Tag Archives: spoilers

TO BECOME ONE

tobecomeone

2000/18/88m

“Family reunions are KILLER!”

Director/Writer: Neil Johnson / Cast: Emma Grasso, Jay Gallagher, David Vallon, Spencer Slasberg, James Giddens, Miranda Podleska, Izumi Pennicott, Jade Bilowol, Michelle Milne, Chris Heywood.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “We’re playing this out like some B-grade movie. Five kids locked away in some isolated shack. When the killer finds us he’s gonna pick us off one by one.”

________________________________________________________________

Oh, sweet Lord! If you ever thought nothing called To Become One could be worse than the Spice Girls song 2 Become 1 – think again! OK, so it was reportedly produced for $2,000, so well done filmmakers on getting that far. Positive attributes end here.

A surefire contender for worst of the worst, this Aussie flick changes genres at the centre point from standardized slasher to something that resembles that Halloween Simpsons episode where Bart discovers he has an identical twin.

A year after her mother was chopped in two, Melinda and her klepto friends find themselves being bumped off by a killer wearing a My Bloody Valentine-esque industrial gas-mask. Seven teens – nearly all girls – are murdered in the first half hour, with the remaining few under the illusion that driving out into the country will put them out of harms way. Said folks chat amiably some minutes after watching two friends incinerated by a car bomb. Once everyone who doesn’t matter is gone, the killer unmasks and reveals himself to be Melinda’s twin brother, separated from her at birth and on leave from the loopy asylum he takes her back to for a re-joining operation by a God-deluded doc.

The wheels finally fall off the wagon at this revelation and it becomes one of those girls-must-escape-all-the-gurning-loonies plots and characters thought dead return from the grave for a contemptuously predictable ending. The occasionally slick presentation does little to aid this festering turd of a film and the opening murder, shot in sepia and inter-cut with a small girl staring into space, completely defies explanation!

88 minutes of pain. This is the cinematic equivalent of root canal surgery.

That’s a mighty big ‘THE’

thefinaldestination THE FINAL DESTINATION

2 Stars  2009/15/82m

“Rest in pieces.”

A.k.a. Final Destination 4

Director: David R. Ellis / Writer: Eric Bress / Cast: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Haley Webb, Nick Zano, Mykelti Williamson, Krista Allen, Andrew Fiscella, Justin Welborn, Jackson Walker.

Body Count: 10 (+51)

Dire-logue: “Sorry for being blunt but… Your life’s in danger and I think you’re gonna die.”


Curtain down time for New Line’s death by…well, death franchise? The absence of a numerical suffix in favour of that big old ‘THE’ seems to suggest that the series is bowing out after nine years, four movies and half a dozen or so tie-in novels (one of which I almost had the chance to write…).

Alas, all good things come to an end. Arguably, all that was good in Final Destination-dom came to an end when the credits rolled at the end of the second movie as the third attempted a re-start with a new cast and tale of doom, only to shoot itself in the foot with an over-abundance of sadism for laughs. That said, it was still a decent flick, something that can’t be said for numero quatro, a 3D-ized experience so over-simplified that it looks as if the script were written by a group of thirteen-year-olds high on E numbers.

As per usual, things begin with a big accident and death en masse, this time occurring at a racetrack/speedway where quartet of youthful friends Nick, Lori, Janet and Hunt escape their grisly deaths after Nick has a premonition that an accident on the track will send all manner of car parts flying into the audience, sticking and squashing punters until the place begins to collapse on top of them. As in all the films, he who has the vision is last to die in it, conveniently allowing us to witness that oh-so-important order-of-death list… Along with the kids, a handful of other characters make it out for temporary further living, several of whom aren’t even allotted names that register: there’s “Racist” (as well as “Racist’s Wife”), “Cowboy” and, my favourite, “MILF/Samantha”.

fd1

A creative sequence of credits that CGI-ify deaths from previous films intercepts while the audience laugh at the frankly comical ways the “characters” were done away with at the raceway and re-adjust their 3D specs for the onslaught. People begin to die in a variety of bizarre and/or ironic ways, always gorily, sometimes with humorous trimmings, although killing off the nice soccer mom was callous and cruel, especially as her two sons were annoying and in close proximity enough to have been done away with…

In between deaths, Nick has pop-up visions of what will kill the next victim. Lori and he try to convince their friends who, of course, take no notice. The only person who believes them is Mykelti Williamson’s security guard, a widower with an alcohol problem, making him the sole “character” with any - and I mean any - information given about his life. They intervene, save a life, think they’re safe, toast to it, realise they aren’t and it all ends very strangely with some sort of second premonition that, when thwarted, proves it was an entirely meaningless effects boaster designed to pad out the minimal running time.

fd3

OK, so there’s stuff to laugh at, the car wash scene is clever and an ass is sucked out, plus there’s plenty of dire-logue: Nick tells Lori it feels as if there’s something in the room with him. Yes, Nick, your girlfriend. She’s right there, touching you… You’re talking to her. The set-ups to each death are amusing, albeit somewhat unrelaxed and rushed and the 3D supplies some additional goo to fly at the audience.

