Tag Archives: weird-ass twist

Death is just a click away

imurdersiMURDERS

2 Stars  2008/15/99m

“You don’t know who you’re talking to…”

Director: Robbie Bryan / Writers: Robbie Bryan & Kenneth Del Vecchio / Cast: Terri Colombino, Frank Grillo, William Forsythe, Gabrielle Anwar, Tony Todd, Joanne Baron, Charles Durning, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Billy Dee Williams, Brooke Lewis, Miranda Kwok, Christie Botelho, Dan Grimaldi.

Body Count: 5

Dire-logue: “It’s difficult to put the milk back in the carton when you’ve already had the cereal.”


Look at that cast roster! Forsythe. Todd. Anwar. Durning. How could this film fail, you might ask? And yet…

iMurders is a strange one. It’s a film that borders several genres and has so many criss-crossed mystery plot threads that the writer’s of Lost would be envious. There’s a lot to resolve in just 99 minutes and things would likely work out better were this a mini-series like Harper’s Island.

Things begin usually enough with a woman returning home to find a blonde riding her husband’s lap. Faces are obscured and we flick to the exterior as voices are raised and a gunshot sounds.

Ten months later, Colombino’s pretty singleton, Sandra, moves into a new apartment and quickly connects back on to ‘FaceSpace’, the social networking site she’s obsessed with. FaceSpace. I think I hear you groaning!

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A group of eight super-friends meet religiously for online chats, during which LA FX artist Mark sets them a contest, the winner of which will be rewarded with some movie memorabilia. However, during their chat, Mark cops a powerdrill in the back of his head, which the others, watching over cams, believe is just trickery in accord with his Halloween-themed task…

Sandra becomes romantically involved with brooding ex-cop neighbour Joe, whose sister is an FBI Agent looking into both the chatroom murders and Billy Dee Williams’ crooked lawyer, who sets up attacks on people and then sues for them. His latest client, Anwar (the trigger-happy Fi from TV’s excellent Burn Notice), is a model whose face has been permanently scarred after she was attacked by a knife-toting loon in a nightclub. Consequently, she spends the entire film with a giant square band-aid stuck to her cheek.

Elsewhere, Forsythe is a philandering college professor trying to hide his ways from his missus and discourage an amorous co-worker. Durning is a shrink with a bizarre young client who babbles incoherently about the number 666, the chatroom and her dead lesbian lover, which allows, yet again, for a sleazy girl-on-girl scene.

Another murder occurs and brooding cop’s FBI sis and Agent Tony Todd (!) – for once neither a hook-handed urban legend or a death savvy mortician – sweep in and arrest bad lawyer and 666-girl and discover another of the chatters slain. As the script steers us towards suspecting Sandra of the killings, we think twice and realise that the killer is most likely that other person who’s always there, loitering…

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“I hear if you chant “iMurders” 5 times in front of your screen…absolutely nothing of interest happens…”

iMurders is a good looking production. I mean, if the director could get that cast, then he obviously knows how to call in favours. Its ambition is what uploads a virus into it; the top-heavy plot structure is simply way too much for the film to adequately cope with. In addition to this there are too many characters and the killer only manages to knock off a dismal three of the eight chatroom members. The token gay character is done away with first and the murders are too tame for a slasher flick and too brutal for a TV movie. CTRL+ALT+DEL out of this one.

Blurbs-of-interest: the music was composed by no other than Harry Manfredini, who scored nine of the Friday the 13th films; Anwar was also in Crazy Eights; Forsythe was in Hack! and the Halloween remake; Dan Grimaldi was in Don’t Go in the House; Todd was also in Final Destination‘s 1, 2 and 5, Hatchet (and its sequel), Jack the ReaperScarecrow Slayer, Candy Corn and Hell Fest; Charles Durning was in both of the When a Stranger Calls films plus Dark Night of the Scarecrow; Joanne Baron was in Halloween Ends.

“Ei hän vapauttaa elokuva on yhteensä crap?”

skeletoncrewSKELETON CREW

1.5 Stars  2009/91m

“There’s no sequel for you.”

Directors: Tero Molin & Tommi Lepola / Writer: Tero Molin / Cast: Rita Suomalanien, Steve Porter, Anna Alkiomaa, Jonathan Rankle, Jani Lahtien, Ville Arasalo, David Yoken, Riikka Niemi, John Lenick.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “Somehow we’re inside a film – a horror film. That’s why things have gone like they have.”


