I don’t usually like to trash films, as I have worked on a few film sets in my day, seeing the blood, sweat and tears that go into a production regardless of how bad the script, acting or sets were. What is tragic is the hype associated with not-so-great films or a stellar performance in an otherwise terrible movie. I have come across many in horror movie land, and can stay silent no longer, so pinch yer noses and hold yer breath because here are just a few to hold at arm’s length:
I Am Bad (2012, 1 hr, 24 mins)
Well where do I start? Taking a page from the brilliant and horrifically gruesome Maniac (2012), we are subjected to a shoddy version of the P.O.V. serial killer film. This fella grew up with an abusive, nut job of a mother who only wanted him to be happy. She is unfortunately hit by a car when she chases him out into traffic after an argument. Her dying wish? “You better be happy or mommy will hate you!” With that to fuel him through his formative years, this guy (who remains nameless and virtually unseen throughout the film-and that’s probably for the best if he wants to work again) goes on a killing spree starting with his absentee father, a teenage girlfriend and countless other unsuspecting victims. He finally decides to get help from a psychiatrist that his mother ironically recommended when he was a child, but the good doctor dies. This leaves his attractive assistant and PhD student, Anne, out of a job and apparently in need of a friend, which our serial killer is more than ready to be for her. In fact, he falls in love with her and struggles with killing, which makes him happy, and not killing Anne, who makes him happy.
I was attracted to this film because the love interest was an African-American woman and hoped it would be an interesting take on the serial killer genre. Boy was I wrong. So what can I say about it? That it was a bad rip-off of an already classic slasher film? That it was unsuccessful as a tongue-in-cheek comedy? That the acting was substandard? That the story had so many holes in it I expected moths to be flitting around? And explain to me the cameo appearance from 80’s singer Taylor Dayne please, because I am puzzled by it. The only redeeming aspect of this movie was Anne played by Caprice Crawford, a beautiful African-American actor based in Germany for some time. Aside from Crawford’s engaging performance, and Jessica Makinson who played Tasha, a hilarious love interest for the killer, this movie was a stinker. You have been warned. As per the title, it is bad.
The Quiet Ones (2014, 1 hr, 38 mins)
I went to see this movie with high hopes. Some real life paranormal experiments, conducted in my home town Toronto circa 1972, was reworked into the story of a professor determined to prove Jane, a frail young woman, is suffering from mental illness instead of possession and to cure all occurrences of the supernatural.
Great premise. Great actors, including a maniacal, riveting performance by Jared Harris as Professor Joseph Coupland, the ring leader of the whole gig. Only problem was the story itself meandered through some salacious affairs and plodding scenes with Jane played by Bates Motel‘s Olivia Cooke and the naive cameraman Brian played by The Hunger Games‘ Sam Claflin. I really wanted to like this film too because I love me a Hammer film and I’m glad the studio is being revived. There were some good jump scares that kept popping up until they started to become predictable, and some of the effects were good, but as a whole, it really put me off as I was expecting more scares, more plot and, well, just more. If you read about the real story of the Canadian parapsychologists (which would have made a much better movie), this film is nowhere near the original experiments. And if you miss the opening credits, you miss a good chunk of the story. The Quiet Ones should just stay mum since this big budget stinker gets a mere “meh” from me.
Nurse 3-D (2013, 1 hr, 24 mins)
This rambling film brings us a very enticing nurse Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta), who is bent on bloody, gory revenge on men who cheat. She also wants to control young nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden), who she is mentoring/obsessing over and who also becomes a threat when she finds out what Abby is up to. These two tasks collide in a crazy, murderous plot filled with camp, blood and lots of Abby sashaying around town in some really hot outfits or in the nude.
I loved that Paz de la Huerta played the psychotic Abby. She is a unique actor with interesting range, and was cast really well in this film. Not to mention the fact that a lot straight men out there would keel over watching her in various states of undress. I just got tired of her sleepy Betty Boop voice. The rest of the cast was really interesting too, with Kathleen Turner in a cameo alongside B-movie king Judd Nelson, Boris Kodjoe, the always fun Niecy Nash and Michael Ekland whom I love. The problem was the script which missed the mark trying to meld a pulp fiction/drive-in/campy slasher type storyline. As a result, the film became too convoluted to gain any momentum and to keep a proper pace. And that sucks, because I think Nurse 3-D had real potential as a sexy slasher flick. To sum this stinker up, if you are a straight dude with a penchant for Playboy, this movie is definitely a work of art. If you are a gal like me, who is pretty tolerant of weird stuff on film, this gets a resounding P.U.! And there is a rumor that a sequel is in the works. Guess the defibrillator is going to get a workout if it becomes a franchise!
You can breathe easy now, because my list is short and sweet. I want to believe that at some point, these films will become a late night favourite, or part of some film festival honouring movies that are so bad that they are good (ugh!). At any rate, someone somewhere is going to love one of the above stinkers, and I think that’s o.k because nobody’s perfect. To each his own, but I got me some standards. If you have seen some recent time wasters, please let me know. I may check them out when I feel like punishing myself! Until next time dear reader, until next time…