Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spring Break Massacre

Spring Break Massacre. Awesome title, mediocre movie. I haven't felt this letdown since...uh...The Forest? The Sorority? Man, I watch a lot of crap slasher films, don't I? SPOILERS AHOY!!

Anyway, the premise is stupidly simple: There's a guy named Stanley Peterson, and he delivers pizzas. One night, he delivers a pizza to a home where a girl was brutally murdered by two ambiguously gay guys who were friends of hers. The murder itself was dopey...they play around with a Ouija board, and ask it, "Will one of us die tonight?", to give her a hint that they plan to murder her. Stanley was convicted of her murder, because they were long-gone when he arrived with the pizza. He eventually escapes prison the very same night someone is going psycho on a group of kids and a local law enforcement group.

Believe it or not, this thing does have some recognizable names in it: First, we have Reggie Bannister, the hero of countless Phantasm films; then there's scream queen Linnea Quigley, who I didn't recognize AT ALL(luckily I saw her name in the trailer...this chick really hasn't aged well in the years since Return of the Living Dead and Night of the Demons); and the third is a guy who the trailer claimed was featured in The House Bunny, which was a pretty funny movie. Eh, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, as Meatloaf once sang.

So, after the murder of the girl by her two buddies, we see the aftermath of the massacre we HAVEN'T seen yet. Reggie Bannister is the sheriff, and he's going over the crime scene and evidence as a flashback device. An FBI guy arrives, flashes his ID at the sheriff, and asks him to describe what happened. This leads to a somewhat funny bit where the two men stare at each other(in dramatic slo-mo, no less!) while Reggie keeps tilting his head. Christ, are they gonna make out? Just tell him what happened, man!

We get the first flashback, to The Previous Day. A group of 10 young adults are hanging out at a lake, 6 girls and 4 guys. One of the girls, Heather, mentions that her dad is going away on a business trip. This being during Spring Break, the girls plan to have a slumber party to keep Heather company. The guys, being guys, plan to crash the party to score with the girls. And there you have most of the "plot", in a nutshell. There's a blonde named Zoey, and a guy named Rob, but none of these crash test dummies are particularly memorable. Hopefully their death scenes are.

After the assembly line of corpses-to-be, we are introduced to the sheriff and his deputies. The sheriff, as mentioned before, is the affable Reggie Bannister, being the likable hero-doofus he always is; his second-in-command is Linnea Quigley as Michele, and she looks like what I imagine would happen if Florence Henderson was bitten by a zombie and turned; and another deputy, who is the generic goofball one who usually gets killed first.

Heather's dad leaves for his trip, and the movie introduces my favorite character: the next-door-neighbor Ralph. Every scene he is in is comedy gold. He offers to "keep an eye" on Heather, and demonstrates by planting said eye on her ass. Ralph is great. I hope he's the killer.

So we catch up with the 4 guys, who are all drinking at the local bar and comparing biceps. There's one who I'm going to call "Larry", because he looks like that annoying "Cable Guy" comedian; there's the guy who the trailer claimed was in The House Bunny, so his nickname will be Bunny; there's Rob, who looks like he's bummed out not to win the audition to be in The New Village People; and the 4th guy, a generic Jason Bateman-type, who shall be dubbed RedShirt, for the red shirt he wears, and the generic-ness of his look(like the guys who always died on Star Trek's many missions) . All four try to pick up the bar's waitress, who makes Linnea seem hot by comparison, before deciding that they'll stick to the plan and crash the slumber party.

The girls are equally generic, sad to say. There's Heather and Zoey, of course; also we meet an Asian lesbian(she must've been born in the Year of the Pussy), and her nickname will be Margaret Cho; the short dumpy virgin, whom I'll dub Ugly Betty; and 2 others who have made no impression on me whatsoever. I think one is named Jane Doe. Anyway, while the girls and guys both discuss what to do that night, Crazy Ralph shows up at Heather's front door. It's dark out, but he claims that he wants to give Heather her mail. There wasn't a mix-up by the mailman, Ralph just stole her mail so he could come over. When that doesn't get him invited in, he asks if Hather needs him to look through each room for intruders. Also a no. Ralph then just lays all of his cards on the table, and point-blank asks if he can watch the girls all make out with each other. Brilliant. He then lets out a hearty, robotic laugh, goes back to his stoic face, and strolls back down the lawn to his own house. I hope the walls are padded.

We get our first potential victim of the slumber party group around 35-40 minutes in. One of the girls is having a cigarette on the back porch, and hears noises. When she finally decides that she's had enough, she turns around and comes face-to-face with Ralph. Ralph, awesome guy that he is, is doing yard work with a large machete. When the girl puts out her cigarette and goes back inside, Ralph robotically waddles away. Damn.

The girls discuss the weird neighbor, and Heather decides that it would be wise to make sure that the doors and windows are all locked. Right on cue, there's a loud knock at the front door. Ralph again. He waves at Heather like a 3rd-grader trying to get picked for basketball in gym class, and shows her the cigarette her friend threw to the ground. After a very brief discussion, he waddles away again.

We get treated to a largely unhelpful scene in which the sheriff hangs up a phone and put out a cigarette in an ashtray filled with his other smoked butts. After this largely uninformative scene ends, we are treated to the guys all putting on Halloween masks to scare the girls, who are ALSO putting on scary masks. Now, if we just have a scene where someone loses the rent money, we could be watching "Three's Company". After both groups deny that they had been trying to scare the others, 2 of the guys go to get the car, while the other two try to figure out how to break into Heather's house. Why not just ask Ralph?

The sheriff, meanwhile, is having a bad night. He ran out of smokes(maybe he should check the wastebasket...?), and now his two deputies, named Harris and Hendricks, aren't answering his calls. A car is shown driving around in the dark, so I guess we're meant to assume it's him looking for his police force. In the present, we see a body taken out of the house, and Heather makes a face while the FBI guy and the sheriff get bored.

Okay, back in flashback territory, Margaret Cho has two of the other girls playing Truth or Dare. Being a horny lesbo, her dare is rather obvious: she wants the two to take a shower together. Before that can go anywhere, the 2 guys who went back for the car drive up. They find Bunny and Larry still on the porch, in a position that Bill Clinton probably knows all too well. Both are, upon further inspection, dead. Great. 2 guys murdered, and we never get to see a second of it. When he turns back to tell Rick that they've been slaughtered, Rick is now also dead. Before I get a chance to bitch about how the movie keeps skimping on the death scenes, the last guy is killed before he can even turn around again.

The lesbian is next. While she's distracted by the 2 friends kissing in the shower, the killer sneaks up behind her and bludgeons her to death. Then, before I can do more than blink, the sheriff tries calling Hendricks again on his walkie. Hendricks is shown with half of his face gone. Where the hell are the death scenes???

The two wanna-be lesbians emerge from the shower and rejoin the remaining 3 girls in the living room. The fat chick lights up a crack pipe, and mumbles a bit about how she's smarter than any of them, and they have beliefs from the dark ages. Whatever, Rachel Dratch. Congrats on the only movie you'll ever be in, I guess. (I hope she kept the crack pipe after filming)

The sheriff is getting pretty antsy by now. When his phone rings, we get the closest thing we've had to a plot twist up to this point: it's the prison, calling to let him know that Stanley escaped earlier that night. That's not the twist, but this is: he was visited by someone wearing a deputy's uniform who aided his escape. Could one of the sheriff's deputies be working with the killer? Hmmmmm...

Before we get to explore that idea any further, the power in Heather's house flickers on and off. The girls decide that it must be Margaret Cho, working with the guys to scare the rest of them. Yeah, right. They decide to make as much noise as possible, to draw out the boys, and to start getting naked as a group. FINALLY!! A scene I WANT to watch!!!

The girls were going to lure out the boys by skinny-dipping, but the water outside looks like run-off from Chernobyl. Grossed out, the Topless Wonders all head back inside and put their shirts back on--just as the lights go out once more. Heather grabs a flashlight and almost jumps out of her skin when she hears a police radio transmission nearby. She gets upset and tries to convince the rest of the girls to leave the house, but they all try to assure her that it's still the guys playing a scary prank.

At the same time, the sheriff gets a call back, finally, but not from who he expects. It's Stanley, and boy is he pissed! He blames the sheriff for his false conviction, and this little murder spree is his revenge. He ends the call by telling the sheriff that the deputies are still at the station, prompting the sheriff to rush out the door. Sure enough, he finds their bodies in a police car, covered in bloody wounds. Oops. Okay, so now my question is: what was the stuff about the deputy uniform on the person visiting Stanley at the prison?

Okay, so now we get another scene that makes very little logical sense...The girls panic and rush to the front door to escape. Upon opening the door, they find neighborhood weirdo Ralph, just waiting for them, holding up a knife with some blood on him. He asks if they need help, and when they scream that they've called the cops, it pisses him off. He yells that they shouldn't have called the cops, then he is stabbed from behind. While the killer finishes Ralph off, the screaming girls go running...back into the house.

Still not sure who the killer is, the girls decide that they have to stay together and work as a team to survive. Tiptoeing around in the dark, the girls make it downstairs and try to get a glass door open as quietly as possible. Upon opening the door, they find themselves face-to-face with Heather's dad! He tells them that Ralph called him earlier, to report on all the weird stuff happening in the house.

Happy to be able to escape, the girls try to leave, but "Daddy" has other plans. He tells Heather that he knows the boys came by, and that HE was the one who killed them. Then he starts smacking her around, as part of her "punishment". Wow. Didn't see THAT twist coming. He bashes Heather's head into the floor tiles, before stabbing her in the back. Terrified, the other girls try to escape in the car outside. Bad idea.

The car won't start. This just makes the girls scream louder. Eventually, Daddy shows up next to the car, and holds up a coathanger. taking his time, he methodically reshapes and uses the hanger to unlock one of the car doors, and drags the driver outside. He makes some dumb joke about parking, before shoving a drill into one ear and out through the other. This is followed by another joke.

He chases the last few girls around, before catching the fat virgin. Inexplicably, he makes a remark about how the virgin always lives at the end of horror movies, then mentions that he's a former LAPD cop. Okay, look psycho-dad, just kill them. We don't need corny one-liners, nor do we need a killer who knows he's a movie character. Just do your thing, get killed, and let me return you to whatever foul cave Netflix had you in.

Anyway, the last girl finds Heather alive. I guess the other girl he killed must've been someone else, although it doesn't make much sense that he would scold a total stranger in a way, you know what? I'll just let it slide. Go ahead, movie. AMAZE ME. Dazzle me with all the great stuf you've failed to show me so far.

So Heather is alive, this other girl finds her, and they both ask the father why he's doing all of this. That leads to the dumbest, most illogical plot twist yet: Dad somehow stole a deputy uniform, broke Stanley out of prison, then tied him up and dragged him along back home to pin all the murders on. Sobbing, Heather tells her father tht he'll never be able to get away with the elaborate (and insanely stupid) lie, and he replies that Stanley not only killed her friends and the deputies, but also shot himself. Then he shoots Stanley in the head.

Daddy then tells Heather that her mother's death, in a tragic housefire, was also a murder he committed, for the insurance money. He planned to kill her and her friends, blame it on Stanley, then collect the money from Heather's policy as well. She responds by kicking him in the balls and trying to flee. She gets as far as the edge of the forest near the property, before he catches up. Aiming his gun, he prepares to kill his daughter, and a shot rings out.