By my recollection, this is the first slasher flick to come out of Finland – land of computers, logs and Lordi. I didn’t know this going in. In fact for some reason I thought it was going to be set on an oil rig. Imagine my disappointment surprise glee lack of any real reaction when I figured out it was set in an abandoned mental asylum…

After the longest ever opening scene, in which a couple survive a car crash and seek help at said institution – we’re talking about 25 minutes or so where about three significant things occur, the rest is just the girl walking very slowly up and down corridors – someone yells “cut!” Hark, it’s another horror film about the making of a horror film.

Scream 3, Cut, Return to Horror High, Slaughter Studios, Scared, Urban Legends: Final Cut… This has been done so many times. What can they possibly do any different? Answer: be in Finland. End.

The film, directed by a Brit-wannabe Hollywood player (who says he wants the film to be the next Saw or Hostel), is called Silent Creek, about a true case where a doctor was killing patients and filming the deaths. Slowly – very slowly – director dude becomes obsessed with snuff films after the crew locate a hidden room with previously unfound reels living in it and decides that his film requires a change of tone.

While most European slasher films tend to add something culturally distracting into the mix, Skeleton Crew merely apes its American contemporaries. Nothing unexpected happens unless you count the sound guy being inexplicably frazzled by a lighting rig and an ending that really makes no sense. What’s left is token lesbianism (why the hell is it now in every DTV film?), seen-’em-all-before slayings and clunky dire-logue. The title of this post translates as “doesn’t he know the film is total crap?” which is what frazzled-sound guy mutters to a buddy early on.

Before his death, sound guy opts out of following the others to safety once the killing has been discovered. Does he vacate? No. He goes to the kitchen and gets drunk, handily debilitating himself in time for the killer’s arrival. And where do the other cast members go? Where did the mental patient and the hulking nurse from the prologue vanish to?

I wanted to find some merit in Skeleton Crew beyond it’s acceptable production values but I’m getting a little pissed with all this same-old hat. While it’s not a horrid film there’s simply nothing remotely original about it beyond it’s geographical origin. Cold Prey may have had a standard plot but it worked its arse off to squeeze every little bit of tension out of it. Skeleton Crew is just cheap and lazy, which is effectively worse than being crap but endearing.

Nightmares on Cliche Street

heartstopperHEARTSTOPPER

2 Stars  2006/18/85m

“Each beat may be your last.”

Director: Bob Keen / Cast: Vlady Pildysh & Warren P. Sonoda / Cast: Meredith Henderson, James Binkley, Nathaniel Stephenson, Robert Englund, Laura De Carteret, Michael Cram, Lori Hallier, Scott Gibson.

Body Count: 19

Dire-logue: “Get back here you Christ-infected bitch! When I’m inside you I’ll make you hell’s slut!”


Check out that Dire-logue! This film gains 75% of its stars from that alone.

The execution by electric chair of psychopathic killer Jonathan Chambers (Binkley) coincides with the suicide attempt of depressed high-schooler Sara (Henderson), whom everyone is calling a slut for the usual schoolastic reasons. i.e. none.

Chambers’ corpse and an injured Sara are both taken to a dilapidated hospital in the same ambulance after it nearly runs Sara over, where the loon is unaccountably resurrected and begins a heart-gouging kill spree in the hunt for Sara, whose body he needs to be reborn into. Or something.

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Robert Englund appears as the arresting sheriff but doesn’t make it far through the film – well, enough to appear on the DVD box as if he’s the star. Mucho killage ensues while Sara’s mom (Lori Hallier from My Bloody Valentine) visits and gives her daughter sod-all sympathy.

Alas, a big body count does not a good film make and at least two thirds of the film are made up of the whittled down group of survivors hobbling up and down corridors, looking for hiding places, and performing a fucking blood transfusion in the dark with the aide of one nurse. Sara and Chambers eventually face off, there’s a handy tornado and a final scream moment that neither confirms nor denies any ongoing threat.

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Plenty of arterial spray on show, including an operating theatre massacre where Chambers manages to do in half a dozen people in about two minutes. It’s one of those stupid scenes where there are approximately seven or eight people who could gang up on the lone killer and instead just cower next to small pieces of furniture instead.

The seriousness with which everything is played is what stalls the motor at the end.

Blurbs-of-Robert Englund: 8 appearances as Freddy aside, he can also be seen in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Hatchet, The Phantom of the Opera (1989), Urban Legend, and Natty Knocks.

Say It With Pick-Axes

simonSIMON SAYS

2.5 Stars  2006/15/84m

“Time to have some fun.”

Director/Writer: Bill Dear / Cast: Crispin Glover, Margo Harshman, Greg Cipes, Kelly Vitz, Artie Baxter, Carrie Finklea, Bruce Glover, Lori Lynn Lively, Blake Lively, Kelly Blatz.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “You gotta die sometime. May as well be high!”


