Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day

So yes, while I just recently whined about how lame Troma films tend to be, I now find myself watching another one instead of doing something productive. What can I say, what with the holiday rapidly approaching and all this just seemed appropriate. * At least it’s from the start of the 80s, when Troma still at least made a vague effort to make their films watchable, rather than going out of their way to make every film terrible and then giggling about it.

The film is basically a rip-off of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as a group of three girls go into the woods to get back in touch with each other, and run afoul of a family of rapist-murderers led by (obviously) their mother. One of the girls is taken from the group, and is brutally raped and beaten, while the other two start their escape, slowing to snatch their friend away with them, and then deciding to go back and wipe the whole family out.

The movie, written, directed, and produced by Charles Kaufman (not to be confused with the Charlie Kaufman that wrote Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, all of which you should see before tackling this film), manages to have a sense of humor about itself that is startlingly understated for such a film. Rather than beating into our heads how hysterical the film must be, it instead gives us some subtle moments of genius, such as how the two evil brothers wake up to a Big Bird alarm clock, or their frankly brilliant morning exercises. The movie falters quite a bit when it focuses on our heroines (the first third of the movie is just tedious to sit through, as they frolic in the woods and share memories that are just boring and awful), but the bulk of the movie manages to focus on the bad guys, as it should. The violence is unfortunately sparse, but generally works well when it appears (one character takes a hammer to the sack in a particularly horrid scene), though the nudity, despite all the rape going on, is almost nonexistent. There are also quite a few continuity errors, like when one girl starts getting splattered with blood before her boyfriend is even killed. Still, despite its flaws, it is easily the best Troma release I’ve seen in some time. If you were looking to try the company out, this would not be a bad starting place.

Rating: **

* I didn’t actually watch the film because of the holiday, that was just sheer random coincidence that I didn’t even notice until the person I was watching it with pointed it out. Still, it does make a handy excuse.

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