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STUDIO: Anchor Bay
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 88 Minutes
•Making of Featurette
•"My 21st Birthday" Featurette
“Mr. Cannell, I’ve written a horror movie and I’d like you to re…” “A horror movie! Deal!” “But, you, um haven’t even read it.” “READ!? Who has time to READ? I’m Stephen J. Cannell and I have to have my name on at least 50 genre films this year or The Reaper steals my eyesockets. Here’s a check!”
Monica Keena (Freddy vs. Jason), David Anders (Alias), Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Celia (Keena) is turning 21. To celebrate, her best friend takes her to a frat party where she’s drugged, raped and killed – all in the first 15 minutes. The rest of the running time is spent trying to get Celia into Heaven. Or something…I don’t know – too busy staring at her rack.
Hello, and welcome to CHUD.com’s college night. That is indeed Mr. Nunziata’s spacial estate, made over to resemble a frat house for tonight’s festivities…
This is the movie I chose to watch on my first day off in about 2 months. I was READY for a movie, I was READY to sit down and just love something for the sake of loving it because I haven’t had a chance to love (or hell, even WATCH) a movie in a long while. I was in the kind of film watching mood that would make me a fan of a Saw, or a Dreamcatcher (basically that would be “entertain me in some form or fashion and I’ll give you way more credit than you deserve”). So imagine how crappy this flick would have to be for me to walk away completely unmoved. Do I hate it? No, I don’t care enough to hate it. It’s boring. It’s bland. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever (aside from the previously mentioned rack).
And here’s Mr. Nunziata himself. Lookin’ good Nick!
For starters, Monica Keena can not act. At all. She’s a pretty girl. And she’s great fodder for a slasher. She would have been great in Kelly Rowland’s role in FvJ, or Paris Hilton’s role in House of Wax, but the girl just can not carry a film. Which says a lot because she has a really expressive face and she can convey a lot of different emotions visually, but once she opens her mouth it’s over. And even her looks aren’t a consolation here as she appears to have just jumped off the collagen truck before filming and her lips were so big as to be distracting. Couple that with the fact that she dies so early in the film and her “soul” character is doused in all this weird light and she just plain looks bad (although I’m not complaining about the light itself as it served its intended purpose), and when you take away Keena’s pretty face you have nothing left as a viewer to attach yourself to (well, almost nothing). The rest of the cast was passable and David Anders was the only solid one of the bunch. The only problem with Anders is that all of his material was paired with Keena so it was hard for his performance to flesh itself out. And no matter how good one half of a duo is, if the other is a talent vortex it kills the whole thing.
In similar films, once you get past the hollow performances and the one-note direction, a lot of times you’re left with at least a decent story and you’re able to appreciate it for what it could have been. Not so here: what should have been very simple, short bursts of exposition are turned into full sequences of dialogue, making it extremely convoluted; a lot of strands start to unravel to give us a taste of characterization, but are left hanging; some rules are not only spoken but visually supported and then blatantly broken several times (before and after the revelation of said rule) and character decisions and motivations come completely out of nowhere. There IS no story here. There’s no narrative – basically what we have is a lot of exposition (which again serves no purpose because the things explained in these overlong scenes are ignored by the filmmakers minutes later), some nifty practical makeup effects, some creepy atmosphere and a bunch of camera tricks lazily attached to an already threadbare plot. Kinda like Demon Hunter. Kinda like It Waits, and kinda like what The Garden, The Tooth Fairy and Room 6 look like from their respective trailers. Is there a common link there? Indeed there is.
So my hat’s off to you Stephen J. Cannell. If nothing else you’re one consistent sonofabitch.
Oh that Fabfunk! You behave you crazy kid, you!
The cover art is okay with a floating head of Earthly Keena overlaid with a ghostly silhouette. It’s the same image on both case and slipcover, except that the slipcover boasts “Glow in the Dark Edition” and the silhouette does indeed glow in the dark. I’m not sure what’s so special about that as to base an entire edition around, but there it is.
In the extras section of the disc there’s a behind the scenes featurette that’s just some talking heads discussing the film and how awesome it is and how great of an actress Monica Keena is (and, by the way, she does look great in her films – in this doc she looked horrible – I was surprised to see it really was her) and how well the director knows his camera (and the majority of that material is offered up by the director himself). Obviously no one’s gonna come into a BTS Documentary talking about how much the film sucked, but it was still a little weird to see them all fellating this turd of a movie. There’s a smaller little blip called “My 21st Birthday” which is just cast and crew talking about what they did on their 21st (cause, well, Celia got drugged and raped and killed on her 21st so let’s base a quirky little special feature around that – look, we can relate!) which lasts maybe 10 seconds longer than the Studio Cards that follow it. It was incredibly short and boring and, while a good idea in concept, just wasted space on the disc.
And of course it wouldn’t be a party without Devin "Beerbong" Faraci.
There’s a commentary which is, for the most part, dedicated to the director talking about how good he is with a camera and how awesome he is for creating all the little flashy transitions and edits in-camera as opposed to in post. I don’t think another single human being on the face of Earth has said “speed ramp” more times in 86 minutes in the history of time. Ever. Speed ramps and Monica Keena. That was pretty much the extent of it.
Basically, what I’m saying here is that there is not a single thing in this disc, on this disc, housing this disc, or having anything to do with this disc that is worth your time or money. If someone gives it to you for free then watch it. If you like it, more power to you, but if you decide to tell me that you liked it then I will point and laugh and mock you mercilessly for your horrible taste in film – and I’m the guy who likes Saw.
"So, you ever chew in the sewer?"
Oh Dave, you charmer. Better check her ID! She looks over 18!
3 out of 10
(for the previously mentioned rack)