Familiarity is the mojo of the slasher genre, there’s a certain comfort in consistency, a feeling like you’ve been to these woods before, camped with these campers and all will turn out just as you expect it to. In Simon Says, a quintet of all-American high schoolers drive their VW camper into the woods to pan for gold, have sex, get stoned et cetera. So far, so familiar. It’s very Texas Chainsaw, only this time they don’t pick up the hitcher who, instead, gets slaughtered by a flying pick-axe no sooner than their van disappears around the corner.

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The group stop off for gas n’ eats at the neglected station run by ‘retarded’ Simon and his sharper identical twin bro, Stanley, both of whom are played by professional weirdo Crispin Glover – Young George McFly. He adequately weirds them out and sends them on their way to a local campsite “where the murders took place…” Well, disappearances actually, although we know better thanks to some handy flashbacking.

Before long a new set of murders begins as teens split off from the group, some paint-ballers run afoul of Simon…or Stanley? Dressed as a bush! The pick-axe flavoured kills make use of hundreds of the damn things and, at one point, the number of them flying through the air must go into triple figures as Simon/Stanley unleashes his deadly contraptions that fire them at fleeing teens.

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Numbers dwindle until only the twins’ “dream girl” Kate remains and must unfurl Stanley’s expo of bizarre lines to figure out what the hell has been going on… You’ll fare no better as Simon Says appears to only have the goal of head-fucking the viewer until you’d happily smash your own face into a cannon of pick-axes.

Glover is his dependable strange self, hamming it up with a deep-south ‘I do declare’ accent but the rest of the cast are left with scraps of their identikit characters to work with; Harshman makes for a functional final girl if not one we’re that bothered about, while Cipes is appealing as the stoner with a big heart. Their other friends fill the roles of meathead jock, I-hate-camping valley girl and slutty chick with no complaints, being killed off in a nice and neat order.

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That’s the problem at the core of the film; while it hands us conventionally anodyne characters with one hand, it repeatedly smacks its own forehead with the other at the same time as it puffs pot fumes into our face. It’s that weird. Who’s the bird on the horse? Why is Blake Lively’s name on the cover when she’s in the film for less than three minutes? Is the comedy intentional? Were they stoned? Geez, McFly, straighten this out!!

OK, watch it: try to enjoy the sticky CGI gore effects and Glover’s demented drawl but don’t ask me for an explanation!

Blurbs-of-interest: Glover played Jimmy in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Margo Harshman was Chugs in Sorority Row; Carrie Finklea was in both Harvest of Fear and its sequel The Path of Evil; Bruce Glover (Crispin’s dad) was in Night of the Scarecrow.

GRANNY

granny1 Stars  1999/18/58m

“She’ll love you…to pieces.”

Director: Boris Pavlovsky / Writer: Sava Popovic, Boris Pavlovsky & TOMI / Cast: Katie Dugan, TOMI, Nathalie Ohona, Rebecca O’Marah, T.J. Bigbee, Annemieke Van Der Meer, John Stoops, David Coleman, Sava Popovic.

Body Count: Fuck knows

Dire-logue: (to a corpse) “Oh my God. Poor Monica, who did this to you?”


How long can an hour last? When you’re waiting to go home at the end of the day, tick…tock go the hands of the clock, mocking you with its ever-slowing crawl towards five o’clock. Or so it seems. And still, I’d rather clock-watch for a whole day than ‘kill’ an hour with the 58-minute long Granny. Actually, I’d rather experience my scrotum being crushed in a vice than watch Granny again.

In the minor horror flick Kolobos, wannabe actress Erica shows her friends a tacky slasher film called The Slaughterhouse Factor Part 3: Death Strikes Thrice. Watching Granny is like watching that film. Just how this film ever saw the light of day is as big a mystery as what the fuck happens at the end of it.

Eight Chicago students gather at a house and discuss paranoia and then start falling victim to the cross-dressing psycho, who sports a rubbish old-hag mask. Granny does away with them with axe, knife and needle until only whiney heroine Michelle remains. Or does she…? Well, sort of, then she has an asthma attack and dies. Or does she…? Oh, for fuck’s sake!!

Horrible effects and dreadful continuity abound as well as endless long takes of the house and the empty spaces therein to pad it out. One girl is stabbed repeatedly and stands there like she’s spilled ketchup on herself, plus Granny’s knife remains perfectly clean!

The sub-April Fool’s Day twist is crap; the acting is crap; everything is crap.

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