The bad guy is never innocent…
It’s weird that I ended up watching this movie right after the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (Elm Str). They have a lot of odd similarities. I think the person who wrote this movie, might have been trying to come up with a new adaption on the Elm Str. concept, and just phoned it in. I mean, a child murderer, with supernatural powers, uses them within a very strict mythos, to murder the children of the people who killed him.
The similarities end there, but this movie even had a sort of style, flow, and feel to it that very much reminded me of the Elm Str remake. Actually, this director was involved in the Child’s Play remake, so maybe he was after an Elm Str remake and lost the bid back in 2010.
Now, killer selfies might sound kinda dumb, but like It Follows, this movie was trying for something unique and I think it actually worked! Yeah, there was a lot about this movie that was kinda lame, and by no means is if perfect, but it was still pretty solid. The idea of cursed objects is nothing new, and the one they designed in this movie was pretty smart. What I liked about this cursed object, is that it had very specific and detailed rules which made surviving it a bit of a puzzle. This drives the plot naturally, and while the plot is a bit rushed -leaning heavily of bad tropes- it’s never guilty of writing itself into a corner. The protagonists learn and use the rules to manipulate the curse and prolong their survival.
Defining the rules for a solid mythos is integral to a good cursed object movie. I can’t say the same for Oculus which couldn’t seem to figure out what the fuck it was doing with it’s cursed object, to the point I called it out for ‘Bad Ghost.’
Also, unlike Elm Str which shoehorned a bad twist into the plot, I can’t accuse this movie of the same thing, because it makes more sense the way it played out. They put forth the extra effort to hang a lantern on the twist and tie everything in the plot together.
The acting was even on par for horror, tapping the talent of Mitch Pileggi (better know for his roll as Skinner from the X-Files), who plays Sheriff Pembroke.
Besides the rushed pacing, the only other problem was the shitty CGI. Fuck, it’s like they weren’t even trying. I’ve seen budget indies do better with less, and that’s kinda inexcusably bad. All of this could have been done, likely cheaper, with practical FX.
At the end of the day, this movie is nothing to write home about. However, it’s riffable and fun and I can recommend it to Horror Heads and Riffers alike.
So I’d be doing this movie a disservice if I didn’t explain why it’s twist was better explained than the Elm Str remake. If you read my review of A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010), you’ll note I complained it tried to sell Fred Krueger as an innocent lynching victim and the concept just fell flat on it’s face. The setup was poorly executed, and the character would be flat out ruined if they decided to actually go for it. In this movie, they made a point of having Roland Joseph Sable’s widow sell him as an innocent victim, having her spin a tale of woe about how his daughter was humiliated and driven to suicide by the children Sable killed. They really made a point to convince the audience that Sheriff Pembroke was covering up what he and his friends had done to Sable’s daughter, and that Sable is just back from the grave for revenge.
It’s all absolute bullshit of course, and the main protagonists even serve up the Sheriff to Sable in hopes it would end the curse. As it turns out, Sable sexually abused his daughter, murdered the kids who found out about it, and after Sable was gunned down, his daughter took her own life out of shame. As the Sheriff mentions “all you had to do was check the date of her death and you’d discover she died AFTER all the kids were murdered.” The widow was just doing what many widows of serial killers do, making logical back-flips in her head to absolve herself of any wrong doing. If she convinced herself her husband was the victim, then the things her husband did to her daughter never happened, and she could live in denial without feeling like any of it was her fault.
So, not only is the twist better, but the movie is pretty good, and the mythos of how the cured object works is kinda neat. I can recommend this movie, even if just for riffing.
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