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Friday, August 23, 2013

Home Si--Uh, I mean "Fear Island"

Well, here we are again! Unfortunately, as I said in my update earlier this week, the copy of Home Sick that NetFlix sent me was pretty shoddy, so hopefully they can send me a better one. Not holding my breath, though..I'm still waiting for my second attempt to watch Smiley, post-convalescence.

Anyway, I found a quick replacement, called Fear Island. It looks generic, but it's also playable, so I'm up for it. Yes, my standards are delightfully low at this point. SPOILERS on the horizon!

The story begins on a confusing note, showing us a young woman being pursued through a forest. She runs and jumps quite a bit, and there are a dozen or so views of the same shot of her eyes in an extreme closeup. Oh yeah, this is going to be a quality film!

After about a minute of this, the gunmen find her hiding spot. They surround her, and seem to be a SWAT team or some kind of police task force. Then the title screen comes up. Okay, I'm mildly intrigued...or, as intrigued as I can ever get by these things.

The young woman is under arrest, and throngs of reporters are waiting for her at the police headquarters. During her interrogation, we find out that she has amnesia. D'oh! The detective questioning her doesn't buy into the amnesia story and starts yelling at the girl, but a psychiatrist named Dr. Chalice interrupts them.

The cop and the doc go into the hallway, where we find out that the cop has a questionable incident in his file that makes him unreliable. Oh, and it turns out that there were about 6 dead bodies found on the island where the young woman was captured. I guess that's a bad thing.

Dr. Chalice finds out that the mystery woman wasn't even read her rights, and goes ballistic. She informs the cop that she's putting the young woman in the hospital under her supervision, at least until they can locate the girl's family. Young Dirty Harry doesn't like it, but has no choice in the matter, given the condition the girl is in.

The mystery woman dreams about the dead people, hearing their voices, and wakes up screaming and writhing around in her hospital bed. Dr. Chalice, accompanied by a couple of uniformed police guards, enters the room and sedates her with an injection. When the cops leave the 2 women alone together, Chalice sits with the girl and watches her sleep.

The girl dreams about the incident on the island. The trip was some sort of getaway, because she and her friends were all going off to college soon, and this was supposed to be a final bash before they left. There are four of them, 2 boys and 2 girls, but another young man has arrived late, getting to the dock seconds after the small boat has launched.

As he watches the boat slowly drift further away, the latecomer makes the decision to leap for the boat. Oh, and he's the first character since Dr. Chalice to get a name: Mark. Hey, that's me!

Mark's running leap succeeds, and he manages to cling to a railing. They pull him aboard, and there are cheers and high 5's all around. Oh, and the young man who was told to pull away from the shore is named Keith. Wow, 2 names in one scene!

Our Jane Doe gets a name as well. She's Jenna, and she just got accepted into a performing arts school, as a dancer. They all make a celebratory toast, then Mark flirts with the other girl, causing Jenna to stand up and walk away. She apparently used to date Mark, and there's still some tension between 'em. She decides to hang out with Keith for a little while.

They approach the island, which is privately owned. There's the usual disclaimer about there being no phones or wireless signals, merely put in there for guys like me, so that we can't nitpick about the many ways they could get help. Eh, I still think it's just weak writing.

They tie up the boat, and head straight for the house. There's a hot tub(time machine?) with a lid over it, and they waste no time in getting it ready for use. Also, Jenna spots a strange wind-up toy, a monkey on a bike, spinning around on the back porch. Scrawled on the monkey's back is the word REVENGE.

Oops, end of flashback. The angry cop puts the toy in front of Jenna, claiming that it was found next to one of the dead bodies. The cop asks Jenna a simple question: If she didn't kill her friends, then who did? That leads into another flashback.

Mark still has a torch for Jenna, but is advised to back off. They apparently broke up 3 years ago, which is either sad or creepy on his part. Maybe both. This girl sure does have a lot of flashbacks to stuff she technically never heard or saw!

Oh, and she FINALLY remembers her own name! Sheesh, we knew it before she did. How does that work? While the cop asks another officer to verify the name, Jenna begins to cry. Then the cop reveals some new information: Witnesses saw 6 of them get on the boat. So how are there 6 dead bodies?

Jenna just now remembers that there was a stowaway on the boat. Uh huh, sure there was. Keith finds a cute young brunette on the boat while he's moving boxes. The new girl, Megan, just smiles a lot and bats her pretty eyelashes. Hey, I'm convinced she's harmless!

