SEPTEMBER 29, 2013
Being a "credits guy" (if you don't recall, doing titles on stuff is how I make my living), I tend to pay attention to them more than I should, which can sometimes affect how I look at the movie. For example, if I didn't notice that Aberration's female star also wrote the screenplay, I could just shrug off scenes where characters tell her she's beautiful, and chalk up the fact that she seems a bit too old to be playing a high school student to the usual strange casting decisions that plague horror movies like this. But knowing that SHE HERSELF was behind a script where she (23-24 years old at the time of production) was a 17 year old that found herself desired by two handsome fellas, I can't help but roll my eyes a bit. Not to mention have flashbacks to Soultaker (from MST3k) and Kiss Of The Vampire, both of which had the same problem.
I mean, sure, it's better than writing yourself as an ugly jerk that no one wants, but it just feels a bit self-serving, and twice as bad when you're too old to be playing the role. Why couldn't she just set the film in a college? I could buy her as a senior, even a junior, but when there's a scene where her mother accuses of her of having a beer, it feels a bit silly. And when the climax rolls around, and the killer is explaining that he just killed his own girlfriend so he can finally be with her because she's so beautiful and perfect (while mocking her boyfriend's own obsession with her), I can't help but wonder if this was some sort of Twilight fanfic that got turned into a movie somehow.
Of course, if that was the case they'd be pretty impressively ahead of the curve. Despite just hitting DVD now, the movie was copyright in 2006, a full two years before the first Twilight movie (and barely into the book's run), so that can't be it. No, it's actually an attempt to join the sort of movies that were in vogue at the time it was produced; namely: J-horror remakes and ripoffs. Our heroine keeps seeing a little ghostly boy with blackened out eyes, and eventually has to determine if he's friend or foe while solving the mystery of his death - same as any half dozen others adapted or directly ripped off from our Eastern brothers. So it's actually kind of helpful that it's been collecting dust for a while - it actually comes across as retro now. If it was actually new they probably would have done it found footage.
And admittedly, it's not THAT bad, as these things go. The mystery isn't terrible in theory, but it unfortunately does take a while to kick in, as the script keeps dragging its heels with bland teen drama (no one in town likes her boyfriend! Mom works a lot!) and the sort of scares we've all seen a million times. We know it concerns some years old tragedy that no one wants to talk about, but the entire thing is solved by a trip to the library where Kristy does a quick Google and finds out the whole story from like two articles - the movie could have been over in 20 minutes if she thought to check the internet sooner. Plus, we know the boyfriend is innocent, because duh, so all the time spent on trying to cast suspicion on him just feels like a waste of everyone's time - it'd be like if Nightmare on Elm Street spent the entire runtime with Rod saying "I didn't do it!" and Nancy not sure whether or not to believe him, and only finding out about Freddy's existence with 10 minutes of the movie left.
I also have to admit I was surprised to discover it was shot in the United States (Wisconsin, to be precise). I heard more than one "abOOT" and the male characters are seemingly all on the local hockey team, so I thought for sure this was a Canadian production (that the sheriff's American flag patch on his uniform was reversed didn't help matters any). That it was so steeped in local businesses and seemingly populated only with local actors (I didn't recognize a single person, though I will keep an eye out for the lovely Bobbi Jean Basche who played the best friend) gave it a fun "Let's put on a show" vibe I don't see too often anymore (especially since everything is secluded, claustrophobic found footage movies). Sure, you know that the over-gestating extra is probably someone's uncle, but there's a charm to that sort of thing, and when you add in the fact that it's practically a relic, I couldn't help but be somewhat endeared to the whole thing.
The credits list a "Behind the scenes director" or something of that nature, but that will be lost to the ages - the DVD is completely featureless save for the scene selection (not even subtitles, which I discovered when I thought I heard a character say he was inviting over his male friends for "some porn and shit" - three rewinds later I realized it was "SUPPORT and shit", referring to their friend who had recently died). The movie is shockingly low on online information as well; usually these long-shelved movies tend to turn up a 3-4 year old posting of its trailer and an IMDb post saying "Where the hell IS IT?", but there's absolutely nothing about it older than 2 months ago - not even a goofy "Hollywood comes to Wisconsin!" type news article about its production. It's as if the movie was made in total secrecy and then time traveled to this year in time to be released for the Halloween season, where it should make a fine Redbox rental for your 14 year old's slumber party (there's no rating, but it's PG-13 equivalent).
What say you?