The HORROR SHOW usually doesn't post anything if it's just going to be bashing or a public hanging of a movie following the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule of thought. However, there have been a few movies that have managed to be so annoying that we are back burnering the rule for a moment.
I recently watched THE UNBORN. Don't ask me why. I was working and needed something on in the background while I toiled away on mindless efforts. I wasn't planning to pay much attention, but I grew more and more caught up in the film as it went along. Why? Because I was getting more angry as it progressed. The fact that it got made and dumped on the genre loving public made me really upset.
Now, here's the funny thing. I see a LOT of bad horror films. I usually knock them out three or four at a time via high speed Netflix stream scrubbing so I don't waste too much of my time on them. For some reason, seeing these horrible horrors didn't make me as upset and pissed off as watching the Unborn and I think I know why. The Unborn was just lazy across the board. It took classic tropes of the genre and just tossed them into a big pile and said, "Here, Horror Fans, watch all this stuff we tossed together." Much of what I detested about the film could have been handled with another pass...or two...at the script.
We have a rather standard tale here. A girl is being "haunted" by some spirit that wants to be born. Ok, fine. I accept that. But then we start going into la la land on things. Visuals are tossed at us, but there is nothing to back anything up.
A dog appears to our lead at one point. It's wearing a mask. Ok, the visual was cool and frucking odd, but...WHY?! WHY is a dog wearing a mask?! What the HELL does it mean?!
When this demon...spirit...thing...boy shows up to kill folks, there's this visual trick where his mouth opens super wide and he screams and stuff. WHY?! When an old man is possessed and comes after another character, his body is twisted around and his head is upside down. WHY?!
So...how would I have fixed this? Made it a bit more locked into something? Make it so the demon baddie needs to scare folks first before being able to kill them, yeah? He needs to get their fear up and he uses that fear power to power himself. Done. Fixed. Now, all the stupid shite they tossed at us as a purpose other than just looking neat and computer graphicy.
And then we have Jane Alexander, Idris Elba and Gary Oldman in the film. When I saw Alexander, I shrugged it off. Then Gary Oldman showed up and I had to do a double take. I thought, "Whoa...what did he do - loose a bet? Did they not give him the full script? Did he get a DUI and this was his community service option?" (I'll stop....) Then Elba shows up as an exorcist type and I lost my mind. "WHY are these people IN THIS FILM?! It's not worthy!"
And you know that when you resort to tossing your lead characters butt up on your poster standing in the bathroom in her underwear...you don't have faith that the movie will draw people. You're fishing for the teen boy crowd. "Dude...she's kinda hot. Let's watch this. Maybe she gets naked."
And lastly...come on...fuck you on the "plot twist". You're not even trying. They treated it like it was a big shocker, but it was painfully obvious from 40 minutes or so into the film. Test audiences must have just flipped off the screen and walked out, tossing their questionnaires over their shoulders as they fled the theater. I know I would have. Don't waste my time.
I had a similar experience with THE MOTH DIARIES recently as well. The same scenario - something light tossed on while I did some renders and keying. The plot...simple at best. Girls school, our lead is excited to get back to all her CUTE AND WELL DRAWN MIXED GROUP OF BEAUTIFUL AND VAPID FRIENDS - one of each color so no one is offended...but the people subjected to this pandering. No one is fooling anyone. Strange girl is introduced. They call out the 1872 novel CARMILLA right from the start and basically sum up the plot of the film. Chic's a vampire and up to something. We all know it, the lead knows it, but no one else does.
So...we watch the lead stumble around and watch her friends get caught up in the vampire's plan and we're bored. Nothing really happens. For a while, I thought I hit the TV button and stumbled into a CW television school drama where boring people do boring things for people who are even MORE boring to watch. But...nope...it was still MOTH DIARIES unfolding painfully before me.
I could only think that Rachel Klein's novel was more interesting. I looked it up and I felt ashamed. It's listed as children's lit. Most likely the same sort of youth fiction that TWILIGHT and POTTER service. Had I known, I would have just passed or paid far less attention. I thought I was in for a more sinister fair. Students being bled dry as the cleaver vamp misdirects people towards the lead to throw people off her scent. The lead having to convince people she wasn't the evil one while the vampire plays with her life and smiles wicked smiles behind her back, all mounting to a classic conclusion where the lead kills the vamp. Maybe with a little sad twist where our lead is called out as a murderer. I dunno....
Anyway...the most scary part of THE MOTH DIARIES is the vampire lead and her CREEPY DOLL FACE! YIKES! Lily Cole is creepy!
|Lily Cole is a living, creepy doll|
I was sad to see that Mary Harron directed this. Her work on AMERICAN PSYCHO was fantastic, but she has not really pulled anything in that's been close to it since. The Notorious Bettie Page came and went in 2005, she did a lot of TV work, then she hops in with MOTH in 2011 and got a big, stinky 38 out of 100 on Metacritic. I agree with the score.
So....no need to say anymore. There are certain films that get a pass from me.
The DAY OF THE DEAD remake with it's CGI, leaping zombies and horrible script - pass. Who really cares? It's laughable. QUARANTINE 2...CHILLERAMA...whatever. But, these UNBORN and MOTH DIARIES types just push my buttons. I want to kick them in their celluloid crotches and call them names. I want to make the screenwriters write me apologies and submit them for me to critique before I have them rewrite them over again...maybe three times.
Are you out there, David S. Goyer? Write me and let me know what you were thinking when you hammered out the Unborn script. Did I miss something? Seriously. Was it the Evil Studio® messing with the works? Were you just looking to get money for something good you wanted to write. Hell, we've all been there. "I gotta get this crap done so I can get back to my cool stuff." I would really like to hear what you have to say.
Mr. Goyer's works include, but are not limited to....
THE DARK KNIGHT
::whispers:: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance...moving on....
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
and MAN OF STEEL
I'd call out Mary Harron for THE MOTH DIARIES script, but...you know...she was working with the novel, right? Not really her fault. :)
Ok...back to talking about things we like. I need to watch LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE to wash the moth taste out of my mouth.