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Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Hook

So this week's slasher flick is kind of strange for me, in that I thought I had watched it for the blog before. But, try as I might, I can't find a record of it, not even a rough draft on my laptop. So, I guess Red Hook is good to go. Maybe I started to watch it a while ago, and switched it off for some reason. Have I seen so many of these dumb things that they've turned my brain to mush? Will I remember to put up a SPOILER warning? I guess we'll find out....

Right away, I'm getting deja vu vibes, as most of the trailers in front of the movie are for slashers I watched previously as SAW entries. Kinda bizarre. If I run out of slasher movies to watch, I may need to find another sub-genre. Rom-Com A Week? Generic Western A Week? Man, I hope not!

So the movie begins at what looks like the house Michael Myers grew up in, in the middle of a cricket apocalypse. Inside the Myers house, a little girl named Jenny is arguing with her babysitter about going to bed. I guess she can't argue very well, because soon enough, poor Jenny is trudging up the stairs to her bedroom.

She soon sneaks out of her room though, just in time to see her babysitter(who is apparently also her older sister) having a rendezvous with a boyfriend. Little Jenny heads back down for a closer look, only to discover her sister being assaulted by the boyfriend, who is in a police uniform. The sister begs her to run away, and Jenny rushes back to the second floor. Brilliant plan.

As Jenny gets to her bedroom window, her sister is being dragged outside. Jenny watches the cop stab her sister to death, then keel over as someone apparently shoots him. A few more cops arrive, and a detective named Tom is told that they "got him". Fat lot of good that does for Jenny's sis.

Anyway, several years pass, and now Jenny is a woman who looks to be in her mid-to-late 20's, but is supposed to be a younger woman on her way to college. Oh, and she's agoraphobic...for those who don't know, that means that she has a fear of wide-open spaces. Okay, so perhaps that would explain why she didn't try to escape her house when the psycho murdered her older sibling.

Oddly enough, during the opening credits she doesn't seem to be suffering much, as she rides a cab around New York City. A pop song is playing that sounds like it would fit into a "special" episode of Felicity or Dawson's Creek rather than a slasher film, but I don't care enough to mute the thing. Hey, after watching dozens of these, I'll just be impressed if the cast can act.

Jenny finally arrives at her dorm room, and a subtitle tells us that it's "Wednesday". Uh, okay. Did the cab ride takes a week or something? Is there some significance to Wednesday that they're keeping a secret? I mean, look, if you don't want me to find your film annoying, maybe stop doing annoying stuff before the plot even kicks in.

Dagnabbit, now they're just screwing with us...Jenny gets into her dorm room as the bubbly, generic theme song stops, and her new roommate is singing it while she decorates. Okay movie, this means war. *rolling up my metaphorical sleeves* It's.....ON!!!!!

The roommate is Angela, a girl so screwed up, she can't even pronounce her own name correctly. Seriously, she reminds me of that scene in the Mike Myers comedy where he says "You put the wrong em-PHASIS on the wrong syll-ABLE!" Oh, and she's a drama major, which makes her horrible acting even better. Did I rent a comedy by mistake? And did I just reference both Michael Myers and Mike Myers in the same article?

Anyway, after AnGELa gropes and fondles Jenny for about 5 minutes, she pretty much asks her what it was like to see her sister murdered when she was a child. Uh, how the heck would she know about that? People get killed every day, and the case has to be at least a decade or so old, right? It would be like someone coming up to me and saying, "What was it like to eat pancakes for breakfast on May 6, 1986?" How would someone A.) know that about me; and B.) know that about me if we had just met for the first time?

Before the movie can explain AnGELa's psychic powers, in walks Tim, the Resident Advisor. Is he also a psychic? Not in this scene, thank Cthulhu, but he was once dating AnGELa. He tries to more or less ignore her, and welcomes Jenny to college. Oh, and he invites her to take part in a campus tradition: a scavenger hunt that takes place all over New York. Let's hope he just means the city, otherwise this movie could be a miniseries.

He and Jenny have an awkward conversation, mostly because the actress playing Jenny seems to not be familaiar with her part of the script, including body language. Heck, she can't even fake-laugh correctly in this scene. Yeesh. After Tim finally gets to leave, AnGELa tells Jenny that Tim has a small penis, then says "not really," and pouts. Pretty sad when the most annoying character(so far...) gets the best line early on.