Lucky for Heather, the gunshot came from the sheriff's gun. He shoots Heather's dad again, then gets the whole story from Heather about the massacre plot. He radioes his wife and asks her to call the paramedics and as many state investigators as she can to come to the murder site and collect all of the bodies and evidence.

Then we get back to the present. He tells the other investigator that he discovered that the neighbor was a wanted sexual predator who was renting the house from Heather's dad, which pretty much explains his general weirdness. The sheriff also admits that the phone call from Stanley was probably the father as well. The 2 investigators part ways, and the sheriff returns to the ambulance to check on Heather once more.

She seems fine, even when the sherif worries about where she will stay. The movie ends with her telling him that if worse comes to worse, her dad's huge insurance policy will allow her to afford a house of her own. Then she grins, and the movie ends. Over the initial credits, we get bloopers. THE END. Ugh.

Man, this thing was a mess of stupidity. Why weren't the 2 guys in the opening scenes the killers? What about all the evidence the father would have left behind for forensics to find? Did the daughter's thing at the end imply that SHE was in on it too? 1 killer tree, for both annoying me and failing to deliver most of the kills in a satisfying way.

And what did Spring Break Massacre teach me?
-That a movie can pretty much lie to its' audience in the very title.
-Fat virgins aren't necessarily safe...I may be in trouble!
-Linnea Quigley was bitten by a REAL zombie in Return of the Living Dead, but still acts. Wow.

Next up will probably be Friday the 13th 2, because I have Netflix now streaming movie to my WII. YAY!!!!!! If not, I just got my hands on The Fear, so we'll see...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday the 13th(Original)

Well another week, another movie. I was expecting something called Spring Break Massacre, but Netflix lost it or something, so they sent me the NEXT 2 movies in my queue, neither of which is a slasher. So, I threw in the towel, and decided to make good on my threat to start whittling down my Netflix Instant Queue. In that defeated spirit, I bring you the original Friday the 13th(the one I watched a while back was the remake), ma,, ki, ki... SPOILERS up the wazoo!!

The movie opens on the same Transylvanian countryside that Intruder featured in THEIR opening scene. Full moon, fog, the whole 9 yards, man. We're told that it's 1958, and it sounds like The Osmonds are being castrated in one of the cabins on Camp Crystal Lake. While the counselors are inventing Karaoke Night, the camera guy gets bored and goes to another cabin with a sign on it reading "Foxes". Maybe it's that weird movie that starred Kristy McNichol in the early '80's. Wait, was she nude in that one? I may need to add it to my queue...

The camera guy starts looking around at all the sleeping kids. It's like a Labor Day sale for Michael Jackson! (now THAT would make for a scary movie!) Before he can kill any little kids with his Camera Guy Powers, we switch back to the Counselor Choir. Yeesh. These folks look waaaaay too wholesome to inspire Jason's wrath. 2 of them, whom I'll refer to henceforth as Barbie and Gay Ken break away from the main group, probably to do each other's nails and talk about boys. Nope, they smooch for a bit, until Barbie tells Gay Ken that he sounds "special". Wow, so she wants to get it on with a guy who rides the short bus? Nice. Aim for the gutter, Barb, and you'll always win!

Anyway, Gay Ken decides to see if he can fit Barb's entire face in his mouth. He nearly succeeds, but "someone" decides to disrupt them. The camera guy kills Gay Ken with his camera, which he sticks into Ken's gut. The girl, who makes a face that resembles a cross between Mason Reese(anyone old enough to get THAT reference?) and Yoda, throws boxes at the camera. She opens her mouth so wide, you can see her tonsils. The camera freezes on her face, and then the titles come up, and break my monitor. We get what looks like closing credits, which would make this the shortest movie in the franchise. With a body count of TWO, no less! Yayyyyyyyyyy, see ya next week!!

Oh, wait. I guess there IS a whole movie to watch. Gosh, who knew? Next thing, you'll be telling me that Kevin Bacon is in this...uh, whoops...

Okay, enough horsing around. So this chick with a backpack, Annie, asks a dog for directions to Camp Crystal Lake. I shit you not. When that doesn't pan out for her. she stops at a small diner to ask for directions. Other than a lot of blank stares, the locals don't offer much help until a guy who looks like Hoyt Axton offers Annie a lift to the campgrounds.

On their way to his vehicle, the pair are accosted by one of my favorite characters in this franchise, Crazy Ralph. The remake didn't have a Crazy Ralph, which is a hame, because he's just a batshit-crazy dude. He tells Annie that if she goes to "Camp Blood", she'll never come back. It's an interesting way to pick up chicks, maybe it works.

Anyway, the guy giving Annie a ride asks her how much she knows about the camp and the guy who runs it, Steve Christie. When she admits to knowing very little about the camp itself, he relates to her the full story of the couple we saw in the opening scene in 1958: There was a boy who drowned in '57, named Jason. Big shocker, huh? Well, that drowning was followed by a series of mysterious fires, a sewage problem--basically, every time someone tries to re-open the camp, bad stuff happens. Annie laughs off his stories, and she gets out of his truck at the Mohavian Cemetery to walk the rest of the way.

We then meet Marcia, Ted and Kevin Bacon. Marcia and Ted seem okay, but Kev looks a little, oh, "footloose". Maybe he heard a stir of echoes, after Marcia revealed she's having a baby? Okay, okay I'll be serious...ish.

They drive into camp and meet the gayest lumberjack any film has ever featured, the aforementioned Steve Christie, and his able-bodied sidekick Alice. He tells them all that he wants to get started right away on getting the camp fixed up for business, as campers start arriving in 2 weeks. Then, despite his denim short-shorts and neck kerchief, her tries a pick- up line on Alice. When that doesn't work, he attempts some sincerity, begging her to stay until Friday. She buys the nice act, but he blows it by fondling her cranium. Yeesh. You might want to get that forehead disinfected, Alice...

Alice gets away from the slimy tentacles of Steve to tell another character(Alan? I dunno, I missed his name when she met up with him) that the camp's new cook, Annie hasn't arrived yet. Geez, where was she hitchhiking from, Brazil? We see a few more camp counselors who are nameless meat-targets waiting to die in this scene, followed by a great fake-out: A chick is setting up archery targets when an arrow sails past her into the one she just finished putting in place. The killer? Nope, it's her boyfriend playing a prank. Nice.

Annie by this time has been picked up by an unseen person driving a jeep. She tells the unseen driver that she's heading to the camp. She makes some inane chitchat about goats, and notices that the driver has missed the road to Crystal Lake. Annie starts to freak out and jumps out of the jeep as it begins speeding up. She takes off through the woods, and the driver pulls over to chase her. See, this is why I never discuss goats with strangers. She trips about 47 times, to give the killer time to catch up. Smart thinking. The killer manages to get ahead of her and corners Annie at a tree, slicing her throat open. Fade to white.

The next scene shows that most of the counselors have taken Steve's advice to work hard very seriously, by deciding to go swimming in the lake. As they decide to go back to work, one guy, "Ned" begins drowning. Working together, they find Ned and drag him back to the dock, where he attempts to make out with the girl giving him mouth-to-mouth. Anyone else getting tired of the fake scares yet? And why couldn't they have been their the day Jason drowned?

In the following scene, Alice is unpacking her stuff and sees a snake by her feet. The snake disappears under her bureau as Bill, a counselor armed with a machete arrives. As he reveals what a useless doofus he is, the rest come rushing in to "help". Help consists of knocking furniture and making helpful suggestions like, "call the snake". After hitting it with pillows(did they think it was a girl at a slumber party?), Bill chops it up a few times with his trusty machete and a joke is made about serving the snake for dinner.

A local cop swings by. He's looking for Crazy Ralph, and his dialogue is so cheesy he gave me lactose intolerance. They all take turns making fun of the guy, and he eventually leaves to go buy himself a Fonzie jacket. Did the script get switched with Meatballs when I wasn't looking? As luck would have it, Crazy Ralph is hiding in the kitchen pantry, waiting to scare Annie to death. He tells them that he was sent by God to warn them that the camp, and by extension all of them, are cursed. Well, at least he was nice enough to warn them. I wonder if he's related to Crazy Dave in Plants vs. Zombies?

Moving on....After Crazy Ralph rides away on a Huffy 10-speed, the counselors discover that the power's out. Three of them decide to go find the generator, including The Baconator. They start it up with no trouble, while I re-check the Netflix sleeve to see if I'm still watching Friday the 13th. Seriously guys, where's a psychotic camp-killer when you need one? And no, Kevin Bacon doesn't count!

Later that night, Kevin Bacon and a girl from the porno movie set next door, Marcy, wander off for some serious snugglebunnies, while the dorky "comic relief" character watches. Before he has any time to go read Sylvia Plath and buy some razor blades,he sees movement in a nearby cabin. Being in a slasher flick, the idiot decides to investigate. Yeah, THAT never turns out to be a deadly mistake! He goes into the cabin just as Kev and Stripperella finish their canoodling and head back toward the main camp. The sex must've sucked, because they actually discuss the FRIGGIN' WEATHER. After a very long-seeming discourse on rain and dream interpretation, a storm does spring up. They agree to save the weather-talk for another time. THANK YOU!

Kevin and Marcy get to one of the cabins the counselors are using for living quarters, but find it empty. At the thought of people coming in at any second, they get all hot 'n' bothered and make out some more. As they study each other's anatomy, Alice and the others are holed up in the main cabin, complete with a toasty fireplace. The 2 girls get sick of hearing Bill practicing his guitar lessons, which makes me realize how much funnier this woulda been if he had a trumpet, or a trombone maybe. Seriously, imagine the same scene, with a more obnoxious instrument played out of tune. It's funny, right?

Anyway, they put down the guitar to start a game of Strip Monopoly. The rules are simple: when you land on an owned property, you pay with clothes instead of cash. Imagine what landing on Free Parking would get them! Boy, life was a lot more fun before video games, huh kids?

Kev and Marcy are screwing like rabbits. During their lovemaking session, neither one took notice of the corpse in the bunk above the one they're on. How could they have missed it? It's the guy who went cabin-exploring earlier, with a biiiiiiiiiig gash across his throat. The movie switches briefly back to the Monopoly game. Double sixes, boy howdy! Luckily the movie hears my pain, because we return to Kev and Marcy just in time to see him making a tit-grab. Nice job, Bacon-meister. Sadly, it's the last action he ever gets, because--

Aw, DAMMIT, we're back at the Strip Monopoly game again! Bill lands on Baltic and loses a shoe andOHMYGODSOMEBODYPLEASEDIEFERGODSSAKE!!!!!! Somebody heard my cries of anguish, because we get back to Kev. He starts to smoke, and a hand darts out from under the bed and presses down on his forehead, while the other hand drives an arrow up through his throat. What is this movie's thing about throats?

Marcy, after all this time, has arrived at the camp's showers. She ducks in there to get out of the rain, which boggles my mind. If she wanted a shower so badly, and was naked in her previous scene, why not just stand outside for a few minutes with a bar of soap? I mean, she obviously didn't care if anyone saw her while having sex, so why the hell not? Instead, she gets a shirt wet on the way to the shower, which seems kind of pointless.

