MAY 27, 2012
This weekend I was dismayed to discover that most of the films I hadn’t seen yet on my various Echo Bridge multi-packs (anywhere from 4 to 8 films) weren’t even horror, so they are wholly useless to me – I can’t even get anything for them for tradein at the used DVD store I frequent! Sorry, HMAD screening attendees, you’ll be “winning” a copy of Closets very soon, because the other stuff on the disc doesn’t quite meet HMAD requirements.
Then again the IMDb lists this one simply as a “thriller”, but it’s clearly horror, being that it’s about a vengeful ghost that kidnaps a kid in order to lure other victims to its realm (shades of Insidious, though it was produced before), and even has a couple of bloody murders for good measure. So maybe I should look into the others more carefully; pity the man who trusts the IMDb for any reason. The only reason I looked there is because these films are obscure and thus it’s hard to find out much about any of them without actually sitting down to watch – this movie doesn’t have a single user OR external review listed, for example.
Anyway, it’s surprisingly almost pretty good. The low production value, miscast actors (if you suspect the lead role is played by the film’s producer, you’d be correct!), and horrendous FX kill any chance of it being something I’d actually recommend, but I’ve seen enough of this sort of thing to recognize that they were at least on the right track. The redemption story is interesting, and there’s a twist at the end that I actually didn’t see coming – always something worth lauding, especially after so many of these damn things. With a real actor in the lead (Corbin Bernsen is on hand for a bit role – he would have been a far better fit) and more time/money, this could be a pretty decent flick.
However, the story is a lot like Insidious, and director Charles Peterson is no James Wan. The few attempts at scares are botched, and even though the ghost has a fairly creepy presence, he fails to make it as memorable as Insidious’ old lady or lipstick demons. There’s a cool bit inside a garage where it rips a dude’s ears off, but otherwise it just appears in that tired, J-horror “stuttering” way, and obnoxiously speaking only in rhyme. I don’t know why horror filmmakers think rhymes are inherently scary, but I never found them to be. You know what’s scary? A ghost who can appear out of thin air and kill the shit out of you. Saying something like “Come into the light, so that day is night”? Not so much.
And again, the actors. The lead looks like a Paul Sorvino stunt double, and his attempts at dry sarcasm just sound forced and awkward. But none of his line deliveries are nearly as awful as the image of him sucking on his wife’s face early on (before – spoiler – the ghost kills her and his kid, leading him to become a paranormal investigator), a visual that may induce temporary impotence. The attempts at banter between the folks on his team are also pretty cringe-worthy; his nerdy right hand man’s attempt at scoring a date with the new girl come off as borderline rapey when it’s supposed to be cute.
Final note – free tip for future projects: don’t start your movie off with the worst composite shot ever committed (the correspondent’s backgrounds on The Daily Show look more realistic and those are SUPPOSED to look fake), followed by a title that says “12:05 AM, 19 years ago”. You can’t go from something that specific to something that vague! This starts a chain of laughable titles where we then flash forward 5 years, then 7, then, as the title says “Another 7 years later – the present”. If you have this much backstory, perhaps dole it out in flashbacks throughout the film so we’re not being barraged with exposition before we even know who anyone is or what they are doing.
And hire better actors!
What say you?