Jenny heads off to class, and a guy bumps into her, then tells her he did it to meet her. Since neither he nor Jenny exchange names, his plan seems pretty lousy. Then we see a male student handing a cheat sheet over to a female student for one of her classes. Neither of them seems to have a name, so it's entirely possible that these are 2 students who walked into the scene by accident. Better hope their professor never sees this movie(Who am I kidding? Of course he won't!). A taller student then approaches the girl, and she tells him that she's always been able to get other students to help her cheat her way through classes.

Oh, and STILL none of these people have names, which just further supports my theory that the camera was left on and caught some actual students in the shot. Come on movie, prove me wrong! (Shoot.) The couple see Jenny as they leave the building, and make fun of her for being there. Then she exits as well, and someone appears to be filming her.

Jenny then heads to a room filled with people, and tries to find a place to sit. It looks like it might be the world's tiniest dining hall, but then a snarky chick tells Jenny that she can't have a certain seat because it was the seat the girl was in right before she was accepted into an honors program. So maybe it's the world's least-convenient administrator's waiting room? Yup, I'm going with that.

Well, whichever it is, Jenny stands around in it until a table is free, then falls asleep at the table while reading. When she wakes up the room is empty except for 1 other person, and someone outside is again filming her every non-move. Wow, this is action-packed!

Jenny heads back to the dorm, and finds a sign on her door that says that AnGELa is rehearsing, and can't be interrupted. Then an incredibly attractive, tall brunette comes out of her own room, and offers to let Jenny hang out with her until AnGELa is done being a bitch....uh, I mean, "rehearsing".

Before Jenny can reply, the friendly girl, Deena, reveals that she's a lesbian...but that she likes her dates "larger" than Jenny. Now this is probably a reference to Jenny's chest, but I should have probably mentioned before now that Jenny bears an uncanny resemblance to Olive Oyl, in that she has the body of a stick figure. If Hollywood ever does a Popeye movie remake, she's good to go!

So Jenny gets flustered, and Deena starts to walk away. Deena then has words with Tim and nearly snaps his arm off, but decides to just keep walking. Tim is with the guy who collided with Jenny earlier, who still has no name. However, thanks to the IMDB, I was able to find out his name is Gavin. Ha, I bested you, confounded film!

Anyway, after AnGELa finally lets Jenny back into the room, Jenny gets teased about Gavin liking her, and vice versa. Uh, so what? Jenny, tell her to mind her own business! Oops, I guess Jenny is busy. In the 2 seconds it took for AnGELa to shut the door, Jenny has somehow used supernatural powers to instantly get out of her clothes, and into a towel. I may need that towel, I think my brain just started oozing out of my ear. It's probably trying to escape to a place where a better movie is playing...and the laws of time and space still work.

So, while Jenny and AnGELa talk, Jenny decides to stand in front of the window the entire time. At first I thought this was kind of dumb, but after realizing that she literally has no figure to entice voyeurs, I imagine that any bystander would just look up at the window and say, "Hey, why is that floor lamp wearing a wig and a towel???" Please, anybody, make her a sandwich!

Jenny eventually goes to the shower area. She gets into the shower and hangs up her towel, then turns on the water. After a few seconds, she hears something, and pokes her head out of the curtain to see if someone else came in. Across from her, another shower has been mysteriously turned on.

Now getting scared, Jenny reaches for her towel, but it's gone. Nope, it just fell on the floor. She quickly wraps herself back into it, sees a quick glimpse of someone else moving, and runs for the exit. Run, Forrest, run!

Back out in the hallway, Jenny encounters Deena, AnGELa, Gavin and Tim, all just conveniently standing nearby as she leaves the bathroom. Only Deena seems to give a crap about Jenny's state of panic, and she tries to calm her down. Then a custodian emerges from the shower area, and claims that Tim told him that there was no one in there to interrupt his cleaning. The others all glare at Tim, who may or may not have known that Jenny was taking a shower. If he did know, then he's kind of a jackass.

The movie then tells us that it's Thursday, and we see shots of a cemetary, and POV footage of someone with a camera running around. Jenny returns to the dining lounge(more like a "dining closet"), where Tim approaches her. He makes a half-assed apology to her, revealing that he merely wanted to prank any random person who happened to be in the shower, not necessarily her. Then he claims that half of the fun of college is pulling pranks on new students. Ass. Of a jack.

Jenny walks away after he brings up the scavenger hunt again, and asks some girls if she can sit with them. They wait for her to crack open a book, then they all get up together and leave. Y'know, the New York Tourist Center should give out free copies of Red Hook to everyone who stops in. The charming characters really make me want to visit the city!