Oh well. She gets killed in this scene anyway, so it makes no difference. Marcy hears a sound, goes out of the shower to explore, and washes up at the sink. She hears noises again, this time in the shower area she just left. While Marcy peers into empty shower stalls, the killer comes up from behind her, and plants an axe in her head. The axe gets removed, then re-planted in her face. Ouch, talk about your splitting headaches.

Since the movie rewarded our patience with two pretty nasty deaths, we have to go back to Strip Monopoly for more torture. Actually, by now it's getting good: everyone except Alice is down to their underwear. They panic when the front door blows open, but it's only the storm. Unfortunately, the door kills the atmosphere, and they decide to stop for the night. Alice and Bill stay behind to clean up, while the other girl slips a raincoat over her underwear and heads back to her own cabin. Cool, maybe the killer's planning to get them as they separate!

No such luck. We get to rejoin Steve, who is having a warm meal at a place called, simply, DINER. Really creative. Is it next to MOTEL and GAS STATION? Although the homely waitress tries to entice him into staying(she looks like Larry King and Sally Jesse Raphael's love child), he tells her he needs to return to the camp. Despite the lousy weather, Steve hurries away from the Waitress from Hell.

The girl who left the Strip Monopoly game arrives at the bathroom cabin, blissfully ignorant of the stack of bodies that has been piling up in there all evening. She leans over the sink to brush her teeth, and a shower curtain sways a little bit. She turns around, but nothing is there, so she quickly brushes her hair and puts her rain poncho back on. Nothing happens. I actually considered watching the lame-duck remake of When a Stranger Calls on FX at this point, but I ultimately decided to keep going.

Steve isn't so lucky. With all the rain, his jeep's engine gets flooded, and he can't get it started again. Lucky for him, one of the local yokel cops drives up and offers him a lift. While he accepts, Strip Monopoly Girl is getting ready for bed, reading a paperback before calling it a night. Boy, between the Strip Monopoly, swimming, drinking, sex, and general tomfoolery, when do these dweebs have time to WORK ON GETTING THE CAMP READY TO OPEN IN 2 DAMN WEEKS??? God, I hope her death is painful.

It is. She hears something outside, grabs a flashlight, and decides to go back out in the hurricane of the decade. She stumbles around a whole lot, before SOMEONE switches on the fusebox, illuminating the camp. Blinded by the light, she's wrapped up like a douche in the middle of the night. No? Okay, she backs away, right into the archery targets. Then, she screams!

Before anything, you know, SCARY, can happen, we switch back to Alice, who contemplates throwing the godforsaken guitar into the fireplace. Go, Alice! Before she gets to make me the happiest man in the world, Bill comes back in from the cold. When she tells him that the lights at the archery range came on, he decides to go exploring. To her relief, she gets to go along. D'oh!

The go looking for their friend, and find a bloody axe under her bedsheets. Then they go to Kevin Bacon's cabin, and find it deserted too. Going to Steve's office yields the same results, so they break in to call for help...just as we, the audience, are shown that the phone wire outside the office has been cut. Now they start getting worried. Alice and Bill try to flee in a red truck, but the engine's flooded, prompting Alice to suggest that they should just hike back to town. At night. In the midst of a thunderstorm.

Steve and the cop are heading back to the camp, and the cop, Tierney, tells Steve about the town's run of bad luck with deaths and accidents. Steve laughs it off, but a call comes in for a squad car to respond to a serious road accident, giving Tierney extra ammunition for his superstitions. Steve walks the rest of the way, and finds someone at the campground's entrance. He approaches them, and appears to be attacked before the scene cuts off.

Bill gets up during the night to go and see if he can fix the generator. He tells Alice he's going, but she's fast asleep. Bill lights 2 lamps, leaves her with one, and heads out. As he's busily repairing it, Alice wakes up. She finds the lit lamp and figures out what he's busy doing, so she decides to return the favor by heating up some instant coffee for him for his return. She putters around the stove, she leaves to get non-dairy creamer, she pouts--and nothing happens to her.

Disappointed that the killer has ignored her, Alice tries to make herself an easier target. She leaves the nice, warm cabin and goes for a walk. When she gets to the generator, she finds Bill's raingear on the floor. She also finds Bill hanging out...literally, she finds his arrow-filled corpse hanging on the door of the generator cabin. She freaks out and tries to barricade herself in her cabin. She ties the door, she piles every possible piece of furniture in front of it, you name it. Sucks if the killer's already in there, doesn't it?

She then does one of the dumbest things in the entire movie. She starts lingering near the windows. Now, granted, this movie may be the grand-daddy of the genre, but I'm willing to bet that anyone who saw this when it was first released thought to themselves, "Hey, stay away from the windows, ya dumbass!"

As expected, a body comes crashing through the window she's near, giving the killer access to the cabin now. Alice then gets a sleeve caught on the stove and loses her jacket, because she hasn't mastered the art of "Oh, I better simply unsnag this" yet. She sees headlights outside and assumes it's Steve coming to rescue her. She spends a week moving all the stuff away from the door she blocked, and rushes outside.

Ain't Steve. DUH. It's a woman, Pamela Voorhees. Alice tries to tell her about the corpses, but Pammy isn't scared. I wonder why? When she sees the first few bodies, she puts on an act of damn-near William Shatner-level melodrama. She then tells Alice that she warned Steve not to re-open the camp. And then, she tells Alice, in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, "The REST of the story!"

The year before the 2 camp counselors were killed at the beginning, a young boy drowned at the camp. "His name was Jason." She blamed the counselors, because they were too busy having sex and partying to see what was happening. Mrs. Voorhees hears Jason calling for help, and she tells him that she is helping him, which is quite disturbing to poor Alice. Jason was her son, and he had several "special needs" that made it especially important not to let him wander away unsupervised. Oh, and today, Friday the 13th, just happens to be his birthday.

Alice realizes now the trouble she's in. As Mrs. Voorhees goes bananas in front of her, Alice dashes for a weapon and settles for a fireplace poker. She swings it a few times, knocking Pammy out, and runs out the door.

We then get the scene that EVERY slasher movie has: the discovery of the bodies. But hey, this movie did it first, right? Alice finds corpse after corpse, and screams her head off. That wakes up Jason's Mama. Pamela sees Alice in the distance and speaks in Jason's voice, urging her to kill Alice. In her own voice, Pamels tells him that she will. Pamela gets the electricity back on, just as Alice arms herself with a shotgun. Which is unloaded.

Pamela finds her and tells Alice that she knows the gun isn't loaded. She then gets into a slapight with the girl, like The 3 Stooges on acid. Alice gets flung around a bit, before punching Mrs. V in the gut. Yay! She follows that with a right hook to the jaw, and Howard Cosell declares a TKO. Alice runs away before Pam can recover.

But recover she does. And boy is she pissed! She skulks around the camp, searching for her final victim, who is actually hiding in plain sight. When Pam has passed her by, Alice emerges from her hiding spot and goes back to her cabin. She turns all the lights out, which sorta defeats the purpose of not alarming the crazy lady who's hunting for her. She then tries out a few hiding places before deciding to make a better effort.

"Making a better effort", it turns out, involves trapping herself in the pantry right before Pam comes back. She holds the door shut, to convince Pamela that it's locked, then lets go when she leaves...which we all know, she hasn't. As Alice is relaxing, we see the doorknob start to twist. Luckily, Alice sees it as well, and starts looking again for a way to defend herself. She settles on a frying pan, just as Mrs. Voorhees crashes through just like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. HEEEERE'S PAMMY!

As Pam swings wildly with a machete, Alice dodges and then whacks her good with the pan. Not content with a simple escape, Alice wastes 17 hours moving around the slumped-over body. She stumbles out to the lake, where a lone canoe is sitting at the edge of the water. What do you do after finding your friends slaughtered and having the killer chase you around? She just sits there. And waits for Mrs. V. to attack. Which she does.

They wrestle for a bit, looking like the worst Laverne&Shirley madcap brawl ever. Then Alice gets her hands on the machete and beheads Mrs. Voorhees in what is an iconic(and gruesomely awesome) image in slasher-film history. Great effect, right down to the bloody neck-stump and the hands flailing about. And none of that crappy, cartoony CGI shit.

From here, you probably know the rest, but I'll finish it off anyway. Alice takes the canoe, drifts toward the cener of Crystal Lake, and stares lazily into the water. As the music swells, Jason emerges from the water as a decomposing corpse and pulls Alice, screaming, into the lake. It's a dream sequence, and Alice is being attended to by cops and paramedics. When she asks what happened to Jason after he emerged and grabbed her, she is told that there was no boy at the scene. THE END of the movie, but the start of a franchise that has lasted for 3 decades.

Friday the 13th is a great, old-school slasher, but not without its flaws.For one thing, the kills take awhile to get going, which is unfortunate. Second, it's great to just watch for some fun scares, but there are a lot of plotholes and logic-lapses throughout. Things like Alice not just trying to escape when given the chance, or the hands of the killer being much more masculine than they should be, given the big reveal towards the end. Also, if the "ma, ma, ma, kill, kill, kill" sound is simply a part of Pam's psychosis, why is it heard in each of the sequels? Did every person Jason ever killed in those movies have multiple personalities too? And in the sequels(the first few, at any rate), why is Jason not yet a zombie? If he survived the drowning, doesn't that really negate the whole motive for Pam's killing spree, especially if it all happened 20-30 years before the main massacre in this film? Surely if he was alive for that period of time she had to have known. Or someone had to know, given his "special needs". A great prequel idea would be to explain that gap in time, and show what his survival entailed.

Eh, it's still a classic, so just enjoy the thrills and spills. 5 killer trees, because it started an entire wave of horror films in its wake. Oh, and what did this one teach me?

-Gore FX are always better as practical effects, rather than CGI.
-Kevin Bacon is the "Where's Waldo?" of actors.
-Never get between a mother and her child, if you want to live.

Next up is Spring Break Massacre, which finally came in just as I was editting this together. And I'll keep whittling away at my Instant queue, so maybe I'll get started on Friday 2 this week as well.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Go see Devil. Right now. Just drop everything and rush to your local cineplex or whatever and see this movie. I know I know, it's an M. Night movie, but it's good. It's somewhere between Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense on the coolometer, but it's light-years better than The Happening or The Village. The usual SPOILERS warning, but since you just dropped everything to go see the movie, you're good to go, right?

Okay, so the movie has a narrator, an Hispanic security guard in a Chicago skyscraper. He starts out telling us that The Devil exists, and that every day The Devil is trying to find new ways to drag sinners to Hell. But there are warning signs before His arrival: a person will die under bizarre circumstances, for example; things "go wrong"(the example used in the film is that a piece of toast with jelly on it will always fall jelly-side-up in normal circumstances, but will flip over when it's all "wrong". Uh-huh.)

Anyway, we see the above-mentioned "bizarre death", a suicide where a person dives off a skyscraper, plummets onto the roof of a truck, and the truck rolls down the street and turns a corner, which throws off the CSIs at first. Then we meet our potential "Devil" candidates: a young businessman; a middle-aged/elderlyish woman; an attractive young woman with an accent; a 30-somethingish security guard working as a temp; and a young mechanic who looks a bit scruffy, but seems nice enough under the rough exterior. All are trapped in an elevator in the Chicago building the narrator works in. Most of these folks are just referred to by their description, by the way: instead of names, we get Old Woman, Young Woman, Mechanic, etc.