Then we FINALLY learn all of their names...Tyler is the leader of the group; his brother is some surfer dude-looking guy named Kyle; Jenna's friend is Ashley(oh, and I forgot this earlier, but she has a dog that she keeps in her bag, like Paris Hilton...); and we've already met Keith, Jenna, and Mark. Got all of that straight? There's a quiz later.

Anyway, Ashley and Jenna whisk Megan away to find her a bedroom. Back in the present, the cop asks Jenna to identify a head shot of Megan. Wait...if none of them were identified yet by the cops, how do they have portraits of them from when they were alive? Is this supposed to make sense?

Jenna claims that Megan was a threat, because of her sex appeal, but then contradicts herself by saying that Megan was "special" in some way. The cop responds by telling her that Megan was stabbed in the throat. So much for being special.

Back in the past, everyone makes fun of Mark, who has found a pair of tacky, bright shorts to wear. He asks Ashley where Jenna is, and ducks out to meet up with her at the dock. As he heads back upstairs to change his ugly shorts, Megan comes downstairs. Tyler grabs her by the hand, insisting that he should fix her a drink before they join the rest of the group.

As sick of the flashbacks as I am, Dr. Chalice gives Jenna a sedative to shut her up. Yay! As Chalice leaves the hospital room, she encounters the angry cop in the hallway. She tells him that Jenna isn't the killer, at least in her expert opinion. That probably means that Jenna's the killer...I'm going to laugh myself silly if I'm right.

Anyway, Angry Cop tells her that he looked into her background. It seems that she's not a very experienced shrink, and that she spends most of her time on the witness stand. As the cop vows to uncover the truth, we get more flashbackstory.('cause it's a flashback, and fills in the backstory...oh, never mind)

Ashley and her boy-toy are in the hot tub. At the same time, Megan and Kyle are doing shots, while Jenna is on the dock "doing ballet". The flashback is interrupted by the cop, who tells Jenna that he thinks she's been faking her amnesia.

Back to Megan and Kyle. Ashley's dog arrives, and drinks from one of the shot glasses. That somehow makes Kyle and Megan horny, so they decide to suck face. Someone seems to be watching them from outside. Ashley and Tyler are doing kinky things with an ice cube in the hot tub. Oh, and thanks to the subtitles, I finally discovered that the dog's name is Pierre.

Kyle sends Pierre outside, then resumes making out with Megan. As Jenna keeps trying to dance, Mark arrives to distract her with his general moping around. Mark asks her to "call a truce" for the weekend, but she seems to think that he's obsessive and creepy.

Megan lets Kyle carry her to a bed, but confesses that she's a virgin. In fact, she admits that she's only 15. Rut roh! To his credit, Kyle does the gentlemanly thing, and chooses to walk away. See, chivalry still exists! Some time after that, an unseen person finds and takes Pierre.

At the hot tub, blood somehow gets mixed in with the ice bucket water. Ashley has blood on one side of her face, and Tyler does a double-take when she turns to face him. Kyle comes outside to see what happened, and they all begin blaming each other for putting blood in the bucket.

As they're all shouting back and forth, Ashley finds out that Kyle let her tiny dog run loose in the woods. Kyle stomps away to find the dog, at which point Angry Cop asks the very same question that I had earlier: How can Jenna recall events that she never witnessed? She claims that the others told her things after they had occurred. Sure they did.

Dr. Chalice calms them both down, then asks Jenna to resume telling the story "her way", which she does. Kyle returns, without poor Pierre, and it's dark out. He guesses that Keith is holding the dog somewhere, as a prank. Kyle and Mark knock at his door, but he seems genuinely confused when they ask him to return the dog. When they leave, he reveals that the dog is hidden in a kitchen cabinet, whimpering and frightened. Man, what an asshole.

Okay, maybe not...he reveals that he did it to protect the dog, because he saw it drinking from the glass of alcohol. Ah, so he was the one watching from the window! Wait, I'm confused here...are we rooting for him because he protected the dog? Or is he creepy again, because now we know he's a peeper?

Keith sees the reflection of a figure trying to sneak up on him, and the scene ends with no resolution. When Mark and Kyle return to the main house, they report that Pierre is still missing. Kyle tells them that if Keith continues to try to intimidate them, he'll hurt him with a knife he carries for protection. When he shows them the weapon, it's already smeared in dry blood.

Jenna defends Kyle, suggesting that another intruder may be on the island. Tyler tells her that it's not possible, and that the island is surrounded on 3 sides by cliffs. They would hear another boat. When Ashley worries that it was Pierre's blood in the ice bucket, Mark assures her that the dog will be found alive and intact.

