Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Straight-to-DVD movies should go straight in the bin

Living in a small town an hour’s drive from the nearest cinema, we rely heavily on our local DVD-rental store for entertainment. And I don’t know what’s happened to the choice of movies available for hire recently, but a bigger load of dross I have seldom seen.

It’s rare that a movie is so bad I can hardly believe it. ‘Bad’ movies can still be fun – you can still enjoy them. ‘Resident Evil’ (which I blogged in May 2008) was one such.

Movies that are so abysmally awful that all you can do is sit gobsmacked on the sofa, chortling embarrassedly now and again, but mainly wondering why you aren’t doing something more worthwhile, like reading a book or opening your veins, aren’t that common.

My bad run kicked off with a Lindsay Lohan ‘vehicle’ (as I believe the jargon has it) called I Know Who Killed Me. This astonishing piece of crap won not one, not two, not three… hell, EIGHT Golden Raspberry awards – including the first-ever award in a new category, ‘Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie’. Of course, we didn’t know this when we took it off the shelf and paid good money to watch it – but an hour into it, when we were practically hysterical with mirthful disbelief, we realised we’d been well and truly had.

The next was called The Boston Strangler: The Untold Story. The original 1968 movie, starring the inimitable Tony Curtis, was deemed by the New York Times to represent ‘an incredible collapse of taste, judgment, decency, prose, insight, journalism and movie technique’. This one, featuring the singularly charmless David Faustino, whom South Africans might remember as the nerdy, creepy little brother in the US sitcom Married… With Children (and he couldn’t act in that either), is – believe it or not – worse. Reviewer Ray Justavick called it ‘a steaming pile of shit’ on

He was right on the flush button. How can you possibly take seriously a movie in which, within the first few scenes, you see a dead woman blink - twice! Every single thing about this movie, from its eye-poppingly appalling acting and its devastatingly dreadful script, to its laughable continuity and high-school-production-like attempts to create ‘atmosphere’, screams DUD! And yet we unwittingly forked out Twenty Ront for the highly questionable privilege of sitting through it. (Okay, halfway through it. Okay, a quarter of the way.)

Next was a Kiefer Sutherland job called Mirrors. In this Kiefer (who shares his actor-father’s penchant for choosing terrible movies to appear in, but sadly lacks Donald’s so-ugly-he’s-gorgeous appeal) plays a traumatised ex-cop who does night duty as a security guard in a burnt-out department store and is haunted by… actually, who cares. It’s one thing to put every horror-movie cliché in the book into a movie, it’s quite another to do it so badly that it inadvertently becomes a parody of itself.

Mark H Harris, reviewing the movie for Horror & Suspense Movies, wonders how this one – a remake, apparently, of a Japanese original – could have gone ‘so very, very wrong’. He mentions the lack of logic and the ‘horrible dialogue’, and concludes, ‘The unnecessary, tacked-on ‘‘twist’’ ending is the fetid cherry atop this hammy sundae. During the final 20 campy minutes, it almost veers into ‘‘so bad it’s good’’ territory. Almost.’

Movies are really expensive to make. And, once a wrap’s been called and it’s realised that for all the millions of dollars that have been spent, the movie absolutely does not make the grade (and, really, I’m talking grade 0 here), it’s we poor suckers on the DVD-rental circuit who end up involuntarily allowing the backers to claim back some of their outlay.

How dare they? This kind of crud should never make its way onto any screen. And those responsible for the ones that do should be made to sit through repeated viewings of I Know Who Killed Me, The Boston Strangler: The Untold Story and Mirrors until they go insane. The good news for them is that it probably won’t take long.

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ali g said...

"Australia" with Nicole Kidman & Hugh Jackman has just been released on DVD. Enough said. It's embarrassing [to be an Oz]. Nicole seems to be a rather vacuous twit these days. Probably living with Tom for 10 years that did it.
The movie is so twitty and inaccurate historicly that it makes me shudder

蚵仔麵線Jeff said...