The main action outside of the elevator involves a disgruntled cop. He's bitter because his wife and child were killed in a car wreck, and the other driver involved fled the scene. But before this person escaped, they left a note, scrawled onto a coupon: "I'm so sorry"...nice, huh? So this cop, haunted by his family's unsolved deaths, is the first to arrive. He originally was investigating the jumper, but when he realized where the jumper fell from was several feet from where the truck drifted, his examination of the accident scene led him to the building as the elevator malfunctioned.

The action starts right away, no lengthy set-up or everything-right-goes-gradually-wrong scenario here. The elevator rises 20-plus stories, then just stops dead. The passengers can hear the security guys and maintenance guys on the emergency intercom-type device, but no one can hear what's happening from the elevator side of things. A worker attempts to descend to their position by way of ropes, but falls to his death, landing on the roof of the elevator...effectively cutting off their escape route through the emergency hatch. Another worker gets electrocuted when he attempts to re-program the controls from a basement panel.

The passengers get on each others' nerves pretty damn fast, and Young Woman is attacked the first time the lights briefly go out. When they come back on, she has a pretty nasty gouge in her back. She claims that someone bit her or stabbed her in the dark, but even the guys watching from the security monitors aren't completely sure of what transpired.

In classic horror-movie fashion, the passengers begin dying, one by one. Basically each death is set up in a similar fashion: as the security guards, cops and rescue workers watch the elevator cam, the lights in the elevator go out for a minute or so, and when they turn back on, someone inside has died. The first to go is the shifty Young Businessman. He is covered in his own blood, no apparent suspect, because none of them seem to be covered in blood from doing the deed.

In the meantime, the Hispanic guy is getting hysterical over something he's seen on the monitor. Rewinding the security tape, he pauses the image on what appears to be a face superimposed over the image of the elevator's occupants. Although some of the security guys and rescue guys admit the image is weird, they scoff when he claims it's an image of The Devil Himself. Amidst his dire warnings, religious quotes and prayers, they kindly ask him to stop scaring the passengers and shut the furry fuck up. At one point, he even freaks out the passengers by praying, in Spanish, over the intercom.

The lights go out a third time. When power returns, the Old Woman is dead, a victim of strangulation by noose. Now the final 3 are REALLY freaked out by each other. They mutually agree to each stand at a different wall, and place both hands on the wall until the rescuers can break through the wall to reach them.

By now, a few more twists have occurred at the security post. First, Mechanic's Wife has arrived to verify his identity as one of the passengers. Second, there have been background checks made on each passenger, using a combination of the security sign-in sheet, and a scan of their faces into the law enforcement databases. The cop discovers that each passenger has had a criminal or murky past: the Young Businessman, for instance, was a dishonest, thieving a-hole that no one he worked with trusted, due to a Bernie Madoff-type financial scandal. The Security Temp had been a sniper in Iraq, with many deaths on his conscience. Everyone inside the elevator had been hiding some dark secret from their past. The Young Woman was somehow tied to the company that installed the elevator, in some kind of blackmail scheme.

The elevator goes dark once more. When the lights are restored, Security Temp is dead, his head twisted completely around to face his back. Ouch. The Young Woman and the Mechanic both panic, each afraid that the other is on a killing spree. As they accuse each other, the elevator falls a distance and goes dark again...and here's where the shizznit gets REALLY weird!

Young Woman is on the floor, badly injured by being knocked around as the elevator fell. As Mechanic is telling er he didn't hurt her, Old Woman stands up, very much not dead(but not alive, by the conventional definition). Her eyes are jet-black. She tells Mechanic that his was the soul she really wanted in Hell, because his secret was the worst.

Flashback: a stormy night. A woman and her young son are driving home, when a vehicle comes out of nowhere, and they have a collision. Both mother and child are thrown through the windows by the impact, dead before they hit the ground. The other driver was the Mechanic. He panics, because he'd been drunk driving, and he knows he'll be sent away for a LONG time if found guilty, so he scrawls the apology note to the cop, attaches it to the windshield, and drives away as fast as he an.

Mechanic hates himself for what he has done, and stopped drinking. He had been trying to seek redemption by being a better husband and father, but the shame was eating him up inside. The Devil restores the intercom so that he can confess to the cop who he is, and he does so, tearful and full of remorse. He then begs The Devil to take him to Hell, but to spare the life of the Young Woman.

The rescue team manages to break through the wall at that point. They find 3 bodies, and the Mechanic, very much alive but consumed by grief. Old Woman/The Devil is gone. The Cop arrests Mechanic, and tells him as they drive to the police station that he forgives him.

Good movie! It's incredibly fast-paced, given an 80-minute running time, so it avoids the over-complicated, messy plots of M. Night's misfires. It's even one of the rare films I WANT to see on an unrated DVD, to see what inevitably wound up on the cutting-room floor.(Not just scary elements, which I'm sure there are more of, but there was also a plot involving the cop with a female co-worker that seemed like there was some more to it than what was shown) I hope this marks some kind of turning point in his career, with more of these concise, tense, and genuinely frightening stories. A solid 5 killer trees for Devil, which delivered a lot of good, nasty fun in a clever variation of classic Agatha Christie craziness.

And what did I glean from Devil?
-Even a PG-13 can be a scary movie.
-M. Night's still got it.
-Old Women are evil...although I learned this lesson before, from that Dennis Quaid movie Legion.

Coming up next, I'll start diving into the original Friday the 13th's, in order. Also, I have one called Spring Break Massacre to watch as soon as I send this one back. Should be fun(I hope)!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Do you ever see a movie where, you watch the film, and for whatever reason, you just kind of "get into it"? Well, I used to feel that way about today's flick, Intruder. For some reason, I remember the highlights as being a lot more gory and crazy than they actually are. I still kind of liked it, just for the inexplicable weirdness of everything, but it's a VERY dated film.

Overall, it has just enough oddball shit going on to make the end result sort of a fun time(but only if you're a dude who watches movies to make fun of them). Now, my first bone to pick with this thing is the title. Intruder? Couldn't they have shown at least a LITTLE creativity? The thing's set in a grocery store, how about something like Slaughtermarket? 10 Corpses or Less? Death-icatessen? Stop 'n' Chop? Gross-Eerie Store? See how easy that was, movie?

Second complaint: Having folks like Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell in it. Now normally that would make me want to see it even more. But they literally have nothing, walk-on roles! Probably all did their scenes in a couple of hours, then went home to sleep on mattresses stuffed with million-dollar bills. Well, okay, maybe not. But they still could have been used better. Especially Bruce, whose ONE SCENE has him playing it straight for once.

The story itself is surprisingly pretty relevant to today's audiences: A local grocery store is closing, and the small staff of the night shift are trapped inside with a killer. So we get a small cast of isolated folks, a creepy night-time setting, and lots of props for a killer to use. So let's get to it!!

The movie begins with a moon right out of Transylvania. We see the aforementioned "stars" named as the cheesiest music ever heard in a horror film plays. I had to go back to the title screen, to make sure I didn't rent Haunted Honeymoon or Transylvania 6-5000 instead. Nope, it's Intruder! Ah, apparently this thing was produced by Bender from "Futurama", and directed by the Spiegel's catalog folks. Neat-o!

As the movie finally leaves the haunted Transylvanian countryside, we see 2 young women at the registers, gossiping and bagging groceries. An elderly customer complains that they're not paying attention to what they're doing, and his grocery bag breaks open to help him make his point...HEY!!! Maybe he's the killer, seeking revenge for his spilled items! No? Okay, movig on...

The 2 girls, Linda and Jennifer, share a laugh over ruining his night. Jen decides to go out to the parking lot and gather stray shopping carts. As she spends waaaaay too much time organizing the carriages into a neat row, a scruffy-looking guy is watching her from about 2 feet away. This being a slasher flick, she doesn't see him, even when he pushes a shopping cart toward her. Smart, observant chick. Nice ass, though.

Anyway, as Jennifer returns to her register, Scruffy Fonz(aka "Craig") approaches her. Apparently, Craig and Jen recently broke up, and he's having a hard time accepting it. He begins causing a scene, and when some of the other employees try to calm him down, he attacks them and then runs deeper into the supermarket to get away. They all split up to find him. Gee, splitting up sounds like a smart, safe idea!

We see a bargain-basement Keanu Reeves-type steal a package of cookies while no one's looking. Another guy wanders around in the deli department's meat locker. He thinks he hears a noise, but it appears to be only the wind flowing between his ears. We get a few more scenes like these. Geez, just die already, store employees!!

While the employees are wandering around scaring each other and wasting my time, Jen's been busy trying to report Craig to the police. He sneaks up on her and hangs up the phone before she can give them any details. When he tries to grab her and give her a kiss, 3 male employees sneak up behind HIM and grab him. Maybe this movie should have been called Sneaker! They drag him to the entrance, throw him out of the store, and lock the door behind him. Jen calls the cops AGAIN, and they promise to send a squad car right over.

The manager and his assistant manager hold a staff meeting. After congratulating everyone for how they helped Jen, they also announce that the store has been sold. After being told that they have a month of employment left, the manager leaves assistant manager Bill(also his brother) to deal with all of their complaints. What a great guy.

As everyone goes back to work(mostly to clean up the mess made by Craig), Jen begins getting scary phone calls. She tells Linda that she broke up with Craig because he was abusive and violent, to the point where he actually killed someone during a fight. He went away for awhile, but he somehow became a free man again, putting Jen's life in danger.

So, at around the 26-minute mark of a movie that's only 83 minutes long, the Keanu-reject and Linda discuss Jen's ex, the psycho. He was apparently obsessed with her and began stalking her after his father died, doing drugs, stealing. Whatever, just START DYING ALREADY, WILL YA??!!??!!

*Deep Breath*

Okay, moving right along...So, they all decide to take a late-night snack break. Yeah, because when a dangerous dude is stalking you at your place of employment late at night, FOOD is your most pressing concern. Anyway, Bill decides to tell them all a story. He was once a volunteer fireman, which meant that in his small town he was called in on all sorts of strange "emergencies". So one night he and a buddy were called to the scene of an accident, and found that the victim of this car wreck had been beheaded. While he and his partner were looking for the missing head, the other guy was apparently eating a sandwich. When they found the head, the guy was still eating the burger in one hand while carrying the head with his free hand. Charming story, Bill. Hey, this one time, at Band Camp...

Thankfully, before Bill gets to tell another great story, the cops finally arrive. They make Barney Fife look like Columbo. After the world's quickest "investigation", these 2 geniuses leave a business card with the group and decide to make a hasty retreat. God forbid that they should look around the premises at all. When Jen and Linda talk at the registers again, Jen's nose is starting to bleed. Again. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if she was the killer in Valentine, instead of David Boreanaz? No? Oh well, I tried to make this thing more interesting for a minute. Sue me. Gee, Valentine was a good movie. I should rent that again...

So, here we are, now 32 minutes into a slasher film with no slasher and no victims. I've seen more thrills on "I-Carly". So Linda goes out to her car to pack up some groceries she wanted to bring home with her, and hears a noise. She puts the bags into the back of her car, and the killer raises a ginormous butcher knife. Aaaaand....scene. Dammit. But hey, at least we finally have a body count. Sort of.

