Wednesday, March 19, 2008

See No Evil

I had resisted seeing this film for some time, as a horror movie produced by the WWE and starring one of their top pro wrestlers as the villain seemed to give it a greater than average chance of failing. A surprising number of positive reviews of it convinced me to give it a try, however, and I have to admit, while not exactly a good movie, it isn’t half bad.

The plot is fairly standard slasher fare. A group of co-ed convicts agrees, in exchange for reduced sentences, to help clean up an old, decrepit hotel that happens to be the secret hidey-hole of a deranged killer (played by the WWE’s Kane) that enjoys cutting out women’s eyes for religious purposes. It’s a fairly standard film, though for what the genre requires, it’s largely done well. The setting is always crucial in films like this, and the old hotel here does have a nice amount of grunginess and creep to it (though, just for comparison’s sake, it’s not quite up to the level of the apartment complex in Tobe Hooper’s Toolbox Murders remake). Kane himself also looks appropriately badass, and spends a large chunk of the film attacking people with a big old meat hook on a chain. I wish we could have done without all the character explanation at the end, but I’d say he still qualifies as a quality entrant into the horror ranks.

In addition to the weak climax, there’s one main problem with the film, and that’s with the editing. For whatever reason (presumably having something to do with how it was produced by the WWE), the director felt he had to be all “hip” and “edgy” in the editing room, and so half the scenes in the movie felt like they were edited by someone with an extreme case of ADD. People aren’t allowed to just walk across the room, oh no. That would take far too long. Instead, they’ll take one step, then the camera will cut to them halfway across the room, whereupon they’ll take a second step, then the camera will again cut to them walking out the door. Why? Is the audience really expected to have such a short attention span that if a camera shot lasts longer than two seconds, they’ll pass out? I can see from IMDB that director Gregory Dark’s previous directing credits are pretty much all music videos and softcore porn, which does offer up a good amount of explanation for this, but an explanation is not an excuse, I says!

Still, that aside, the film does qualify as a pretty decent slasher movie. There’s actually a small effort made to give our cast of characters some measure of depth, at least moreso than with most films in the genre, so you actually do care some small amount when a few of them get killed. There’s also a character that is not far removed from a character in Bug, which was one of my favorite borderline horror movies of the past few years. I can't say which one, though, without running the risk of ruining part of the films’ endings. If you’re a slasher fan but have been avoiding this one because of its pro wrestling connection, you needn’t worry. This film will largely treat you right.

Rating: ** ½

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