STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $19.99
• Trailers

The Pitch

It’s the rootin’-est, tootin’-est, hillbilliest deep-south pseudo-Lifetime-original movie ever!

The Humans

Claire Forlani, Oliver Hudson, Jacqueline Bissett

So why won’t you have dinner with me? Is it because of my constant drooling? I CAN’T HELP THAT I WAS BORN WITH SEVERAL PAIRS OF VESTIGIAL SALIVA GLANDS, REBECCA!

The Nutshell

Victoria ‘Tory’ Bodeen (Claire Forlani), a clairvoyant young girl from a seemingly idyllic town in South Carolina, finds her world shattered when her best friend is murdered in the woods. Her father, an abusive, drunken lout, is fingered as the main suspect, but the case goes unsolved, and the Bodeen family flees town. Tory eventually escapes from her family’s grasp, but is drawn back to her hometown many years later in an attempt to right old wrongs and uncover the truth. She reunites with childhood friends and old flames, and reopens emotional wounds in the process. Unbeknownst to Tory, sinister forces are at work, and an unseen killer stalks the townspeople in search of innocent blood. Will she be able to solve the mystery of her childhood friend’s murder, or will the murderer find her first? Things aren’t always as they seem in Nora Robert’s Carolina Moon!


The Lowdown

Carolina Moon is a useless lump of crap. This isn’t very surprising, since it’s a cheaply made adaptation of one of Nora Roberts’ terrible novels.

What is surprising is that Claire Forlani, who once shared top billing with Brad Pitt, is starring in it. Wow, has Claire gone downhill. I’m not a Claire Forlani "fan" or anything like that, but her career must really be in the crapper if she’s starring in stuff like Carolina Moon, which is a predictable, poorly acted, poorly directed adaptation-of-the-week. Every single utterance of dialogue in Moon is a waste of time, and is completely meaningless.

Here’s one reason I hate Carolina Moon with a passion: each character has a "clever" symbolic name. Here’s a list of some of the more colorful names that pop up throughout the film:

The murdered childhood friend: Hope

The trusted confidant: Faith

The courageous clairvoyant protagonist: Victoria

The abusive, drunken father: Moonshine McSmackWife

Don’t you see? Victoria achieves victory by retaining hope by trusting in faith. I’m going to bed now.

To stay young and healthy, Diane ate a live Golden Retriever puppy for breakfast every morning.

Carolina Moon is a low-budget made-for-TV movie. It’s unrated, but it might as well be rated PG, since there’s little if anything offensive in the film. Victoria’s friend Faith (pictured above) appears scantily-clad in several scenes, and I swear to god they play synthesized porno music in the background whenever she does. Moon’s "plot twists" are telegraphed so early and are so obvious that you’d have to be a complete dimwit to be surprised by them. In case you’re wondering, Tory’s abusive father didn’t kill Hope, although we’re given several obvious red herrings to indicate that he’s the killer; no, like many other made-for-tv melodramas, the real killer is ‘the guy you never expect,’ and since we already expect that guy to be the killer, the whole setup is a huge waste of time.

In South Carolina, It’s considered customary to answer the door while swinging a knife and shrieking ethnic slurs, but only after 9 PM.

Moon‘s acting and script are uniformly awful. I can’t think of a redeeming moment of dialogue throughout the whole feature. It’s all garbage that was scavenged and stitched together from other equally terrible mystery/romance films. I can’t tell if Forlani’s just slumming, or if the best of her career is long behind her, since her performance in Moon (complete with a cringeworthy southern belle accent that makes Kevin Costner’s Thirteen Days performance look like an oscar winner) is abysmal. It turns out she’s appearing in Uwe Boll’s A Dungeon Siege Tale this year, which doesn’t bode well for anyone.

Oliver Hudson lends Moon some Dawson’s Creek cred, which ends up making the film even worse. For some reason, I kept thinking that he looked a lot like filthy version of William Peterson from CSI. Seriously, just imagine Gil Grissom after he’s immediately pulled out of an elephant’s anus. That’s Oliver Hudson!

The Pentagon’s "Outhouse Buster" class explosive was a critical part of the U.S. victory in the great hillbilly war.

If there’s anything good about Carolina Moon, it’s that there’s a scene with a Golden Retriever puppy. This puppy is great, and earns the film a quarter point. Yes, I’m being very generous with my points these days. Also, the audio is actually pretty decent, with a few creative uses of surround sound that betray the overall cheapness of the film. There are some voices that pop in and out of the rear channels that might even make you want to listen the dialogue coming out of the front ones. Also, Moon is mercifully short. They spelled Carolina correctly on the cover, but they don’t get any extra points for that.

For fun, friends and family of Claire Forlani would try to force her to watch Meet Joe Black at family gatherings.

The Package

There’s absolutely nothing here, save for a collection of trailers for other Nora Roberts vehicles. I’d rather watch geriatric bowel surgery than look at Moon‘s cover art, which is a mundane floating head photoshop job.

The picture quality is actually pretty good, and the audio earns the film another .25 of a point. This is the lowest rating I’ve ever given anything for CHUD, but if it weren’t for the puppy and the surround channel shenanigans, this sucker would get a zero. There’s no question about it. It’s a total waste of everyone’s time.

Well, it didn’t make my DVD player explode, which is kind of a bonus feature, if you think about it.

0.5 out of 10