The 2 brothers who are closing the store are having an argument about...closing the store. Repetition, thy name is Intruder. Bill wants to stay in business, his brother could care less. Fascinating stuff. So glad they decided to show us this scene(and a rather pointless scene where Ted Raimi cuts a watermelon in the goofiest way possible), instead of Linda's murder. Bold choice, fellas.

As Bill leaves, he hears a noise out back behind the store. Going out for a quick look around, Bill spots Craig skulking around while peeping on Jen through a window. There's a quick scuffle that ends with Craig knocking down Bill and sneaking back into the store. MORE pointless clips of people cleaning up follow. This is quickly becoming the biggest snoozefest in slasher-film history

As I begin to lose my will to live, something else happens. The manager is assaulted at his desk. To no one's surprise, his death involves the clutter on his desk. See, kids? Neat people never get murdered. He eventually gets impaled on the friggin' Godzilla-sized nail on his desk where he slams down all his memos. Before the killer leaves, he takes a peek out of the manager's small store window, to look for his next target.

Meanwhile, Jen gets a call from Linda's house: she never arrived at home, and they're worried. Freaked out by the way her night's been going, Jen seeks solace from a male co-worker. He calms her down, but then also decides to make a move on her. She kisses him back, and now ANOTHER co-worker is watching the show while stacking beer. Jen gets laid out onto the register's conveyor belt, and begins giggling. Great, a store porno...a storeno? When our Peeping Tom moves up for a closer look, the killer watches HIM from behind the beer bottles. Geez, can't any of these jerkwads SEE each other? It's a store, not a Brazilian rainforest!

The movie switches briefly to the doofus from earlier, still stacking cereal. Fun. Interesting. We also watch Sam Raimi in the deli department(I guess), working on packaging food for a display case. As he works, he sometimes takes an olive or two out of an open jar next to him. Compelling stuff. We get to see that one olive is actually a human eye. THIS is why I never eat olives! Anyway, Ted Raimi is cutting up the watermelon from earlier as well, and he is still doing so in the dorkiest way possible. He takes these massive, over-the-shoulder swings, and brings his knife down in a huge arc. Conan the Delicatessenarian! His last silly swing leads to the killer planting a knife deep into his skull, severing his Walkman's headphones and the sides of his head. The punchline to the scene is a sign nearby warning employees to use caution when handling the sharp knives. Ha. Ha. Ha.

The doofus stacking cereal and detergent is next on the deathlist. He's working at a brisk pace, stacking away, but one product keeps falling onto the floor every time he places it on the shelf. He yells at another employee, whose face is only seen partially by blocked products. When the face asks his for a box-cutter, doofus tosses it over the shelf.

The killer, who now has a nifty blade, goes after the OTHER Raimi, by tossing a ladder at him. Oooooh, scary! Or it would be, if anything happened. Moving right along, we find a dude in the beer cooler. He sees the frezer door opening and closing, and starts yelling about how he's the only one not screwing around. The killer pops up and stabs him in the stomach. Now who's screwed?

The stoner dude is now being stalked by the killer. He starts to follow the killer, but winds up in the beer cooler. He sees beer guy standing behind a stack of cases, and assumes he's just depressed or wasted. He starts mocking the corpse, until the killer's arm shoots toward him and pulls him into the cooler. Not dead yet, he is dragged by the killer to a hydraulic compactor, and his head is crushed as he screams bloody murder. Of course, no one hears him. Do any of these guys even have names?

Sam Raimi is next. His character has been listlessly moping about, stamping price labels onto various shelved products, so he's pretty bored. I guess murdering a watermelon was the highlight of his night. He goes back into the butcher shop area(popular hangout, huh?), and finds a severed hand wrapped into one of the meat packages. Before he can react, the killer grabs him from behind and pushes his head into a hanging hook. He leaves him there dangling, as a pool of blood spills out from under the freezer door.

The guy who earlier handed over his box-cutter demands it back, and the killer throws it over the shelf toward him. The blade slices the guy's palm pretty badly, but when he gets angry, there's no response. He walks over to the other side of the aisle, only to find a deli slicer operating, but no signs of any workers. He uses materials found in the deli to wrap up his hand wound, then goes to the employee bathroom, wondering out loud where the heck everybody is. He spots a pair of feet in one of the stalls, and opens the stall door, only to find the shoes contain severed stumps. Does he freak out? Nope. He says they're pig hooves stuffed in the shoes. Uh, sure. Why would that freak you out any less???

He leaves the bathroom, and decides to visit the world's most crowded meatlocker. Instead of entering though, he spots a ladder, and climbs it through a small door in the ceiling. A severed head rolls toward him, but it's a Halloween mask prop, there are several more up there as well. As he climbs fully into the room, the boss pops up, short one eye. The boss claws at him, but he gets away, and finds the small window used to watch the store activity. As he stands there, helpless to do anything, he sees Craig making his way down an aisle, as Jen concentrates of her register. He tries to warn her that Craig is there, but he can't be heard through the glass.

Captain Doofus goes into action! He starts climbing back down the ladder, despite the boss begging him for help. The blood all over the boss's hands gets on the ladder, and Doofus slips and falls the rest of the way. As he tries to get up off the floor, the killer whacks him with a meat cleaver, before dragging him toward a table saw to finish him off. So much for our "hero".

Jen finally notices that everybody has vanished. Smart cookie that she is, Jen begins strolling past each aisle, calling out names. She wanders into the back area, and steps on an eyeball. Ow! She finds "Randy" hanging off of a meat hook, and runs away to hide behind the stacks of other hanging cow corpses. Jen thinks she sees one of the sides of beef moving, and runs away screaming. She tries to lock herself into the freezer, but the killer's hand gets in the way. She uses a small hook to wound his hand, then drags Sam Raimi's corpse over to prop in front of the door.

Jen then jogs upstairs to the office, but sees the blood leaking under the doorframe, and backs away to seek some other form of help or escape. She falls down a chute, immediately finding 2 more corpses, then Ted Raimi's corpse when she attempts to climb a conveyor belt to get away. The rear entrance isn't much help either, as it's locked tight. She runs through the store again, being pretty much useless.

At this point, a car shows up. When a customer finds the doors locked, he gets back in the car. Jen pounds on the door as the car pulls away, then sees Craig in the door's reflected glass. Failing to understand how reflections work, she backs away from the door, and right into his arms. Thinking he's the killer, she injures him. And, because it worked so well the first time, she resumes walking backwards. Craig wakes up, but no one notices yet.

She hears a loud noise, and yells for help. The assistant manager, Bill, shows up. He hears her story of murder and mayhem, and assures her that she is safe now, even giving her a hug. As Bill is supposedly calling the cops, Jen leans against her register and looks back at Craig nervously. While looking around, she realizes that there is blood on her, and it's on her hands, her clothes, everything. Too late, she figures out that Bill was the murderer, not Craig. DUN DUN DUNNNNNN

He chases her a bit, and when she's cornered, she begs him to tell her why he did it. Great, it turns into an episode of "Murder, She Wrote" now. Turns out that Bill was angry at his brother over the closing of the store. He realized after murdering his brother that he'd be found out if he left the workers alive, so he decided to murder everyone and pin the blame on Craig. Before he can make good on his promise to finish her off, Jen whacks him over the head with a bottle and makes a run for it.

Desperate for a hiding place, Jen finds a popcorn display that opens up, and climbs in, closing it behind her. She left a convenient trail of broken glass and litter behind her, though, so she's nice enough to help the guy do his job faster. Sweet! He actually ends up standing next to the popcorn display, and sees the blood spreading across the floor. Grinning, he begins hacking away at the wooden case, and she screams. Somehow she manages to escape, and she grabs two big, sharp butcher knives to defend herself with. She should just poke him in the eyes with her late 1980's teased hair, it probably has the consistency of porcupine spikes.

So, there they are, playing the lamest cat-and-mouse game EVER( one point, the excitement consists of him putting a box of cereal back on a shelf...OOOH!!), when he pulls the same scare on her that we've seen about 12 times in this film already: the old "reaching through the shelf of boxes to grab you" gag. He pulls Jen off her feet by her hair, and she knocks him out with a jar of wheat germ. See, I always knew that crap was bad for your health. It causes headaches and unconsciousness.

Jen picks up the knife(again? what, is this like the slasher version of Groundhog Day?) and dashes for the front doors again. Remembering that they're locked, she swings a fire extinguisher or a helium tank at the plexiglass. Nothing, not even a dent. This leads to my single biggest laugh of the movie: Jen leans against the locked door in frustration, and a delivery guy strolls right up. When he sees the doors locked, he knocks to get her attention, and Bill kills him with several stabs in the back. Now, I may not be a rocket scientist, but wouldn't the delivery guy notice another guy waiting near the door, especially if he was brandishing a knife and covered in blood?

Oh, and get this: Jen is still hovering around by the blood-stained front door, and hears someone behind her in the store. What would you think she'd do in that sort of situation? She screams, "Who's there? WHO'S THERE???" like the nincompoop that she apparently is. Bravo. I mean, who did she THINK it was, considering how many dead bodies she's seen?

In typical dumbass fashion, Jen holds the knife out in front of herself, and decides it's a nice night to stroll through the empty market. She finds the manager again, who supposedly was strong enough to drag himself along the floor out into the main store. She rushes over to try and help him to his feet, when it's revealed that it's just his severed head! Remember the weird story Bill told them all earlier? The one about the severed head and the guy eating the sandwich? Well, he decided to act it out for Jen. In another movie, it probably would've been cool to see.

Jen decides to start running away again. She runs past the same shelf of groceries about 170 times in a row, a montage that truly has to be seen to be believed. At the end of the Endless Aisle, she is grabbed by...Craig! Wow, a somewhat decent surprise, I had nearly forgotten he even existed. Craig covers her mouth to keep her from screaming, and explains to her what we already knew: How Bill was the killer, his plot to knock out Craig and frame him for the murders, etc. Right before Bill finds them, Craig tells Jen that he managed to get a window in the bathroom open, and that the window will be their escape route.

Alas, Craig does get knocked out(a pretty funny sequence, actually: Bill uses the severed head to keep hitting him with), which sets Jen off on a marathon again. She finds the window that Craig mentioned, but has trouble getting it to stay open. Eventually it does open, and she tries to climb out as fast as her acid-washed jeans can carry her.(okay, they're not really, but this movie is so full of '80's crap, they should be acid-washed.) She finds the right car, opens the locked door with her keys, and her friend, Linda(I guess that's who it is, anyway) falls out of the car, long-dead. She screams some more and Bill grabs her ankles and drags her under the car.

As he hovers over her on the ground, he raises his cleaver to finish her off. That's when Jen takes her hands out from under the car, to reveal her trusty butcher knife. She tells him to suck on it, and plunges it deep into his chest. In another amusing twist, he falls backwards and the knife flies out of him. As he lands on the ground, the knife comes back down and gets imbedded in a box right next to his head. She leaves his body to rush to a nearby phonebooth to call for help. I'll bet you can't guess what happens next...

Yup, you guessed it.