Over at the next table, Gavin watches the incident. He finally introduces himself to her(and the audience...), and manages to break down her chilly demeanor by being nice. Ooh, be suspicious Jenny! No one in this movie has been nice up to this point.

Another generic pop song starts up, and Gavin takes Jenny up to a rooftop. To my surprise, he doesn't push her over the side...does that count as a plot twist? No, wait, they look like they're just sitting on a hill now....ugh, as if it matters. Rooftop, hilltop, who cares?

It starts to rain, so Jenny whips out an umbrella. As they sit beneath it together, Gavin asks her if she really saw her sister die. When she says yes, he lets her know that AnGELa has been spreading the story around the entire campus. Then he lets her know that he lost a sibling as well. They bond, and have a warm, fuzzy moment over death and tragedy.

As night falls, they decide to grab some munchies at a convenience store. The store almost gets robbed, but the cashier also grabs a gun, and decides to show Gavin and Jenny how tough it is to get splattered brains out of clothing. I'm going to book a trip to NYC as soon as this movie is done!

Back in her dorm room, Jenny is shell-shocked by the violence. AnGELa just tells her and Gavin to be quiet, so Jenny retaliates by answering her phone. She loudly and happily tells her mother how great the city and the school are, and does a very convincing job of fooling her. After the call, Jenny tosses the phone onto the bed, and tells AnGELa that she's not the only actress in the room. Too bad she never hung up the phone, though....I woder if Mom heard her?

AnGELa gets mad, and decides to do her homework/rehearsal/who cares? elsewhere. Then Tim shows up again, pushing the scavenger hunt on anyone who is unable to escape the sound of his voice. Shouldn't some of these twits be dying right about now? Normally I'd be against watching a slasher flick with too much mindless death....but come ON!

So now we get a long, unfunny montage showing Tim begging, bribing and brown-nosing a ton of people, in order to get participants for the scavenger hunt. I hope I lapse into a coma soon. I need the break from watching this dumb thing.

Thankfully, the movie then shows Gavin arriving at Jenny's room, seeking escape from Tim's hard-selling pitch. Jenny tells him that her agoraphobia stems from her sister being murdered....she fears that, if she were out in the open, she could be killed as well. Gavin empathizes, but tells her that she shouldn't be afraid to live her life. Oh, and he finally convinces her to join him in the scavenger hunt. Wow, the plot may finally be going somewhere...

It's SATURDAY. More shaky video camera footage is shown, this time displaying warehouses and factories. I hope they're not attending a bloodletting. The footage is akin to watching Leatherface's home movies, ie boooooring.

When it finally ends, Jenny gets a text from Gavin, and another syrupy pop song begins. Then Tim welcomes a small group of players to his scavenger hunt. There are about 6 participants, including Angela, who immediately objects to being paired up with a "less cool" looking student. Gavin is a no-show, leading to a great moment where we see a bunch of blurry asses, and momentary glimpses of Jenny looking upset. I'd be upset too, if I was being framed in a shot by butts.

Here are the basics of the scavenger hunt: every person in the hunt will get text nessages from someone named Red Hook. The messages may be the same for each team, or unique to an individual player. When they decipher each clue, the players then have to find the object it refers to, and photograph themselves with the object. At midnight, the person or team who gets to the last location and has found the most objects will win tickets to a White Stripes concert. Are they even performing together anymore?

As the pairs all scatter, Jenny tries to call Gavin. She leaves him a message, and we get "creepy" shots of a map with scavennger hunt locations on it. Ooh, scary stuff. Maps!

At a bar, AnGELa and her teammate are hoping that they have the first correct destination. To get a picture proving that they were there, AnGELa gives the other player's phone to the bartender, then gets up on a stage to "sing". The bartender then grabs some papers, tells them that he was told about the scavenger hunt, and given a specific song that the players had to sing. The clue is set to the tune of "Oh, Susanna", and it's about on par with the rest of AnGELa's songs. Yeah, it's that bad. Just put it on mute, and trust me just this once.

Alone in the dorm room, Jenny tries to call Gavin again. Almost immediately, she gets a text from Red Hook/Tim, saying hat Gavin is in his room. More maps and pins stuck in them are shown.

Before giving us any resolution to the "missing Gavin" mystery, we see 2 more players. This time it's the blond who wanted a cheat sheet, and her dull boyfriend. They get a clue that implies that they need a used condom. Yeah, this is a classy movie. The boyfriend admits that he has a condom, so they walk off-screen to "use" it.