Back in the present, Dr. Chalice tells the detective that Jenna's parents were located. It turns out that they were away on a trip to Cambodia, but are returning right away to see their daughter. Reading my mind, the cop asks the shrink who would go to vacation all the way over in Cambodia? "Rich people" is apparently the answer. She leaves a file about Jenna with the detective, but tells him that her history is trouble-free.

Back in the interrogation area, Jenna suddenly cries out that it was Keith. Time for more flashbacks...Jenna makes coffee for everyone, but Ashley is a no-show. She woke up earlier, and immediately resumed the search for her dog. While she's out in the woods, Mark finds a jar of jelly filled with thumbtacks. Mmmmm, who doesn't love an old-fashioned peanut butter 'n' blood sandwich?

Ashley can be heard screaming, and the others run outside to find her. She comes sprinting toward the house, and the 3 guys decide to have a look at whatever caused her to scream. They don't find the dog, but they DO find Keith, who has been hung up by his ankles, with the word EVIL carved into his torso.

The cop and the shrink point out that she just contradicted her own story, because earlier she was yelling about the killer being Keith. Oh, and the cop is apparently named 'Armory'. Okay, so we have a doctor named Chalice, a cop named Armory...wanna bet that there's a chef named Ladle? I have a feeling that this script was written in crayon.

When Armory demands to know why they didn't all just get in the boat and leave, the shrink tells him not to personalize the case, and that the victims were not like his son. I think this movie hates me. Or maybe the movie became self-aware, and it literally hates itself.

It turns out that the boat vanished. They manage to call the cops from the house, but they won't arrive until the following day. At least that explains how they knew to look for Jenna in the opening scene. Some of this is starting to make sense...Did I just say that?

They all head outside, where they can hear that toy monkey spinning around in the vicinity. But who wound it up? Mark heads to the trees to find it, but hears an evil laugh, and hesitates. There might also be a voice, but the words can't be heard.

The guys decide to cut down Keith's body, and they tell Megan and Jenna to remain at the house. As soon as they leave, Ashley announces that she's going into the woods to continue her search for Pierre. Being such caring, compassionate women, they offer to search instead...and leave her alone in the house. These folks are geniuses.

Tyler tells Mark that the reason that Keith was around so much was because he was Tyler and Kyle's half-brother. When they arrive at the right tree, the body is gone. The blood, too. So the killer is still on the island.

Detective Armory shows Jenna a file, and it indicates that Keith's death was different than what Jenna described. Rather than telling us what actually happened, the script glosses over the details. Ridiculous.

Ashley wakes up from a nap, and she hears Pierre barking. She leaves the house, and approaches the hot tub. She finds a studded dog collar in front of it, and throws open the cover. As she gets in to search for her dog, the killer slams the lid down, ties it down, then raises the water temperature. Anyone hungry for boiled ham?

Kyle and Mark return from the hike, and find the house empty. They split up to get Tyler and the girls. Oh, and Ashley drowns. TTFN, Ash!

Mark finds Megan, but she's not with Jenna. They find her soon enough, but panic again when they realize that Ashley has disappeared. At the house, everyone meets up agin, and Megan spots the spiked collar in front of the hot tub. Painted on the lid is the word GUILTY. They pull her out of the hot tub, and her corpse is covered in blisters and burns. Jenna stops telling the story, and remembers how close she and Ashley used to be. Then she asks them if she can speak with her friend, as has to be reminded that Ashley is dead. Creepy.

On the island, they wrap Ashley in a sheet. Mark speculates that the killer might just be some random nutcase, and it's pointed out that, random or not, they're all still in danger. The conversation turns into a shouting match, with everyone accusing everyone else of being a potential killer. To make it worse, they realize that, even in groups, there were periods of time when each person was alone.

They bring the corpse to a freezer, then make a plan to remain in a group. In the storage shed they come across a pair of walkie-talkies. As they return to the house, they spot the toy monkey rolling around on the patio. Maybe the monkey killed them all!

Jenna is the first one to spot another word painted on the glass door leading into the house: INNOCENT. When Dr. Chalice points out that none of them were "innocent", Jenna again tells her that Megan was "special" in some way. When asked to elaborate, Jenna explains that Megan wasn't even supposed to be there, so the killer couldn't have planned on her arrival. So???

On their way back to the house, Kyle hears a noise. It's the sound of someone crying. He urges the rest of the group to go inside, while he investigates the sound. They give him a baseball bat for protection. Before they even have time to miss him, he steps on a bear trap. They work to free Kyle, then everybody heads inside, where they lock the doors and windows.

