Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blood Hook

I was debating whether or not to tag this one as a comedy as well, based on the sheer premise of someone going around killing people at a lake using a giant novelty fishing hook, but given that the film itself is just a pretty straight-laced slasher flick I couldn’t really justify that. Regardless, this is the second movie in the Troma Triple B-Header collection (the first being yesterday’s Blades and the last being tomorrow’s deeply disappointing Zombie Island Massacre), and the reason I got the collection in the first place, as I had seen it in the horror section at Livingston’s video rental place and had always wanted to watch it. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

The film follows a group of vaguely twentysomething friends as they go on vacation to a lake down south just in time for a big fishing tournament (sadly, Zombie Island Massacre doesn’t have a tournament to draw all three movies in the collection together), only for them to be stalked and killed off one by one (as well as some locals) by a crazed killer with a giant ridiculous looking fishing hook. I would say it’s unique, but in the film’s efforts to throw us off the scent as to whomever is committing the murders it shows us no less than three different characters using them, which strikes me as a tad curious. I don’t fish, so I may just be oblivious to some overwhelming need for giant hooks when hunting for swordfish or tiger sharks or giant sentient lawnmowers or something, but I have to assume that in a regular lake like the one everyone in the film is at such a device is just overkill.

The mystery of it is a bit silly, as we get two suspects right off the bat that both seem so overtly crazy that you know instantly that neither one can actually be the killer. When the killer is revealed, it’s kind of ho-hum, as he’s the only person left that it possibly could have been. I guess that’s as it should be, since the film itself is pretty ho-hum, with a collection of characters that are fairly unlikable, but who are also not jerkish enough to give us at least the small benefit of hating them. They’re just…there, much like the rest of the movie.

In fact, the movie is pretty poor enough and brings us so little that I came close to just slapping the garbage tag on it and calling it a day. I will say that what stopped me is the climax, where our hero, enraged at the deaths of his friends, demands that the required Crazy Old Guy In A Horror Movie teach him how to properly cast so that he can take the fight to the killer, and then later that night showing a grueling fight as they each land their goofy giant hooks into each other’s chests and grimace a lot. The likely inadvertent humor coming from that made sure that the film at least ended on a moderately high note, and gave me at least some reason to enjoy it.

It should be noted for those of you who like their films dark or edgy or what have you that this, as was Blades before it, is a pretty clean movie. There’s no nudity, little blood, and little profanity (at least that I noticed), to the point where I have to believe it borders on a PG rating. I am amazed that it has an R rating, and must therefore assume that whoever rated it just saw it was a horror movie and automatically slapped an R rating on it without really watching it, because it’s as mild as cool ranch. It was also briefly (though no longer) listed on IMDB as part of the Bottom 100, and I think that’s a tad harsh. Yes, it sucks, but I’ve seen much worse films just this year, to my great shame. So if you accidentally bought this collection thinking that Troma would never steer you wrong (and really, you should know better), don’t worry too much. Every film in the set is at least watchable, though this one is definitely the weakest of the three. Just make sure you’re still watching at the climax, because that’s when all the good moments happen.

Rating: *

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