By this time, Jenny has arrived at Gavin's room, and is knocking on his door. When it appears that he isn't there, Red Hook texts her a sarcastic-seeming "Oops." She sees someone at one of the entrances at the end of the hall, but they don't respond to her when she calls out for either Gavin or Tim.

At The New York Times, a cute journalism student and a nerdy generic guy try to figure out the clue they have. They don't, but the duo do find a picture of somebody they know named "Camille". Who's Camille? Seriously, I'm getting tired of referring to characters such as Blond Chick, Her Boyfriend, Cute Journalist, Nerdy Guy.....give them NAMES!!!

Oh well. Blond and Boyfriend have decided to make whoopie in the woods. Sounds uncomfortable and splintery. And possibly insect-infested. Have fun guys!

Back now to the pair looking at the poster. They find their names on a small pair of boots drawn in the corner of the poster, and a guy working at the newspaper tells them about a pizza joint chain called Two Boots. He even tells them the location of one of the restaurants, where movies are shown to the diners. Scavenger Hunting For Dummies should have been the title. After revealing so much information, the employee asks them to let him return to his work. They do, but only after he snaps their picture with the poster. Cheese! In many, many ways.

Back to the forest fuckers. Heh, I'd like to see a movie with that title. The happy couple snuggle together, and snap a pic of themselves with the used condom. They start bickering, and it turns out that she's Camille, and he's Chazzy. Yeah.

Chazzy figures out how to put on a shirt and leaves Camille there, and she starts to gather up her stuff as well. A masculine-looking hand gives her back her own shirt, then stabs her in the gut. As that happens, Jenny gets scared in her room by Tim. He swears that he never sent her the "oops", and that each team was sent clues designed for them.

As Tim gets more and more annoying, Jenny finally decides to leave. But just then, a mystery figure appears, calling out her name. Jenny runs down the hall, then flings a shoe at her stalker. I bet she's got no sole...

Whoops, first a correction: the killer shoe came from Deena, not Jenny. Together, they discover that Jenny's stalker is Tom, the officer who saved her life when she was a child. He confesses that her parents hired him to snoop on her at college, but that he only started 2 days prior. Since Jenny's stalker has perhaps been watching her throughout the week, that means that she could still bein danger. I'm going to be bold, and say that she is.

Okay, so hot Journalism Chick wants to ditch her geeky partner. They find their next clue at a dumpy video store, where the clue is hidden among a bin of returned rentals.The partners insult each other, then get to work. In the dorm, Deena gives Jenny a sealed letter from Gavin. At the same time that Jenny opens the letter, the partners in the store locate their clue.

Then Angela and her partner find a clue, just as Chazzy arrives. Wow, how is he still alive? He tries to grab the clue, but fails, and a chase ensues. Pretty excitung stuffzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Oops, was I asleep? Musta been, because now we're with Jenny and Deena once more. Deena's trying to convince Jenny to team up with her, and she's practically drooling at the idea. Then Journalism Chick and Nerd knock at Jenny's door, to ask for help with their clue.

It looks like Liberace's lunchbox. When they drop it, it opens to reveal another hint and something nasty. In a plastic bag, they find a severed finger. Heh, Gavin gave Jenny the finger! The attached note challenges Jenny to save Gavin, before he loses more body parts. So much for a fun tour of the city. But on the plus side, maybe Jenny will get to build herself a new guy out of spare parts!

AnGELa and her teammate find Chazzy just hanging out by himself. Then we see the other players making fun of Jenny, telling her that the finger is a joke. As they start to gang up on her, a phone rings. Jenny is told to "stay calm", when she recognizes Gavin's ring on the severed finger. Nasty.

They all head to Tim's room, unaware that AnGELa's team is inside, looking for clues on his computer.They uncover a series of photos that show Tim being stabbed and killed. Each picture is more disturbing than the last. As usual, AnGELa laughs, and accuses Tim of pulling a prank.

The others wait around in the hallway until it's dark, then get another text message. I guess AnGELa and the Tweedle Twins weren't on the other side of the door, because they emerge outside without being found. Amazingly, it's not dark outside. I LOVE this movie for not having confusing editting and continuity issues. Do they give out Oscars for random continuity?

AnGELa's team heads to a bookshop(well, she and one of the guys, anyway), and the larger group splits up to explore 2 leads. Jenny and Deena are going to check out a bridge, while Karla(the journalism student...I looked it up) and Roy(she says his name) break off to check out a club called Hellgate.