In her hospital room Jenna is reading a bible. She tells Dr. Chalice that it gives her comfort. Then she asks the shrink about Detective Armory's son, and is told that he died during some type of hazing incident. He drowned during a "water torture" gag.Detective Armory nearly killed one of the kids at the scene.

Dr. Chalice then gives Jenna her nightly sedative. After the shrink leaves, Jenna spits the pill out. It turns out that she made a secret compartment in the bible, where she's been hiding the sleeping pills. What a zany gal!

In the past, Kyle gets drunk to dull the pain from his wounded foot, while Tyler arms himself with a nail gun. Someone appears to be watching the house. Then the brainiacs decide that they should somehow move Kyle upstairs. As they all get him there, Jenna thinks that she sees the killer outside. She gets Mark and Tyler, and they go outside to have a look. Nope, nobody's out there!

At about 4 in the morning, Mark and Jenna nearly share a kiss, but then the power goes out. Megan goes upstairs to check on Kyle, but she can't seem to find him. Then a tree outside goes up in a blaze, and someone outside begins to fire a gun at the house.

Tyler is hit, and they all work together to drag him to a safe spot behind the couch. Then we end up back in the hospital. Jenna wakes up, and finds someone new in the room. A young girl, who is also a ghost I guess. Jenna calls her Regina.

Kyle can be heard pleading for his life, and the others find a walkie-talkie. Using the device, they try to figure out where Kyle has been taken. Jenna thinks that the words left at every crime scene might have a clue, so she writes them down: REVENGE, EVIL, GREED, INNOCENT, NAIVE, and ATONEMENT. When put together, the first letter in each word spells out REGINA. Friggin' Atonement, man. Did these guys watch Tormented?

Uhhhh, back up a sec...who's Regina?

She was a student who had disappeared the previous year. She had gone to one of their parties, and got herself pretty smashed by the end of the night. As Regina partied, they filmed the whole thing. And by "they", I'm referring to Tyler and Kyle. Megan hears the story and proclaims that she's safe, since she had nothing to do with whatever happened to Regina.

Jenna takes one of the walkie-talkies, and insists that Megan should have it. Megan accepts it, then leaves the others to their fate. But first, she promises Jenna that she'll keep in touch with them, as frequently as possible.

As Jenna recalls not being confident about trusting either Mark or Tyler, Megan gets back to the main house. She comes across Kyle's knife(which is clean again), then the others return as well. She's no longer around, but they find a mound of dirt and a little plastic shovel. The killer wants them to build a playground? Or does the killer want some beach toys? On an unrelated note, life can sometimes be a beach.

The sight of the dirt leads to another flashback-within-the-flashback: Apparently, something bad happened to Regina. After being raped and filmed, Regina tried to sneak away in the middle of the night, but Tyler grabs her wrist. A struggle ensues and Regina stumbles, dying when she receives a blow to the head on a piece of furniture.

He and Kyle buried the corpse in the woods. As Jenna insists on being shown where the body is buried, the flashback ends. Then Jenna discovers that her folks will be back home sometime the next day. That means the movie's almost over! Orgy at my place! Bring champagne!

Anyway...The characters seem to be having a weird role-reversal, with Armory believing Jenna now, and Chalice poking holes in her story. Yeesh, whatever. Just unmask the killer so I can head out and see You're Next.

A report from the coroner arrives, revealing that Jenna was either mistaken, or lied, about Keith being the first victim. Rather than explaining this, the movie decides to resume the flashback by showing Megan, back when she returned to the house. She backs out of the main room, and finds Keith looming behind her. Whoa...Keith's the killer?!?

The others arrive at the burial site, where it appears that somebody already did some digging. Tyler begins to dig, and they soon find not Regina, but Kyle, in the hole! D'oh!

...and that's when Regina uses her walkie-talkie. She sounds panicky, and tells them that Keith is alive. They hear her beg for her life, then the transmission ends on an abrupt note. Double d'oh!

They hurry back to the house, and Tyler vows to kill Keith for what he's done. He gets to the house first, and grabs a knife from the kitchen. Then he calls out to Megan, while searching the house. He hears a sound coming from one of the kitchen cabinets, and gets a chestful of venom when a snake emerges from said cabinet.

Tyler yanks the snake out of his chest and screams for help. Jenna and Mark can only stand by, while he dies right before their eyes. Jenna tearfully tells Mark that she feels responsible for everything that happened. She apparently witnessed the drunken 3-way at the party that night. It looks like Ashley also saw some of it.

At the police station, ?Jenna tells Armory that when she "heard what happened", she wanted to "kill them all". Uhhhh...didn't you witness it? Her story changes so often, they should write it as a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

Mark tells Jenna that they need to find a way to get back to the mainland, then they both hear a noise upstairs. Mark suddenly kisses her, then they head up the stairs. Nice time for romance, dude.

