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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Late Fee

Sometimes I really do wonder why I chose the slasher genre to watch for this blog. I mean, I really do love most of the films, but there are a lot of duds to sift through as well. This one's most definitely a dud. It's called Late Fee, and I'd have to search pretty hard to find something cheesier. SPOILERS follow, but you're better off just never renting this dumb movie...

The movie begins with a couple, simply called "Boy" and "Girl" according to the end credits(and the IMDB), wanting to rent some scary movies for Halloween. The local video store is about to close, though, so they have to pick out their movies quick if they really want to rent scary ones. Oh, and the owner of the establishment is in a hurry to close for the night, because he's holding the world's lamest Halloween party after hours.

What follows is a commercial for the production company's videos. Seriously, if you bother to watch the trailers on the DVD, you'll see that most, if not all, of the movies mentioned by the costumed partygoers are videos by the same company. LAME. The script tries to redeem itself by name-dropping Fangoria, but by then it's too late to wipe off the cheapness of the whole thing.

Boy and Girl(who are both waaay past the point of being called a boy and a girl, given that they look like they're in their early 30's) get 2 movies, after being hassled by the proprietor over their choices. He makes them sign a contract(using blood-ink, no less...and did I mention that his Halloween costume is Satan?), promising that they'll get the movies back by midnight. Uh, at that point I'd be storming out of the weird shop and finding a Blockbuster or something. They apparently don't agree, because they sign the contract, and go home with their 2 dumb-sounding rentals in their dumb, grubby mitts.

When they get home, the couple find some kids at their front door, waiting for Halloween candy. Boy gets the front door unlocked, and is tripped by one of the brats when he tries to offer them a selection of treats. Boy grumbles with Girl about the kids, then they decide to watch one of their movies. The doorbell rings, and Boy gets up to answer it again. Exciting movie, huh?

When he returns, Boy is clutching his stomach. As Girl freaks out, Boy moves his hands, spilling candy all over the floor. Okay, why the heck did Netflix categorize this as a slasher film? So far, we've seen a guy hosting a party, 2 idiots renting movies, and kids trick-or-treating. Is this even a horror film???

Well, I'll give it until the 45-minute mark. If it isn't slasher-y by then, I may just give up and mail it back. Okay, so after spilling candy all over the floor, Boy and Girl start to watch the first movie, called Pick Up. It begins with a shot of a building, where a woman just sort of "fades in" in front of the place. She's somewhat attractive, in a Melanie Griffith-slightly-past-her-prime sort of way. We see her walking and walking, then more walking. When night falls, she lights a cigarette and waits by the side of the road. Oh, and bad porno music is playing the entire time.

She thumbs a ride from a guy who looks like Dagwood Bumstead, and gets into the car 3 times. No kidding, they show it 3 times. Padding the running time much? They then ride past the opening credits of "Chico and the Man", as several days pass. I'm not kidding about that, either: every time they show another shot of "the city", it's a different time of day. What, did the "director" get a camcorder for his birthday or something, and take it on a class field trip?

The driver and the blond have a tense conversation, and it's revealed that the guy "ordered" her as an escort, off of the Internet. The escort gives him directions to a seedy motel, and off they go! At the motel's entrance, a guy out of a David Lynch film directs them into a parking space in the most ridiculous way possible. After parking, the motel owner shows them to a room, with Shatnerian enthusiasm. Geez. The "client" grabs a briefcase from the trunk, then he and the hooker enter the motel room.

The room is Wasting no time, the hooker removes her jacket. The client sits on the edge of the bed, and the hooker steps into the bathroom to "freshen up", but not before throwing him her panties. The client gets comfy, putting his wallet in the nightstand, and removing his pants. Unknown to him(but not us....lucky us.), the motel proprietor puts a facade up around the motel, with a heavy chain on it to prevent the client from escaping.

The client then opens his briefcase, revealing numerous torture devices and sex toys. As he hides the case under the bed, the hooker emerges from the bathroom in a skimpy negligee. Then we see the motel clerk inform a caller that there are no more vacancies. Whatever. Just die already!

The hooker and her client sit on the bed together, then bicker like an old married couple. As the hooker tries to loosen the guy up a bit, the desk clerk watches them through a peephole. Then the hooker turns off the light, and still, nothing happens!

