DECEMBER 5, 2011
I guess I can’t really pretend to be surprised that a movie with such a lazy title as Beware was itself fairly generic, going through all of the scenarios that at least a hundred movies have already done (and usually better), with only a fairly fleshed out backstory and the fact that our core group of “heroes” were all Latinos giving it any identity of its own. But when they have the “the part you need to fix your car won’t be in until tomorrow” scene almost back to back with the “this weekend is going to be fun!” one, the minor attempts at originality are of little use, like a cover band tossing in an original during the encore.
Oh, and once again our characters are hateful assholes. Out of the five only two of them seem like decent people, and that’s because they are given no personality of their own. The Final Girl’s boyfriend is a selfish jerk who cheats on her with her best friend, a catty pain in the ass who seemingly goes out of her way to be insulting. But eclipsing them both in the “please just kill this piece of shit” department is the character of Fransisco, a long haired dude who is obsessed with a generic Guitar Hero game called "Guitar Master". He openly expresses his desire to cheat on his girlfriend (even requesting that the final girl suck his dick while he plays the game), berates the girl who offered them a place to stay when their car broke down, and endlessly berates the other decent guy, who of course never did anything to deserve the treatment. Needless to say, the best scene of the movie is when he is brutally killed.
Then you have the usual supporting cast members: a couple of rednecks (one of whom is bar none the worst actor I’ve ever seen in a film that wasn’t made in the director’s mother’s house), the sheriff, the slimy mechanic (and his vaguely racist boss – his “Menudo” joke is pretty priceless), etc. If there’s a single character in the film that wasn’t stolen directly from another film, it must have been an accident. The closest we get to an original is the killer, who has a butcher’s mask (meh, fine) and a back-story involving multiple cases of adultery, which we learn in an overlong flashback scene that made me wonder if this was actually a sequel to some movie I hadn’t seen and that they were just recycling footage to fill in time.
In fact there are two layers to the sequence. One involves the story’s “tragedy”, I guess, in which the man married to the killer’s mother discovers that she has been cheating on him (is ANY character in this film faithful to their spouse?) and that this guy is the child’s biological father. Thus he does what any man would do – beats the shit out of them both and chains his bastard son up in the woods; the first step on the child’s path to becoming a hulking slasher in a crappy movie. Then in the second flashback, we see the now grown Shane, still chained up in the woods. A trio of teens just as hateful as the ones in the main story (the guy of the group smacks his girlfriend across the face for no real reason – charming!) stumble across him, and you can guess most of what happens next.
I say “most” because (spoiler) Shane doesn’t work alone, and about the only thing that surprised me in the entire movie is that neither the sheriff nor the gas station guys are secretly helping Shane get his victims, like most of the movies in this overcrowded genre. In fact the sheriff is remarkably decent, even refusing the advances of a girl who shouldn’t need to be hitting on a middle aged sheriff (one who appears to be suffering from a cold or worse – his nose is redder than Rudolph’s) in order to stay focused on making sure that the kids have gotten out of the town safely. I guess the town sort of knows they have a slasher problem but figure it’s best not to get involved, something that would have been a lot more fun to explore than watching assholes cheat on each other for nearly an hour before the first of them dies.
Oh, and they die in exactly the order you can expect, especially if you’ve seen the TCM remake, since it pretty much copies their pattern exactly – the boyfriend, the best friend, the boyfriend of the best friend, and finally the quiet guy. God forbid they kill the obvious heroine first and do something interesting! I mean, why not? They obviously have some sort of obsession with wholly loathsome characters – why not get the decent ones out of the way and allow for more douchery? The final 10 minutes of the film don’t have a single act of misogyny or outright dickishness, which seems contrary to Beware’s code of ethics.
Oddly, the thing I enjoyed most was the soundtrack, which didn’t quite fit the movie at all. Nearly all of the songs are from a band called Cinder Road, who could comfortably open for Daughtry or Hinder – not exactly the sort of music any of these characters seem like they’d enjoy, nor did it really fit with the tone of the film. But the film wasn’t particularly good, so Cinder Road deserves better. I was also charmed by the score, which blatantly copied John Murphy’s 28 Days Later cues at times. I mean, everything about the movie was laughably unoriginal, but at least the soundtrack was copied from non-slasher movies, giving us a break from the blatant thefts from TCM, Friday the 13th (parts 3 and 7 especially), and maybe even Hatchet given the backloaded structure and tragic, flashback driven back-story.
The DVD has a making of, which hilariously has one of the actors say that you’ll “feel like you really know the characters” by the time it’s over. Notice she says “know” and not “like” – hell I’ll even give her that one even though it’s not true, because either way it’s meaningless unless you actually want to see them survive and/or feel a bit sad when they die. The only one I felt bad for was the cop – he passed up hot sex with a younger woman for nothing! The rest of it is just as generic as the movie itself, as is the trailer that has one of those taglines that gets split up, so that you forget the context by the time they actually get to the point.
Final note – to those who actually bother to watch this thing, I’ll send a DVD (of a better movie than this) to the first person who can find the hilarious mistake in the opening credits. I was going to just point it out, but it would take too long to explain, so this is better, as it involves a dare of sorts. Is it worth watching this flick (or at least, its opening credits) to possibly win a DVD of something like Puppet Master 5?
What say you?