Bill attacks the booth, trapping her inside. When he realizes he can't get to Jen, Bill decides to try to tip the phonebooth over instead. While Bill is climbing through broken glass and Jen is attempting to crawl out of the side of the booth, Craig wakes up and goes after him with a cleaver. He even imbeds it into Bill's hand at one point, before hacking away at his arm, neck, shoulder...I'm guessing they won't be "friending" each other on Facebook any time soon.

As they survey all the damage, the cops arrive. One is Bruce Campbell(FINALLY!!!), the other is just some dude who gets to be in a scene with Bruce Campbell. The cops see Craig and Jen covered in blood, and immediately slap the cuffs on 'em. In the background you can clearly see Bill moving slightly, and he manages to gasp that they're responsible for the massacre inside the store. Bruce goes inside to check it out, and Bill appears to die, until Bruce returns to report to the other cop that "it's a bloodbath" inside. Bill's eyes snap open again, Jen shrieks, cut to credits.

Ay yi yi. I honestly remembered this being better than it turned out to be. Maybe I saw some uncut version, or maybe my memory just sucks waaaay more than I realized, because this was pretty disappointing. As tedious as I find most remakes(especially with the trend toward PG-13 crap like Prom Night and When A Stranger Calls), I really do think a great slasher flick could be done in a supermarket. Or, heck, why not a superstore, like a Wal-Mart or a Sam's Club? Someone get right on that, okay? 2 killer trees, only for the general mayhem towards the end and the 3"guest stars".

So what has Intruder left me with, besides the sour taste in my mouth?
-I now realize that stuff that seemed epic when I was younger may have been seen through rose-colored glasses. Geez, this one must've been seen in a friggin' Rose Bowl Parade for me to think it was cool.
-When a director can't deliver a clever script or great, copious amounts of gore, he will use gimmicky, silly camera tricks instead.(My personal favorite was seeing a character from the perspective of a rotary phone, complete with the image spinning while the number was dialed, lol)
-Sandwiches always taste better when mixed with severed heads.

Up next, I'm going to start going through more of my Instant Watch queue, so I'll probably begin with the Friday the 13th franchise. My overall queue is at the 500-movie limit, so I realllllly need to start watching and eliminating some of them. Oh, and I'm going to be seeing Devil this weekend, so I may just make that my next one if it's slashery at all. Looks like it might be, but with M. Night Shamalamadingdong, ya never know...

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Why is it that rappers always end up breaking into acting? Seriously, more than any other music genre, Rap seems to be the one that turns performers into actors. Ice T, Ice Cube, Eminem, Snoop Dogg--all have had success as actors, after starting as rappers. This brings us to today's movie, Bones. It's the story of a murdered community leader(Snoop Dogg's character, Bones) who comes back from the dead to wreak havoc on the people who killed him.

Years later, a group of kids decide to use his murder site as the spot for a new nightclub. Their intrusion awakens him, and Bones goes after his murderers, as well as anyone who flaunts their immorality in his presence. Just say no, kids!

In addition to Snoop Dogg, the film stars '70's film icon Pam Grier as Snoop's lover Pearl, former "The Pretender" star Michael T. Weiss(almost unrecognizable in a fat least I HOPE it was a suit!) as crooked cop "Loopy Lupovich", and Ginger Snaps star Katharine Isabelle as the token white hippie-chick Tia. And that's about it, as far as recognizable faces go.

The first 2 killings are a pair of nimrod college students who want to buy some pot. Now, maybe this is just me, but if these guys are in college already, wouldn't it be easier to just look for the dorm room with all the funny smoke lingering around the door and the stereo blasting Phish? Is pot on campus so rare that you need to drive to the unsafest neighborhood in the city to score some?

Anyway, these 2 dingleberries get attacked by Snoop's "demon dogg", before the ghost of Snoop himself drags them away. And then we get the credits. In "Addams Family" movie font. Great. Is there any Tim Burton claymation??? We see the Jimmy Bones literally throwing money around at people while dressed as Easy Reader from The Electric Company. One of his associates in the neighborhood wants him to invest in the street drug trade and he refuses. Hmmmm, think this will piss off the wrong people?

So we go back to present-day slum after the credits, as our hopeful young schmucks buy the building Jimmy was murdered in. The one who actually bought the building, Patrick, is the only person in the group who thinks this was a wise investment, which makes him automatically the dumbest character in the film. Seems that the building was owned by his dad Jeremiah's company, and was bought VERRRRY cheap. As Patsy gives them a tour of Club Condemned Deathtrap, they get attacked by the same Hellhound from a few scenes ago, and Tia brins it back home. This makes her the SECOND dumbest person in the film so far. She feeds it a burger and fails to notice the ghostly shadow that spreads across the walls behind her. I guess cheeseburgers wake up vengeful spirits. Wow.

They decide that the only way to get the building ready as a nightclub is to move in. Or they could, you know, just light a match and walk away. Just a thought, Patrick. They get TWO ominous warnings about the dog on the way out of the building, one from the local neighborhood snoop, and the other from Pearl. They decide to follow Pearl home, mostly because her daughter, named Cynthia(played by Bianca Lawson, who was criminally under-used as Kendra on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is "yo, fe-yine!" and all. Pearl is apparently a bit of a medium nowadays, and more than a little looney. They decide that if she really was a psychic, she'd be smart enough to not have her shop in a ghetto. Good point, but can't that same logic be applied to these dumbasses?

Oh well. The story switches briefly back to the drug dealers, who find out from their "boss" Eddie Mack, that the 2 college preppies they sold pot to were found mutilated. This prompts a visit from Loopy, who of course gets very little help in his investigation of the murders. He gives Mack his pot back, and Mack returns the favor by paying him off with a nice bribe. As he leaves, Loopy is told that Jeremiah sold Bones' old building. Oh, and Jeremiah is the father of Tia and Patrick. Sheesh, I need a scorecard to keep track of all these characters! Remember when horror films were nice, simple "a bunch of nameless kids die every 2 minutes" affairs?

Anyway, Loopy pays a visit to Jeremiah to remind him that selling a building where they committed a murder is usually not smart. The following day Patrick gets a similar visit from Cynthia. Hmmmm, foreshadowing? Before this has a chance to go anywhere, the movie drags us back to the building, where Bones is trying to scare these kids away. In one of the best visual effects, we see a room where the walls are transformed into walls of condemned souls that are anxious to start dragging away one of our protagonists. Neat.

Pearl tries to lecture her daughter about how evil the building is, but coming from a crazy psychic, the warning rings a bit hollow. Pearl has a flashback to the day Bones died, where she "predicted" his death when reading his palm. After the flashack ends, the photo of him that she kept comes to life, and he looks up at her from it. Why is it that this sort of stuff never convinces people to stop what they're doing IMMEDIATELY???

The next day, Cynthia pays the building a visit. While she's there, Patrick and the rest of the group find out that the plumbing is leaking blood instead of water. This leads them to the basement where the devil dog forces a hidden door open, and they all discover the remains of Jimmy Bones. As the main group argues over whether or not to call the cops and report the skeletal remains, Pearl's daughter finds another room, where a spirit catches her eye. Cynthia gets a fairly good look at the ghostly presence, but Patrick distracts her and gets her out of there. On the way out of the basement, one of the kids steals the ring off of the corpse's remains. This somehow begins the process of bringing Jimmy back to life.

As Jimmy begins the reanimation process, Cynthia is making out with Patrick. She senses Jimmy's presence, which is a definite mood-breaker. Pearl, who is holding a seance for some Asian clients, also senses his presence nearby. She tries to summon him, unaware that she is putting her own daughter in danger, and the 2 women share the same vision. Panicking, Pearl ends the seance to run over to the building, and make sure that her daughter is alive and well. After 1 final warning about staying in the haunted building, she takes her daughter home.

The following morning, Patrick drives Jeremiah to the building to show off his new nightclub, "Illbient". Ummmm, HUH? Isn't that a sleeping pill? Dad, of course, flips out and tells him to tear it down. Good, very subtle way of not getting your family suspicious of you, Dad. Being in a horror movie, the club stays up. On his way back to the car, Jeremiah also sees his partners in crime enjoying watching him squirm.

This leads to a flashback about the day of the murder. Lupovich is there, not yet in his fat suit; Jeremiah is there, trying to sell Bones on the financial "big picture" of dealing with drugs; Bones' personal bodyguard is there(he's the guy who's been glaring at people from his apartment window the whole friggin' movie...not even sure he has a name); and Eddie Mack is there, I guess to remind us that he's still in the movie too. When Jimmy Bones refused to allow drugs into his community, 2 things happened: 1.) Loopy and Mack forced Bones to "sample" their drugs at gunpoint; and 2.) Pearl walked in on the tense encounter. Loopy shot Bones, and then Mack and he shot him several more times. They all make the decision to take a turn stabbing Bones, to ensure that they all have an equal amount of guilt in his murder. When Pearl refuses, they threaten to shoot her, so Bones grabs her hand and makes her stab him through the chest. Awwwww, it's twue wuv!

After a VERY abrupt scene transition, the Illbient Club(still the dumbest name EVER) is celebrating opening night. They're all waving their hands in the air, like they just don't care! It's even possible that the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! Cynthia shows up looking incredibly sexy(oops, I may have just shorted out my laptop from all the drool...)

The Hell Hound, Devil Dogg, or whatever you want to call it shows up and sees the stolen ring from the earlier scene on Maurice(the deejay)'s finger. Somehow, this turns the hound into a hot chick. He tells another deejay to take over for him, and follows the Hell-Bitch(What?? She's a DOG!!! Literally!) out of the main room. In a darker room, she transforms back into the hound and tears him apart. Bones then uses the chewed flesh to reassemble his own flesh. I'm pretty sure this is scientifically sound.

After the other deejay complains, Patrick goes looking for Maurice. He finds the dog eating him, and the dog's head morphs into a human head long enough to make a crack about fried chicken. Wow. Clever. Before Patrick can set the civil rights movement back with a response about watermelon, the hound barfs 30 tons of maggots all over him. Yummy. The hound then becomes the Smoke Monster from "LOST", and enters Snoop's---uhhh, I mean "Bones"' ---body to resurrect him.

The maggots like hip-hop music, so they decide to crash the dance. A girl drinks one in her beer, they get into the stereo, etc., and all Hell breaks loose. Bones makes his way through the chaotic crowd, and throws a knife at Patrick and Cynthia, which misses, before grabbing his ring off of Maurice's severed hand. As they watch the dumbest-named nightclub in history burn to the ground, Patrick and Cynthia are reunited with Pearl, who spots Bones in the doorway of Illbient. He vanishes. The end! YAYYYYYYYY!

Aw shoot, it's still going....*deep breath* Okay, So Pearl then tells Cynthia the biggest non-shock in history: Bones is her father. DUH. The math seems slightly off, until I remember this takes place in the 1990's.

The next to die is the bodyguard. He sees Bones at the bottom of a shot glass, literally speaking. He begs for mercy, but Bones tells him that his chance for mercy ended when he betrayed their friendship. Then he slices the guy's throat and watches him die. I wish he had asked him what his name was first.

While Bones is strolling down Memory Lane(again, quite literally), Patrick goes home to interrogate his father about the fire at the nightclub. He tells Jeremiah that his friends are all dead because of the secrets he's been keeping, and demands to know exactly what those secrets are.