More shots of the map. Then Chazz and Camille's cheat-sheet supplier split up after a spat, mostly because Chazz was getting sick of the other guy's obsession with his girlfriend. Cheat-Sheet enters a dark, ominous-looking location, while AnGELa is seen examining a window. AnGELa gets her hand caught in a Venetian blind, and whines and moans for a bit until the killer approaches her. As he's killing her(YAYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Cheat-Sheet discovers Camille's corpse while looking for more scavenger clues.

Red Hook sends Cheat-Sheet a text asking if he found the body, and then he finds a note on her, telling him that the prize is his life. Then the "uncool" guy who was paired up with AnGELa gets a text from the killer, telling him to find Jenny, or she'll die.

At Hellgate, it's loud enough to make Helen Keller complain. Roy gets annoyed by Paula and finds the bathroom, where he is stabbed in the face while on the toilet. Jenny and Deena get to their bridge and walk around while that's happening, and Paula somehow gets there in seconds. She tells them that Roy vanished when he went to find the bathroom.

Chazzy finds Uncool banging on Jenny's door, and they compare stories. They team up, and then we see Jenny call her mother. She finds out that Tom the detective was never hired by her folks! Rut roh!! All 3 girls get a rhyming text message, telling them to get to a car for the next clue.

Sure enough, the clue arrives as they're driving. No, wait, it's Uncool and Chazzy. They try to tell Jenny about the murders of AnGELa and Camille, but her end of the call sucks ass. Still, she hears that last part, and tells the other girls. They drive to "Henry Street", which is presumably where Red Hook told them to go.

While sitting in the car and waiting, they hear a series of thumping sounds. Deena gets out to have a look, and finds either Tim or Roy(hard to tell, because the scene is so dark, but I think it's Roy), right before the killer comes after her next. She knocks the killer out, then he somehow gets behind her and kills her anyway, just to further the nonsense we've already seen.

Paula and Jenny go down a red tunnel, then find a sign marked FINISH, in front of a building where carnival music can be heard playing inside. Paula tells Jenny to wait at the entrance, then she goes inside. A screen in front of Jenny shows the other player's faces, along with images of candy and messages along the lines of, "You win! Tickets inside!"

As Jenny watches the images, she sees the camera go to a live feed of Paula being stalked and killed. Then she hears Tom calling her name, so she panics and runs. Being the main dumbass in a film chock full of them, she runs right into The Funhouse of Disembowelments. Yeah, that makes sense.

She gets lost in a maze of sheets(this movie's PACKED with amazing sheet!!!), then finds her boy-toy Gavin, lying on the ground. As they reunite, they both suddenly hear a voice. It turns out to be AnGELa, in a recording of the karaoke scene from earlier. They watch, horrified, as she sings. THE END...

Nah, just messing with ya. Chazzy and Uncool show up, as another screen shows the murders being played out. Jenny tries to warn them that either Tim or Lt. Fox(Tom) is somewhere nearby, but they tell her that Tim wouldn't do that. Then Gavin gets up and starts to unwrap his "injured" hand, revealing that it's intact. *gasp*

Jenny asks Gavin if he murdered the others, Chazzy attacks him, and they both hit the floor. As Chaz starts to strangle him, Gavin whips out a knife. He stabs the other student twice, first in the side, then with a slit to the throat. Then Gavin just calmly gets up again.

He explains that he killed them all because they had never lost anyone, like he and Jenny had. That, in his view, makes them soulmates. Before he gets to deliver a rambling speech about his motives, Lt. Fox arrives and shoots him. Yay!

Gavin sits up, in true slasher tradition, and picks up his knife once more. The cop aims the gun at him, but it turns out that Gavin just wanted to slit his own throat, to avoid a lengthy trial, and more screentime. Jenny holds him as he dies, then the day turns to SUNDAY! OOOOOH,,,,,THE END?

It's ironic, but the best song is during the end credits.

Okay, so I exaggerated a bit for effect(the actress playing Jenny is actually really cute in her IMDB photo...), but this movie was still terrible. The acting, the pace issues, the soundtrack--if not for the gore effects in the last third of the movie, this would have been a completely useless entry in the genre. 1.5 out of 5 killer trees.

And what(ugh....) did I learn from Red Hook?

-That you can have a slasher film called Red Hook, and have no actual hooks used in your movie.

-If you have a fear of open spaces, your first choice for a college will be located in one of the most open and populated cities in the world.

-If a slasher flick is filled with jerks, the most bearable person will be the killer. Go figure.


It looks like my next movie is something called Triloquist. Looks goofy, but that's not always a bad thing. We'll see....