12/12/12 (2012)

DECEMBER 25, 2012


A true Christmas miracle - The Asylum legit blew my mind (in a good way) during one of their movies! Roughly 18 minutes into 12/12/12, the protagonist couple, happy after the birth of their child (even though he's a mutant), begin to make love. There's a fade to the exterior to show some time has passed, and then they go back to the mom, who is clearly receiving oral pleasure. She's all into it, and then screams... and her husband, sleeping next to her, asks what's wrong. OH SHIT! IT WAS THE BABY!!!

There are a couple of other little bits like that in the flick, where I was actually impressed with the concepts (the executions, not so much) enough to give the movie a pass, once you factor in the Asylum-ness of it all. It's kind of amusing that they can't even get their fake quotes right; on the back they make up an unnamed critic saying that it's a "Terrifying Supernatural Thriller In The Tradition Of The Omen And Rosemary's Baby!" but it's actually a ripoff of the former and It's Alive, with the baby making his way around and killing folks (or brainwashing them into killing themselves, Omen style). There isn't anything really Rosemary-ish about it; the mother has the baby in the first ten minutes and as the film proceeds she becomes a sort of supporting character as we focus on the baby's journey around town as well as a priest and some other cult types who are after it for one reason or another. So I guess there's some End of Days in there too.

Also, like End of Days, it's about an event that means nothing. Their version of 11/11/11 already covered this sort of ground anyway, but 12/12/12 is far less interesting, though to be fair the movie actually starts on 12/12 and builds to 12/21, so I guess they were going for some Mayan shit, but that didn't happen either. So I'm not sure why they were playing up the dates - at first I thought it was a sequel to that film, which was an Omen ripoff and thus 12/12/12 could be the kid as a teen or in his 20s or something, but it has no relation at all beyond using the same font. And that's fine, since that was not one of their better movies and this IS, but why tie it to a date and give it a shelf life? Just call it "Evil Baby" or something and let the money come flowing in long after some nonsensical date has passed.

Anyway, as long as the baby is killing folks, the movie is perfectly enjoyable. The FX aren't great, but they're largely practical and often hilarious - he even chokes a guy with his umbilical cord! And there are plenty of deaths - the movie even has a sort of "In Memorium" montage at the end! - so it never gets too boring, and there are more locations than the norm for an Asylum movie. It's just when it slows down that you really run into problems, though anyone familiar with the company won't be surprised at any of them: the bad, improv-y sounding dialogue, the miscast actors, the weird camera angles that I guess are supposed to make it look more professional - it's all there.

Oh, and people who don't act like human beings. My favorite was the mailman, who catches a one second glance at the mutant baby and feels compelled to immediately call a random friend and tell him all about it, going on and on about how ugly it is. After a full 90 seconds of this, he is brainwashed and kills himself with his box-cutter, having served his purpose as "guy who gave us an extra minute to pad the runtime with by inexplicably making a lengthy phone call". There are a couple of characters like that, where they have their own little vignette (usually on a phone to an unseen character) before being dispatched, but it's kind of charming in a way - I like to imagine the writer or whoever thinking that it made the world more realistic and fleshed out, when in reality it just gave these awkward actors another place to not-shine. Again though, all part of the charm.

The usual gag reel (which is actually funny, because a lot of it reeks of no one paying attention) and making of are included, along with the promo celebrating their 100th film, which probably does them no favors. "You've made 100 movies and they're still this awkward?" But as I've said before, on the average they're getting better - I'd take my chances with any of their 2012 movies over something from a few years ago. So what they're a little slower than other studios? As long as they're making movies that feature mutant babies using telepathic powers to kill random Los Angeles residents, I'm in their corner.

What say you?

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