Before Jeremiah can admit what he did, 2 thugs die. They try to mug Bones, and when he tears them apart, their blood-stained splatter hits a brick wall in the shape of their bodies. Sounds cooler than it actually is. While 2 guys we know nothing about get murdered, Pearl is doing her own Tarot card reading. This gives her a temporary spiritual link to Bones, but the link is disrupted when Cynthia enters the room and snaps her mother out of the trance. She tells her daughter that they all deserve to die for killing Bones, but Cynthia points out that most of his victims had nothing to do with his murder. TOUCHE. Nice of the script to save me the trouble of having to point out the biggest plotholes.

Eddie Mack and his bimbo are up for victim status. They snort some coke, then the bimbo leaves to "freshen up"(nothing short of a HAZMAT suit will accomplish this goal, trust me). When she fails to return, Mack tries to find her. He finds her blood instead, followed by her body stashed in a garbage bin. As he tries to arm himself for an onslaught, Bones uses his knife on Mack's pool table. causing blood to bubble up from the table. When he attempts to shoot Bones to death, Bones responds by holding up a mirror. The mirror shatters and the shards pin Mack to the wall. Bones delivers the killing blow by slitting Mack's throat and beheading him.

Loopy gets a phone call from Mack, telling him that they need to meet. Apparently, Bones can keep his head alive. Sure, why the Hell not? Makes as much sense as anything else thus far. They do some unfunny shtick for awhile, then head on over to meet Loopy.

Loopy finds some candles lit up at the rendezvous point, and Bones forces a crack pipe into his fat, fakey lips, then removes both his lips and his nostrils. As Loopy suffocates under the smooth area where his blow-holes used to be, Bones carves into his chest like it's a Thanksgiving turkey. Bones takes his head as well, then goes out to find Jeremiah. Oh, and both heads keep right on yammering away! How does that work, exactly? Didn't Loopy just lose his mouth??? Geez movie, try to remember your OWN damn plot!

Bones pays a visit to Jeremiah's home next, at exactly the same time that Pearl, Cynthia, some other dude and Patrick all get there. The house fills with both smoke and potential corpses, as we get Tia, Pearl, Cynthia, Tia and Patrick's mom, and Patrick all trying to escape together. Gee, I wonder if they'll all survive to the end of the film?

Back in his Hell-lair, Bones reunites Jeremiah with Loopy and Mack. He makes a brief speech about giving his killers what they deserve before picking up Loopy's screaming head and adding it to the wall of trapped souls we saw earlier. Mack tries to bribe Bones to let him live(how would THAT work exactly???), but Bones adds him to the wall as well.

Pearl works out how Bones came back from the dead, having to do with blood being spilled at the beginning when the kids first entered the building. They go back to the walled-off area where the skeleton was discovered, and Pearl remembers that his corpse was wrapped in her bloody dress. She believes the quickest way to return him to the dead is to find the dress and burn it. As they start sifting around in the debris to find the dress, Jimmy grabs Jeremiah and starts toying with him.He continually pushes Jeremiah into the soul-wall and pulls him out, to give him a taste of what Hell is like from the inside. He shoulda just watched Gutterballs.

As Bones is giving Jeremiah a preview of his immediate future, the chamber the others are in begins suffering a quake of some kind. The exit gets blocked as a result, and they work together to start clearing the doorway...well, everyone except Pearl does anyway. She stays back a bit, and is the first to hear an elevator descending to the basement. The elevator door opens, and she cautiously approaches to investigate further. The doors close as soon as she's in. Of course.

Jeremiah tries to bribe Bones, but as he did with Mack, Bones throws Jeremiah into the wall of souls. Oh, and utters the immortal line, "Dog eat dog, brutha. Dog eat dog." Nice. He finishes condemning Jeremiah to Hell just as Pearl steps off the elevator. She finds herself surrounded by so many candles, it must be Dick Clark's birthday. She gets into the center of the room and touches the spot where Bones died, bringing on another vision of his death. When the vision ends, Bones appears right behind her. He gives her the dress they had talked about earlier, and she transforms into the 1970's version of herself, afro and all.

While Bones is seducing her to The Dark Side, the rest of the group that stayed behind are trying to escape. They find the building has become an ad for cotton candy, and that the halls are now endless caverns. Cynthia theorizes that the house has become the City of the Dead, mostly because Bones is becoming stronger with each person he kills. She tells Patrick and Other Guy that if they just remember the floorplan of the building, they should be able to get to the exit. While they travel through a pink set that looks like Liberace's dream house, Bones is still trying to convince Pearl to join him in a Hellish union.

In Deadsville, the 3 kids meet up with Maurice's soul, who leads them down a passage. The generic kid (named "Bill", apparently, because Patrick screams his name) follows him and gets trapped and added to the wall. Patrick and Cynthia find Bones and Pearl dressed for a pimps 'n' ho's convention. They both welcome Cynthia into their new "family", despite Patrick urging her not to go with them. Unsure what to do next, Patrick sees a mirror transform into the wall of damned souls. His dad begs him for help, and then tries to pull him into the wall as well. I guess going to Hell makes you kind of a dick to others.

Frightened, Patrick stabs at the wall with the same knife that was used on Bones, making him lose some of his supernatural influence. Cynthia looks into the mirror and sees that Bones is no longer there embracing her mother, but the mother is still mesmerized. As Cynthia and Patrick are about to reunite, Bones appears behind Patrick in his demonic form, which looks alot like the vamps from the Buffy series. He lifts Patrick up by his neck, but Pat manages to stab him a few times, and spirits escape through the wounds. Bones even does one of those "a hahahahaha!" villain laughs. Using the spirits, Bones starts spinning the kid around in an attempt to tear him to pieces. Or maybe being dizzy in Hell is just a really bad thing.

Broken out of the illusion Pam Grier sees that her Disco look wasn't real, and she picks up one of the candles. She tells Bones that she loves him, then uses the candle to immolate herself and the dress to defeat him. When he rushes over to try to stop her, Bones is also engulfed in the flames. As his power fades, so does the Hell Bones has created. Patrick and Cynthia decide to leave before they die as well. The souls of the murdered rush past them, and Pat and Cyn finally manage to get outside again...but wait! As Patrick starts examining the debris, he finds the old picture of Bones and Cynthia, and Bones turns to look up at him. While Patrick tries to figure out what it means, Cynthia reveals a mouthful of maggots, which get spewed onto Patrick. Yum! THE END.

Well, this one was a ton of silly, gory fun. It wasn't War and Peace, but the imagery and the acting was strong enough to make it an entertaining guilty pleasure. There were a lot of plotholes, though: For one, whatever happened to Tia? They just sort of forgot about her after everyone meets up at the house. Also, why would Bones go after victims that had no connection to him or what was done to him? I mean, sure, a slasher flick needs a body count, but just rewrite the script a bit to make his choices a little more logical. Eh, maybe this is just one of those cases where a person needs to shut off their brain a bit and just enjoy the pretty pictures. 4 and a half killer tree out of 5.

So what has Bones taught me?
-You should not drive while taking Illbient, and you should consult your physician if you start to experience headaches, nausea, dizziness...
-Bianca Lawson, Katharine Isabelle, and Pam Grier would be a fun group-grope for me.
-Snoop Dogg is anti-drugs. Fo' shizzle, my nizzles! Whoop whoop!!

Next up: probably Intruder, a slasher set in a grocery store. Cleanup in aisle 13! If not, I may start on the original Friday the 13ths, as they're all on Netflix Instant now.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Five Across the Eyes

Remember your high school's senior class play? I do, it was Sweet Charity. The one the year before was Guys and Dolls. For the five chicks in this film, it was Five Across the Eyes. SPOILERS TIME!!!!

This is seriously low-budget, even by slasher-flick standards. It looks like the whole thing was shot on camcorders, or possibly even a call phone camera. We're talking pretty godawful grainy images here. Oh, and despite the attempt to make it look like they were just taping the proceedings themselves(I guess...I can't think of any other reason to film it the way they did it), the angle keeps changing to another camera, breaking the illusion completely. Look at The Last Exorcism or The Blair Witch Project, for example: part of the reason those movies work so well is that they don't break the convention that it was all shot by them. Same deal with Quarantine and REC. But here, the lousy-to-begin-with picture keeps switching to another hard-to-see angle of another character every few seconds. Geez.

Oh, and the title itself is given very little relevance. It's supposed to refer to the fact that "the locals" call the area they drive through The Eyes, but it really has no impact on anything at all. They could have called it 5 Whiny Hosebags Who Do Dumb Stuff In A Van, and it would change nothing in the story at all.

We get 5 girls, all on a trip home after some kind of sporting event. The driver, Bella, has a learner's permit, and is freaking out because they took a back road home and are hopelessly lost. The other girls are Stephanie, Melanie, Caroline and Jamie. Whatever, they're all interchangeable and generic. And lost.

The road seems to end at a small convenience store/gas station, so the girls decide to ask for directions. When Bella, Caroline, Steph and Jami get back into the van, the other 3 girls convince Bella to pretend to drive off, to scare the last girl, Melanie. For some reason, they all dislike Mel, and enjoy tormenting her. Maybe she's got acting talent. While horsing around, they hit another parked vehicle head-on. Their van has no damage, but the other car has a busted front-end headlight so they leave the scene. Of course.

From here, the film starts sucking donkeys. And that's putting it nicely. They start careening back down the road, and soon spot another car coming up fast behind them...a car with 1 working headlight. Gee, wonder who that could be? Eventually, the girls run out of road, and the other car forces them to stop. A woman holding a gun emerges, and makes them all get out, while ranting and raving about what they "saw" at the store. She refuses to buy their story that they have no clue what she's talking about and demands that they remove their clothes. Wow, it's like my junior prom all over again! Major flashbacks, man!

Anyway, for the most part they strip down to their underwear(only 2-3 of the girls actually do strip, and nothing is shown), and the crazy woman demands that they throw the clothes into a pile and piss on them. Again, it's just like my junior prom. Then, in a bizarre moment, the woman checks her watch, mumbles about being late to pick up someone, and just gets back in her car and leaves. Uh, think they'll stay in touch? More importantly, where's my orgy scene???

Sobbing and generally overacting the shit outta this scene, the girls get dressed again in their piss-drenched clothes and get back in the car. At first they freak out when they realize the woman took the car key, but they remember having a spare. Yay. They start the car and high-tail it out of there. A few feet down the road, they see the woman's car, parked. Bella puts the petal to the metal, and tries to just scoot on by, but the car follows her. (Bored yet? I was!)

Bella tries going faster, but the other vehicle keeps up with them. They hatch a brilliant plan: they will open the door, and start pelting the other car with whatever objects they can scrounge up to hit the car with. They throw crowbars, wrenches, textbooks from the Drama 101 course they all flunked, the script--you name it, they throw it. One girl even takes a dump and throws her own feces at the windshield of CrazyBitch's car. Remind me not to shake HER hand!

Stephanie, the girl who is sitting up front with Bella, starts getting nauseous over the smell of shit in the car. Being complete ditzes devoid of human intelligence, none of these girls can figure out how to crack open a window, so instead they find some hand-wipes. The girl who threw the feces cleans off her hands, but then gives the dirty wipes to Steph, who does indeed vomit. Nice.

