Lizzie Maguire show), and even if they were all making their first movie, a creative script that doesn’t tell you everything in the first 10 minutes is rare for ANY genre these days, even more so for horror – this sort of thing should be championed, not dumped on DVD two years after it was first shown (at Screamfest! I missed the screening and now I regret it).
Speaking of Schroeder, there was one bit that made me groan, when the group attempts to buy beer. Schroeder is the only one in the cast who is playing her age (they’re all supposed to be high school seniors; minus Schroeder the average age was about 24 or 25), so seeing a bunch of mid 20s people worry about how they’re going to get beer when they’re not old enough is just ridiculous. Obviously I’ve seen worse (actors like Breckin Meyer and Stacey Dash were playing this age for a decade straight), but when their solution is to basically steal it while one of them nails the clerk in the back room, you gotta wonder why they bothered spending more than a single line of dialogue on it, rather than a whole scene of them each explaining why they couldn’t be the one to try.
On that note I should add another minor thing that was surprisingly cool – they never get to the lake house. 95% of teen horror movies revolve around them heading toward a cabin or lake house or whatever, and that’s where the bulk of the action occurs. But Schroeder’s character (the only one who seems to know what’s going on) gets wise before they even get there, and thus detours are made and they never even really get out of their general area, I think. Again, it’s all about expectations – you see the pretty cast and hear their plans, and instantly you think it’s the most generic horror movie ever, when in reality it’s craftier than half of the theatrically released horror films in the past five years.
And again, that’s why I’m being vague with the review. I don’t want to oversell the flick – it’s not exactly a masterpiece (as with most high concept movies – not just horror – the 3rd act drags some because all of the pieces are in place and there’s nothing left to discover), but it’s also a horror movie that has a real script at its core, something screenwriters Tyler Oliver (who also directed) and Jamieson Stern should be lauded for. Plus, it’s so rare that you stumble across anything that can surprise you anymore - with all of the websites and other sources (I’ve had more than one movie spoiled by Twitter), some movies feel like old news by the time you can actually watch them. I have avoided as much as I can, but does anyone feel like they know pretty much everything that happens in The Dark Knight Rises already, thanks to spy reports and such? So because this movie is rather obscure, I just want to do my part by telling you guys to check it out, but without giving away key information that could dampen some of your enjoyment, like Netflix is.
What say you?