There's a large shape on one of the beds, but it's covered up with sheets. Mark draws a sheet back, expecting to see either a dead Megan or Keith, but it's the bony remains of Regina. Keith radioes them, telling them that Regina was an innocent victim. When they ask about Megan, he only says that she's been taken care of by him.

They return to the hallway, where Keith ambushes them. He claims that they need to suffer they way they lived. H?e also says that he cared about Regina, and that his feelings compelled him to seek revenge on all of them. Except Megan. She's special. Yeah man, we've heard.

Jenna bites Keith in the arm, forcing him to release his grip on her. Then Mark goes at him with the baseball bat, and both men fall to the first floor during the struggle. Jenna leans over the railing to have a look, and neither man is moving. She examines Mark, who appears to be dead, but Keith springs back to life and tries to grab her. Jenna then gets agitated when Armory and Chalice interrupt the story.

Keith pursues Jenna through the forest, but he trips. She nearly gets captured while climbing a hill, but a well-timed kick buys her some time. Unfortunately for her, she then gets snatched up by a rope trap, and is helplessly swinging by her ankles.

Keith soon arrives, and can't help laughing at her predicament. He compares what he's going to do to her to skinning a rabbit, then moves in for the kill. Fortunately, Regina pops up and attacks him with a shovel before he can hurt Jenna. Then she takes the knife, and uses it to cut the rope holding Jenna.

They limp to the dock, where the boat has somehow returned from oblivion. They climb aboard, even as Chalice and Armory ask why Megan didn't survive. While Jenna looks for boat keys, Megan speculates on what it must feel like to lose a loved one. And she edges away from Jenna. Uh oh...

Yup, there's another killer. Regina was Megan's older sister, and she wants her own revenge for what happened a year ago. Frankly, I'm just shocked that she hasn't said, "I know what you did last summer..." They've used every other cliche, more or less.

Megan takes out the knife, and Jenna claims that Megan and Keith were in cahoots. Chalice reads a file, and verifies that Megan and Regina were sisters. Armory just rests his head on the table, lol. I think I know how he feels.

Back to the boat: As Megan closes in on Jenna, Jenna "remembers" that she killed Megan in self-defense. While Dr. Chalice protests that Megan was stabbed waaaay more than a few times, Det. Armory argues that Jenna can go home until a decision is made by the district attorney, regarding filing any charges. Jenna just sits back and smiles.

In the hospital room, Jenna fixes 2 cups of water, then offers one to the doctor. Chalice takes a sip, then sits down. She tells the girl that there are many holes in her story, like the thing about her and Ashley being in first grade together. Or seeing a vision of Regina in her room, despite never having seen her before.

 Remember the hoarded sleeping pills that were hidden in the book? Well, Jenna sure did! She put them in the cup that she handed to Chalice, and the doc collapses to the floor. It turns out that Regina was like a sister to fact, she WAS her sister!

Jenna's parents arrive, and they ask about her condition. Armory reports that she's been through an ordeal, but should be fine. Then her mother sees the photo board, and asks why her daughter's picture has the name "Megan" underneath it...rut roh!

Okay, so go back, re-watch this entire thing, then switch Megan with Jenna...and it still doesn't quite work! Armory races to the hospital room, where he discovers that Dr. Chalice is...alive. Wow. So far, that's the best twist. Oh, and yes, I'm laughing, because I predicted this whole thing earlier.

The final sequence shows Megan on the road, having apparently stolen Chalice's car keys and business attire. The car breaks down, and she entices a motorist to give her a lift. Oh, and she calls herself Megan. THE END

Oh, where to begin? The ridiculous plot aside, the acting was terrible, the sets were monotonous(The interrogation area and the hospital were in the same building? HUH?), and it was very, very bland in the acting department. 1-and-a-half stars, and I'm already blocking this one out of my memory.

What did I learn from watching Fear Island?

-People should always have names that describe what they do for a living. On that note, I am now Sarcasmo the Mighty.

-If you get a young girl drunk, rape her, then kill her, make sure that she's an only child! Or just, I don't know, just a crazy thought, RESPECT WOMEN. Dagnabbit.

Stop trying to make Canada look like America. Or just make better slasher movies, Canada! Just because you guys made My Bloody Valentine, it doesn't give you a free pass to make crap like this later on.

I screwed up my NetFlix queue, so I didn't get a slasher in the mail this week. I'll peruse the Instant options, and hopefully find something worth watching. Have a great week!