In the dark, they start screwing, and then the hooker reveals herself to be some kind of tentacled, clawed, she-demon. She pretty much tears apart and eats the guy during sex, opening up his chest, ripping his limbs apart--heck, she even tears off his penis. Ouch! The screen fades to black, as she laughs.

After the meal, there's the sound of someone singing, as the camera slowly pans over the client's bloody corpse, missing most of his bottom half. The clerk shows up at the door the next morning, and they both watch as a couple of guys drive up to ask for directions. They refuse the offer of a room, but the Hookie Monster offers the men directions, in return for a lift.

Now alone, the motel clerk hauls the body away to a field near the highway, where we see several other bodies falling out of trash bags. THE END...of that story, at least. Boy and Girl discuss the film's merits(HA!Good one, movie!), Then Boy orders a pizza, while Girl answers the door again. No one was there, so they start the next film. Oh, and someone's watching them from outside. Oh well, at least someone finally died. I guess that means I better keep watching...

The next video they watch, Damnation, is about a woman who looks like Liv Tyler, driving on a long stretch of road. She and her husband are having a birthday party for their kid, and she's on the way to pick up a cake.

A female cop has different ideas. She pulls the woman over, gets her license and registration, then walks back to the squad car, scratching her ass along the way. Nice. When the cop returns, she demands that the driver gets out of the car, then arrests her. As the worried mother watches the cop destroy the cake and presents she had in the backseat, a black van pulls up, and a guy emerges to drive her car away. The woman blacks out, and I secretly get jealous. Why can't I black out, too?

When she wakes up, the motorist is being hosed down by the crazy cop, who then drags her down a corridor for her "trial". The judge, named Brutowsky, makes some crazy comments about air conditioning, then demands that she enter a plea. When she starts demanding to know why she was taken, Brutowsky tells her that arguing implies her automatic guilt.

He then reconsiders, and tells her that he will allow her to defend herself by reading a "book of law" on a nearby table. The book is filled with satanic imagery and covered in blood, which horrifies the young woman. Brutowsky finds her guilty, then tells her that the specifics of her death sentence will be determined by the "Wheel of Fate". The cop forces her to the ground, and makes her to wear a prison shirt.

The woman wakes up in a cell, and meets another girl being held captive. We find out that the main character's name is Justine. Her cellmate shows her a tattoo on her shoulder, a symbol that somehow tells them what she's guilty of.

Before they explain any of this nonsense, the dykey cop returns to intimidate Justine. Before THIS dumb exchange develops into anything useful(or, you know, INTERESTING), someone else arrives to chew the scenery! I sincerely hope that whatever Drama class threw this pile of steaming crap together got an F for their efforts.

The new character is the "Warden", who has the lesbo cop string up both women and fondle them, to, uh, "look for contraband". Then the Warden watches as they shower together. Back in his "office", he lets the cop decide Justine's sentence. She spins the wheel, and they grin at each other when it stops.

The next day, Justine hears another woman screaming, and is told by her new friend that it's another prisoner who happens to be a cannibal. Sure, why not? The cop arrives to bring the cellmate to see a doctor, and she struggles the entire way. In the doctor's "lab", he straps the woman to a table, and tells her that he's going to experiment on her with a "new form of birth control". The doctor then goes into the next chamber, to watch from a safe distance, and turns some kind of pentagram dial. A secret door panel opens, and some kind of feral beast-woman crawls into the room. I'm guessing that she's the aforementioned cannibal.

The inmate was pregnant, and cannibal woman pulls the baby out of her by force. She crawls back into her hole to eat the dead baby, and the now-not-pregnant girl passes out. When she wakes up again, she's back in the cell with Justine, still bleeding from her injury. Another girl is set up for torture by the doctor, but we don't see what happens to her.

The cop arrives again, and straps some kind of explosive tracking device to Justine's ankle. She drags the woman to a man outside, waiting by his car. He looks like Leisure Suit Larry. In the car, Justine pleads for her life, but the man tells her to wait until they're a safe distance away before asking for his help. He promises her that he will rescue her. Yeah, sure he will. And I'm James Bond.