But why, in four films, has no one ever questioned what force opposes Death and dishes out these premonitions and further hints? Why has nobody tried a seance or gone to a spiritualist or a gypsy to try and break the curse? The original film may have toyed with pop-psychology theories of our mortality but with each film comes more cynicism, thanks in main to characters so underdeveloped they aren’t all afforded names, let alone backstories, parents, jobs and lives. They serve only to be cut to pieces by shrapnel.

In this sense, The Final Destination reminded me of the original Japanese Ju-On: The Grudge, a film pieced together by vignettes of the haunty-housey stuff. Instead now, we get unrelated people dying in entertaining ways punctuated by dull scenes of Nick, Lori and George talking about it. There’s no mourning, no sadness. Hell, after Hunt dies he’s never mentioned again!

At the end of it all, what sucks outweighs what’s fun, but how can you complain going into a film like this – what did I expect, Oscar-worthy acting and high drama? Well, GSCE-level acting and any drama would’ve sufficed. The CGI wasn’t that impressive, the usually creative deaths weren’t that creative and the script was pure crap. And yes, I could have done better. I imagine it’ll end up on my DVD shelf next to 1, 2 and 3 once it’s on sale in a couple of years but it’s time New Line laid this one to rest.

Blurbs-of-interest: Bobby Campo was later in Scream – The TV Series; Andrew Fiscella was in the Prom Night remake; Phil Austin, husband of the ‘MILF’ was in Chain Letter.

THE NUN

nun 2005/15/102m

“Not all water is holy…”

Director: Luis de la Madrid / Writers: Jaume Balaguero & Manu Diaz / Cast: Anita Briem, Belen Blanco, Manu Fullola, Alistair Freeland, Cristina Piaget, Paulina Galvez, Natalia Dicenta, Oriana Bonet, Tete Delgado, Lola Marcelli.

Body Count: 8

Dire-logue: “So let me get this straight: are you trying to tell me that all this is some sort of I Know What You Did Eighteen Summers Ago or something?”

________________________________________________________________

Some filmmakers must want to tear their own ears off with frustration when studio executives meddle with their creativity. In some cases it might make the film better, but in others it’s sure to render the production a lost cause. Such is the case of The Nun, a handsome looking Spanglish production, which, for 95 of it’s 102 minutes is an interesting, kinda creepy little supernatural slasher – and then comes that twist.

nun1Six naughty Catholic school girls accidentally murder the sadistic Sister Ursula after she goes too far abusing one of them. Eighteen years later, the grown women are falling victim to her ghost, who manifests from water, usually from overflowing baths or sinks. When young Eve witnesses the death of her mother by the nun and then the outcome of another tragic ‘accident’, she agrees to tag along to Spain with her friends Julia and Joel and pick up where her mom left off, meeting the other surviving girls to figure out why they started dying… Eve gets on the trail with her pals and a sexy young wannabe-priest and they all end up at the condemned convent with the final two women in a bid to put an end to spectre-nun for good.

The first third of The Nun is a professional looking mix of Darkness Falls and Final Destination with a sprinkling of J-horror conventions, showing off some good demises and competent CGI work. However, once the action shifts to Spain (despite the fact it’s all evidently been shot there) and the main characters make their way to the old school, things start to drag… There’s a mini-twist about the deaths reflecting those of the girls’ patron saints and if things had ended with the destruction of the nun all would be well.

nun2But no.

The twist that is ‘suddenly’ revealed is so crap and reveals so many glaring inconsistencies that you could fly a Boeing 747 through the plot holes, absolutely shattering what credence the film had amassed unto this point. Given the explanation provided, what they propose to be the truth could not have even happened at all. It will make you want to die your own grisly death because it sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks!

You want to know? Seriously? OK…

S P O I L A G E

There is no nun, Eve is the killer. So explains a miraculously clued-in Joel at the end, a “traumatic event” made her the killer, i.e. her mom’s death, but wait – according to earlier dialogue, mom was the second victim as the first burned to death in London a few days earlier. Did Eve fly to London and kill her then? If so, she also has the power to walk through walls and manages to oversee the elevator death before she even arrives at the hotel! It’s also apparently possible to impale oneself with a speargun.

