Newest Review: ... just hammers a nail in the already apathetic coffin the audience finds itself lying in. Curiously for a direct DVD release, Amusement h... more
Amusement? More like boredom...
Member Name: sunmeilan
Advantages: Starts off okay
Disadvantages: Unconvincing plot, all been done before
Like many horrors, acting is not the strongpoint of this film. The three girls, played by Laura Breckenridge (Shelby), Katheryn Winnick (Tabitha) and Jessica Lucas (Lisa), are virtually indistinguishable, only differentiated by different hair and skin colours. Katheryn Winnick arguably has the greatest role in that she has the most screen time. As an actress, she did the job, no more, no less, and pretty much the same can be said for the other two. It doesn't really matter though because we know from the start that they are either going to die or be horribly maimed, so no amount of acting is likely to persuade the viewer to root for them.
The director, John Simpson, had a really good opportunity to make the film more appealing by creating a really nasty, evil, creepy madman. What he came up with - in the form of actor Keir O'Donnell - is, frankly, pathetic. First of all, his reasons for behaving as he does aren't really convincing. It's the sort of thing that happens to most people, without them losing the plot. Secondly, he just doesn't look the part. He looks like a naughty sixth former who needs a good slap around the legs. Seeing him on screen made me want to laugh more than anything else - never a good move unless you're wanting to create a comedy.
There are some promising moments in the film. The girls' stories are told separately and I thought the first one looked interesting. Shelby and her boyfriend are on a road trip when they run into a truck driver, who turns out not to be the real problem. The story isn't original, but it was done reasonably well and I settled down in the hope of something promising. The second story, involving Tabitha, is also okay - or at least the initial promise of her being chased to her potential death by a clown appealed to me - I've always found clowns creepy. Again though, it is a typical girl alone in the house (except for the children she is babysitting) story that has been done so many times. However, by the time Lisa's story comes along, I had really began to lose interest. The characters were just too diluted I think. Just as one character had begun to look interesting, we skipped onto the next one.
There also seem to be a huge number of plot holes. The most important one is that I found the madman's reasons for chasing the girls to be completely unconvincing. It just didn't make sense; nor did he seem to be intelligent enough to have put such an amazing scheme together. Then I couldn't understand how the three girls all came to be in the same place and what happened to their boyfriends, friends etc. Everything felt very abrupt, with no smoothing of the path between the threads of the story so that it made sense. And there was certainly nothing in it that felt original - it was a veritable hotch-potch of a number of slasher/horror films.
There is, of course, a fair amount of violence to merit the 18 rating. I found it all very standard slasher film violence - the cutting open of bodies, massive bladed saw in the eyes - and it is done reasonably well. I didn't find it at all frightening, but then I watch a lot of this type of film - it definitely isn't suitable for children. The atmosphere is also quite creepy, particularly if, like me, you find clowns frightening. Unfortunately, it wasn't creepy enough to make up for the rubbish storyline, and I was left feeling incredibly flat.
There are no extras whatsoever with the DVD that I have. Probably just as well, because I don't think I would have bothered watching them anyway.
This is the latest in a long line of rubbish horror films that have come out of Hollywood and I'm beginning to despair. I suspect I've been desensitised by the amount of horror I watch, which I should probably find worrying, but I don't have high expectations - I just want to be entertained by something remotely original. Unfortunately, this was so far off that I could barely bring myself to write this review. Watch it if you want to...but at your peril. Two stars out of five (and that's only because I didn't turn it off - I would have done had it been any longer).
The DVD is available from play.com for £6.99.
Running time: 85 minutes
Summary: Mind-numbingly dull - don't bother