This is only 28 minutes into this waste of time, by the way. They should send this piece-of-crap movie to Guantanamo Bay as a torture device. (Wait, is this thing still on? Oh. Damn.) Well, Bella hits a bump or something, because Steph's hands go flying, sending the vomit all over her shirt and the passenger-side window and door. The reason Bella had to stop so suddenly? There's a bunch of debris from a downed tree in the road. Scurrying as fast as the legs of a Nitwit Squad can scurry, the girls get out and start clearing the road, while Steph removes her shirt, washes off her door and hands, and puts on another shirt. Well, at least they can dress themselves, so their pea-brains aren't a TOTAL loss. Maybe they can find work over at FOX News.

This distraction gives CrazyBitch time to catch up to them, of course. She starts trying to ram their van with her car, sending them all back into it to try to take off. They swerve, they turn, they do doughnuts...really exciting stuff. If you're Amish and have never seen a movie car-chase before. Oh, and they start to run out of gas, as a warning light helpfully informs them. At this point, I'm sorta hoping the car turns out to be sentient, and kills them while they're trapped in it. THAT would be a fun movie.

They hit CrazyBitch in the road, possibly killing her. Oh, and there's a great part where they spill Bella's dad's ashes inside the car during all the careening the van does. She even mentions that she's covered in him. Great stuff. Anyway, now that Bella has introduced her dad to all of her friends, they debate whether or not to go back. Bella wants to, to make sure she's dead, but is also upset that she possibly just killed someone(2 someone's actually Bella: My inner child hung himself about 10 minutes ago. Bitch!). As they all disembark to see if they can spot CrazyBitch's CrazyCorpse, they realize that her headlight went out. Believing that she might have returned to her car to hunt them down, the girls decide to push the van off the road to conceal it. They then waste more time concealing the van with the same branches and shit they just took off the road, and sit in the darkened van, waiting to see if CrazyBitch shows up.

While sitting in the dark and waiting, they talk about what to do next. Um, give up on your dreams of stardom to become waitresses? No? Ah well, I tried. They help Bella clean up her dad(lol), and see the CrazyBitchMobile drive right past them without stopping. Yay! Anyway, they discover that Bella's dad was made out of concrete, which is kind of cool. Maybe he was a superhero! Oh, and the movie has only been on for 36 minutes by now. If I don't make it out alive, somebody needs to warn the world about this movie. Don't let my suffering be in vain!!!!

Eh, Bella's whining again. "Oh, why me? I took a shortcut! I killed my mom's van! I found out my dad was replaced with new Folger's Crystals! Why does everything bad happen to me???" Blecch. Hey Bella, here's a razor and a full bottle of pills. I'll just wait over here for about 10 minutes or so, while you make the world a better place, mmm-kay?

Bella then decides that if they're all going to die out there(please, oh PLEASE YESSSS) that she wants to confess to one of the other girls(Melanie, maybe? I'm barely paying attention anymore) all the ways she's mistreated her. If these girls could act, and be in a real movie, I bet this scene would be really emotional and deep. Oh well. Oh, and during this scene, another girl whips out a cell phone, presumably to see if her agent found a way for her to get out of the movie. No go. Shit, if you had a cell phone the ENTIRE TIME, why the frickenfrack didn't you use it EARLIER???

They discuss the genius-level idea of going outside to see if they can find a place to get a signal for the phone(twice, actually), and the CrazyBitchMobile slooooowly pulls up. The five girls decide to run away into the dark woods, and CB chases after them. The entire time, the camera stays in the car. We see them running into the woods, we see her go, then we just sit there in the backseat of the car, asking "Are we there yet?" There's a muffled gunshot, a scream, and Jamie(I guess, I've only been paying attention sporadically since this abortion of a movie started) runs back into the van to hide. While she finds band aids to cover up some bloody scratches, there's a second gunshot. Jamie finds dead daddy's urn, and pours dad's concrete ashes out of it. She then siphons some gas out of the CrazyBitchMobile(I wonder if CrazyBitch and Robin ever yell out "To the CrazyBitchCave!" when they end their nightly patrol of Gotham City?) and pours in into the urn. Ooh, I think somebody has a plaaaan.....

Yup. She uses the gas from the other car to refill Bella's, and pulls up next to the other car, to steal more gas. But she hears CrazyBitch coming back and has to hide, so she quickly ducks into the backseat. She hears one of her friends, Caroline, screaming, and CrazyBitch tells Caroline that she has to pay for what she's done. As Jamie watches and listens, she sees a hand(belonging to CrazyBitch) open up a toolbox on the floor of the backseat, and CrazyBitch's hand takes out a wrench, some pliers, Season One of Home Improvement...

Another girl shows up, tries to stop the torture(not mine, though), and is attacked. She gets dragged, kicking and screaming, into the other car. CrazyBitch drives off with her latest victim, and Caroline crawls out of the car, her clothes covered in blood. Bella comes back, sees Caroline on the ground, and tells Jamie to help get her into the van. Jamie tearfully explains that Steph was abducted and that they need to find her. Along the way they pick up Mel, the girl they all had made fun of earlier in the film. She's bleeding quite a bit, and one of the others tries to treat her wounds with a first aid kit. They find a screwdriver shoved up Mel's vagina, and that just reminds me of the nasty bowling pin scene in Gutterballs. Geez, thanks for the reminder, movie.

Anyway, they eventually catch up to the CrazyBitchMobile, and follow it down a side road. They can see Stephanie inside, trying to escape, but lose the car as they drive around in the dark. They start to fight over which direction to turn, they blame each other for the evening's events, and in general just embrace their inner bitchitudes.

Oh, and they also find the car. But now it appears empty. They open up the back of the car, and find at least two OTHER corpses in the back. As they examine them closer, they discover that it's actually an entire family, including a small boy. Being brilliant strategists, the girls decide to let the air out of CrazyBitch's tires. They hear more gunshots, and debate whether Stephanie is even still alive, and the gunshots get closer. This leads to one of the only smiles I cracked: as they yell at each other about abandoning Steph to her fate, one girl says that she probably ran far enough away. Another girl says, "We don't know that!", and the response is, "Well, PRETEND!" LMAO

They all eventually do get back in the vehicle. As they start to drive off, they open a back door and yell out Stephanie's name, hoping that she can hear them and get back to the van. When that plan fails miserably, they turn around to go back. CrazyBitch attacks their car as they pull up to hers, and they manage to slam her into a tree with their vehicle, much like Laurie Strode did with Michael in H20(I should've watched that instead...THAT movie kicks this movie's ass). Bella starts screaming about the blood in her eyes(so why is she the one driving, if she can't see???), Caroline goes into a state of catatonic shock, and Jamie steps out of the car and promptly gets shot. They ram the car again at CrazyBitch, throw some things at her, and drive off.

They try to keep Jamie talking to keep her conscious, but they don't have enough bandages to help her with her wounds. As she bleeds all over the backseat, they find Steph outside wandering, and get her into the van as well. She starts protesting that she doesn't want to go, then freaks out over Jamie's injuries. Whatever CrazyBitch did to her was bad, because she's bleeding so badly that they can't stop it.

One of the girls sees a flash of light and starts to panic that it's the return of CrazyBitch. They can't calm her down, so Bella turns around the van to show them that nothing's there. In the process, they pop a tire. They stop the van to fix the tire, which is the worst idea in the history of the worst ideas. The CrazyBitchMobile returns, and she pulls one of the girls away, dragging her along on the ground as the car takes off. The others pile back into the van and chase them, eventually catching up as CrazyBitch finally lets go of her victim to go after the rest of them.

She butts two of them in the head with the end of her shotgun, she slams one into the sliding door of the van, and she tries to shoot one girl, but is out of bullets. Oh, and one girl(not sure who at this point) has a hand keep popping up at one of the windows, doing the funkiest sign language monologue EVER!

CrazyBitch gets to the bleeding, dying girl in the backseat, and starts crying. She apologizes for what she's done, which was appropriate about 45 minutes earlier. The "dead" girl wakes up and retaliates with an attack of her own. She kicks and punches at the woman, but is hit several times with a hammer. Guess the apology's called off. She grabs Steph's arm, pulls it back behind her and ties it there with a seat belt. She then wraps a section of seat belt around Steph's neck, effectively pinning her down into her seat.

She runs back to her car to grab something. It turns out to be a tackle box, filled with hooks. She grabs a handful of them, forces them into Steph's mouth, then tapes her mouth shut. The whole time she's ranting about obedience and discipline, and following the rules as long as "you're living under MY roof!" I'm sure this film had a fascinating back story; it's a shame the writers didn't bother to share it with the audience. CrazyBitch winds the tape around Steph's head several times, taunts her, then notices the girl with the hand caught in the door. She goes after her next. CrazyBitch gets a battery out of her car, attaches it to their car battery, then tortures the pinned girl by electrocution. She then drags her over to the front of the car, and repeatedly slams the hood down on her body.

Had enough yet? CrazyBitch sure hasn't. She goes after Bella next. Yelling about how young girls shouldn't go after older men, she shoves the rifle up Bella's ass. Seriously movie. WTF??? Remember when slasher flicks used to be goofy and fun? These film-makers sure don't. Anyway, CrazyBitch severs one of Bella's fingers. The other girls use the distraction to get loose from all their traps and grab weapons. As a group, they all whale on CrazyBitch, using crowbars, fists, feet, the script again, whatever they can find to deliver some payback. This all culminates in a screwdriver in her chest, and a series of pretty intense stabbings. Everyone takes a turn at it. Better than Cats.

Then Bella goes back to the front seat and grabs the car's lighter. Another girl pours out the gasoline from the urn onto CrazyBitch, as they remind each other that CrazyBitch murdered a family, and they all watch her burn. While her corpse is consumed in the fire, they quietly shuffle back to the van, and remind each other to wear their seat belts. Ha, ha. Great time to crack a joke, movie. These guys should've written the ending for Schindler's List too.

They drive away, and end up back at the convenience store from the beginning. Going inside, they discover that CrazyBitch had killed everyone inside the store before coming after them, so they decide to get back on the road. As they pull back out onto the street, one of the girls vomits, and Bella scolds her with, "Don't mess up my mom's van." THE END

Geez, this was bad. I mean, it could have been a good film, if we had any kind of character development AT ALL. I mean, who was the woman? What events set her off? Who was her family? Why mutilate a bunch of teenage girls? And why would the girls do most of the stuff they did? If this had been re-written a few more times, I bet you'd have a fairly good "fish out of water"-type thriller, like the movie Emilio Estevez and Dennis Leary did in the '90's, Judgement Night. Same kind of premise, if you think about it. But this thing was just a bunch of action setpieces with little to no setup. Anyway, it sucked, except for a few isolated moments of gallows humor, and the crazy ending. 2 killer trees out of five, just because I'm feeling generous.

So, what has 5 Across the Eyes taught me?
-Torture porn needs to be taken out to the woodshed, and shot.
-A movie needs a script. You can't just take your school's camcorder and start filming for the heck of it.
-5 women constantly dressing and undressing can be a real drag, and not that sexy. Damn.
-A movie can be labelled under the category of slasher flick, and contain only 1 onscreen death. I've seen more kills in Charlie Chaplin's films.

Next up: Probably Bones. I saw the rest of it(FINALLY), and it was better than I expected it to be. Will probably post it later this weekend or early next week, barring any mental anguish today's movie caused me.