15th January See No Evil
The last two entries were products of my desire to finally get my Lovefilm 'Watchlist' below 100 entries, but this one is from my last pre-owned-DVD/Blu-Ray shopping trip. Sadly, its shelf-stale nature means that unless I find a time portal that runs back to 2007, I've missed the closing date for the competition on the insert: win a trip to Wrestlemania and meet lead actor, pro wrestler and possible future political figure Kane (Yes, I'm a smark; what of it?). The Big Red We-Had-To-Get-Jerry Lawler-to-stop-saying-'Retard' himself plays Jacob Goodnight, and oh my goodness if only that was the silliest thing about this movie.
Oh look; here's an impractically large and architecturally confused old building (a burnt-out hotel this time) mostly created in CG! and who should be hoving into view but an ethnically and culturally diverse co-ed group of foulmouthed criminal youths trying to knock some time off their various sentences by 'volunteering' for some cleanup work. But oh noes! the Bioshock-2-looking halls are prowled by a physically imposing filthy man bearing the emotional scars of a religious fanatic mother, and wielding some would-be iconic and hideously impractical weapon (big old hook on about ten feet of chain, since you don't ask; at least it's not ANOTHER power tool, and the big chap trades it in for a more sensible axe partway through. Post Jack Torrance, I believe it's now compulsory for anyone using an empty/abandoned hotel as a killing ground to do so with a REALLY BIG AXE).
So what's a giant bald virtual-mute with a head full of maggots [yes, really] to do, when all he wants to do is lay tripwires and work on his collection of jars of homeless people eyeballs, but can't move for these young people with their tattoos and their baggies of dope, and their making out and their hula hoops and their rumble seats? Making things worse, the McManus nominally in charge of the male miscreants is the cop who invaded Big Hooky's previous crucifix-slathered lair in the pre-credits scene and tried to fix his clock with a bullet in the big old dome; didn't work, obviously (though bullet wound = skullhole full of maggots because gross visuals always beats logic, as 63% of all horror films made since 2000 have established), and was-a-cop loses a partner and a forearm to a free-swinging axe.
Then there is doping, and swearing, and foreshadowing and some sorts of attempts at character; then they split up and go to bed, nerdy computer criminal fellow and Black Man Called Tyson [wince] go looking for a supposed safe full of cash, and the film settles in to a comfy rhythm of killscreamrunstalkscreamkillrepeat, until only arseholes remain - (which isn't a spoiler, since there were really only arseholes there from the start). For the killspotters, (and you all know who you are) who really only watch slasher movies for the creative kills, we have some hookings, some eyeball-pluckings, some spikings, a chokeslamming into the roof of a lift (as advertised), and the standout; someone being killed by having their mobile phone shoved down their windpipe. Mostly practical effects, too, until the end, which gives real effects the big finger in favour of an entirely CG Kane. Much to the detriment of the film, since it's not only a harsh shift in visual tone, but it's the quality of CG that wouldn't pass in a PC game cutscene from 2006 (except possibly in an EA game, since they appear to have lately replaced their QA department with a dusty room full of old chairs, an overhead printer and an elderly hedgehog called Colin). Too bad. Might be acceptable if you have low standards, or poor eyesight, or you crank your contrast right down; only you can decide if you can get past it.
But, is it scary? meh...is it trying to be? It's more gross than anything else. Though I have to say I've never found Kane frightening at all. I mean, obviously he is BIG (I imagine if he was stood on your foot, you'd know all about it), and he does have an...interesting face, with possibly more planes and angles [not this one] than any three regular-person faces, but he's never struck me as anything but a large, sweet chap making a scowly 'grr' face, possibly for the amusement of their child. That's just me, though, I know.
So tomorrow; I don't know yet; since it's Date Night, I'm allowing my dear spouse and helpmeet to pick the movie. Odds that it will be Lawrence of Arabia? 3/2 and dropping.