Friday, November 23, 2007


This is a particularly frustrating film for me, and I have to say, despite my admitted junkie-like fixation with horror movies, I think this one would have been much better if the horror elements had been stripped out of it.

The film follows a troubled, potentially suicidal youth as his parents, panicked at the thought of their younger son killing himself like their older did, dump him at a facility to “rehabilitate” troubled youths. Such places actually do exist, though they usually operate outside of the United States so they can have more legal leeway with how they go about their rehabilitating. Our hero is fairly wooden, letting us focus more on former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, who plays the charismatic and sadistic Captain, warden of this “jail that’s not a jail”. Were it just a film about their battles with each other, or of life in such a place, the film could easily work. Unfortunately, it also has to throw in a haunting by the ghost of the Captain’s nephew, who suffered a brutal death at the facility, and who wants our hero to find his bones so he can know rest.

I guess it’s kind of like if some director had decided he wanted to make a film exposing abuses at Guantanamo Bay, but felt the best way to really make people take notice would be to make it into some stupid fucking ghost movie. The film sabotages itself right at its very core. It’s well made enough, with a (mostly) solid crew of actors, and Tim Sullivan’s directing work is certainly an improvement over the meanness of his previous effort 2001 Maniacs, but it’s all in service of a work that was doomed at the script level. This is one film that would have greatly benefited from some rewrites.

Rating: * ½

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