Honestly, did they think everyone watching had Alzheimers?

Harper’s Island: Episodes 12 & 13

harpersFinal body count: 31

And so it ends, the bizarre, drawn-out slasher flick that would normally only occupy a cool 85 minutes, but instead clocks in at around 546. The mystery is solved, a helluva lotta folks are dead  – but who will walk away?

Before we get to that, I’ll share some of my early suspicions and stuff. Initially, I expected Cal to be the killer. Why? Well, American films quite often cast the Brit as the villain. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that he was neither the psycho nor a coward, less pleasant when he got skewered by John Wakefield.

I thought early on that there must be more than one killer, due to the presence of the primary cast members when murders were committed elsewhere.

In my little utopic Harperian Island, I wanted to see Abby survive along with all round nice bloke Danny, Trish, Jimmy and, yeah, okay, Madison. Kids usually irritate me in these with their ability to live through anything but she had that great creepy vibe and that excellent line: “I’m not going to get to be a flower girl…Abby!”

In Episode 12, Sully and Danny manage to capture John Wakefield, incapacitate and imprison him – everybody still able to breathe breathes a sigh of relief but we know better… Wakefield requests an audience with Abby and fills in a few historical gaps and says he located his son. Suspects narrowed down to four. Is it Jimmy like everyone thinks? Nah… Been down that alley before.

S P O I L A G E   F O L L O W S . . .

After accidentally falling off a cliff (!), Trish finds a boathouse with a working radio and the group manage to summon the coastguard. Wakefield somehow breaks out and fights with Danny, managing to send him eye-first on to one of those paper-needle things (as seen in Intruder in 1988) and Shea and Madison escape. Unfortunately for the others, re-splitting up to take showers and stuff couldn’t be a more dense decision at the time and Trish puts on her wedding dress to show Henry. Coulda seen this coming… a noise outside sends him on the investigative detail and Wakefield attacks her, sending her on a woodland chase in her lovely white dress, which gets all dirty until she runs into the arms of Henry, who subsequently confesses he slipped Wakefield the key, murdered a whole loada people and then sticks a knife into her! Wakefield materialises: “Hi dad!”

Much of the finale sees Henry and his father trying to off the final five survivors before the coastguard arrives. After sending Shea and Madison off towards land in a small motorboat, Sully gets himself killed, leaving only Abby and Jimmy to figure out the truth just in time and Henry shockingly murders his own dad instead of Abby, sets fire to the church to cover up the deaths and, as far as the cops are concerned, all loose ends are tied up.

It turns out that Henry would rather be with his half-sister forever and traps her inside a house on the island where they can live in secret. Jimmy is tied up in the garage as a ploy; Henry wants him to confess to being Wakefield’s accomplice so that no harm comes Abby’s way. Of course, she has other ideas and they manage to break free, kill Henry and save the day, albeit too late for 27 of the other cast members.

So there you have it, Harper’s Island finishes. I’d switched suspects to Henry a few episodes back, given that the writers were trying to push us towards Jimmy as the killer and neither Sully nor Danny seemed to have motive (although in hindsight, remembering that Sully was Trish’s former lover, he could easily have been the killer). In truth, I doubted the killer would be female and half expected Booth might come back from beyond the grave also… Que sera.

They did the best with what was left, but, from about Episode 9 the whole thing was wearing thin. The requisite once-an-episode victim tally couldn’t fill a whole 45 minutes’ worth and flashback padding and drawn out scenes of paranoia and people walking around the woods with shotguns were getting a bit tiresome. Ergo, a mostly successful try at something different for TV but I think this might be the last we see of this format.

I liked the cast a lot, Elaine Cassidy was a good, if not standardized final girl with the usual set of issues and she was backed by some good talent. Here are the blurbs-of-interest for the roster: Katie Cassidy (Trish) was the heroine in the remake of Black Christmas and was also in the remake of When a Stranger Calls; Gina Holden (Shea) was one of the rollercoaster victims in Final Destination 3; both Brandon Jay McLaren (Danny) and Ben Cotton (Shane) were in Scar 3D; Claudette Mink (Katherine) was in both Children of the Corn: Revelation and Return to Cabin by the Lake; Chris Gauthier was one of the rave victims in Freddy vs. Jason and Richard Burgi appeared in Hostel Part II and the Friday the 13th reboot.

1 20 21 22