He drives her to a motel(Wait, are we watching the first story again???), then tells her to wait in the room and keep the lights off. 2 strange guys are watching them, but both Justine and her rescuer ignore them. One of the men even holds up a milk carton with what looks like Justine's face on it. Whatever. Then we see a scene back at the prison, where the cannibal woman crawls around a bit.

Justine sleeps in the bed, and wakes up to find the entire room wrapped in clear plastic. As Justine tries to figure out what's happening, the 2 guys who were staring at her earlier enter the room. They claim that they paid a lot of money for her, then the bracelet device starts beeping. It doesn't explode, though, it just shuts off after a few seconds...but not before sending a signal to the Warden and LezCop. Before they can decide what to do, the cannibal bursts in and kills them both.

Oh, and the word "LIBERTAS" flashes on the screen.

The 2 rapists tie Justine up and gag her. Her "hero" walks in, and it turns out that they're making a snuff film. As they start filming, a nut in a skull mask breaks down a door with a chainsaw. As he stands over Justine, the guy who drove her to the motel whips out a handgun and shoots the 2 rednecks. Then he and the guy in the mask start to fight, and the "director" snaps the killer's neck.

When Justine regains her senses, the driver is still filming, but she's in his car again. He tells her to smile, and she gets injected with something, then complies with his request. They ride away together, into a fake sunset. THE END

As Boy and Girl finish watching the video, the doorbell rings again. Boy gets up to answer it, while Girl chews on a fingernail. Exciting stuff. It's the pizza. Yay. As they sit down to eat, Girl realizes that it's just past midnight. Oops....

Girl starts to panic, and insists that they have to return the movies immediately. Boy scoffs at the suggestion, and then suddenly realizes that the pizza was delivered by the video store guy himself. They then discover that the pizza is topped with worms, nails, bugs, and other assorted junk. The doorbell rings again, and they both scream.

As they try to think of a way out of their predicament, there's something tapping the nearby window. Boy gets up to take a look, and sees nothing. A brick gets thrown through the window, and the attached note tells them that since Boy signed the contract, he will have to pay the penalty.

At that moment, the store owner walks into their living room, followed by all of the ridiculously unscary party members. As the Devil threatens Boy, Boy responds by swinging a baseball bat, and knocking him to the floor. The costumed intruders then start stealing the couple's DVD collection, grabbing movies by the armful. Uh, if these 2 idiots had five thousand movies to begin with, why didn't they just stay home?

The intruders remove the movies from their cases, and snap them in half. Then, as the Devil gets up again and laughs, they start stabbing Boy to death with the jagged shards they had just created. Both Boy and Girl are killed(I guess they lied about Boy paying the penalty himself, huh?), and the Devil takes photos of them dead on the couch. Oh, and the guy in the werewolf costume pees on everything. Very classy.

The last scene shows the crazy video store owner carrying a stack of movies into his store. As he places them on a shelf, the front of the DVD casing clearly shows Boy and Girl dead on the cover, and the film is called The Midnight DVD Massacre. A customer walks in, nearly rents something called Hollywood Crap, then picks up the snuff film instead.

The customer is revealed to be a little boy. He nervously tells the store owner that he's 18, and the guy warns him about the Late Fee policy. As the boy leaves the store, the owner stares into the camera and laughs. THE, wait, there's a brief scene after the credits. The video store guy is still laughing and laughing into the camera, then just abruptly stops and looks bored. I know how he feels...

Man, what a piece of crap this was. I don't know how Netflix thought this was a slasher flick, but it's barely even a movie! The acting was lousy, the quality of the production was z-grade, the plot was complete nonsense---Hell, our lead characters didn't even have NAMES! And don't get me started on the way the producers plugged their other films! This was horrible, and I vow to never watch another "Fever Dreams/Shriek Show" production as long as I still retain (most of) my marbles. 1/2 a killer tree for gratuitous nudity, and that's being pretty damn charitable.

And what did this steaming pile leave me with?

-Well, anyone can make a movie, so, "Yay, independent films," I guess.

-When Netflix tells you that you're watching a slasher flick, they're not always telling you the truth...

-Some Fever Dreams can be nightmares.

Which reminds me, my next film coming in is Wrong Turn 3. I can almost guarantee, it won't be nearly as awful as Late Fee was. If it is, I'll start watching and reviewing movies for kids. But it won't be.