I spent the majority of last week buried under a pile of phlegmy tissues. Which means lots of Netflix.
In case you a) cancelled your Netflix when they DOUBLED THEIR RATES (I’m still not over it) or b) have better things to do than watch internet movies, I should inform you that it has really gone down tubes as of late. If you’re in the mood for a feature-length rather than a TV show, you’re pretty much limited to the straight-to-internet crowd. And for some reason I seem drawn to the horror films at the moment. Maybe it’s the explosive-congested-head feeling?
I started out with The Caller, which I’m surprised to say was really not bad. Rachel Lefevre carries the film as a spunky and cynical young woman on the run from an abusive ex, who starts chatting with an old lady who seems to have the wrong number. They soon realize that the woman is calling from the past (and from the same house; why she would be calling her OWN number, at any point in time, I couldn’t tell you), and the old woman’s conversation devolves into sinister psychopath territory early on. They have great chemistry and their scenes are full of tension. I was sufficiently creeped out.
Of course, I fast-forwarded through literally every other scene (stopping briefly to hear Stephen Moyer wax philosophical about how “time is like a river.” ugh), so I don’t know that I can whole-heartedly recommend it, but overall I quite enjoyed it.
With that fun throwaway flick in mind, I zeroed in on Nine Dead. The synopsis intrigued me: nine individuals locked in a room, told that they will be killed one at a time, every 10 minutes, until they discover the mutual link that brought them here. Oooh, mystery time!
Sadly, Nine Dead looked like it was made by and for a high school film class. The cinematography was a joke, acting was terrible (that mob guy was really just a poor man’s Santino), and every reveal was just…. boring. And lame. And poorly acted (Melissa Joan Hart, I’m looking at you with that baseball bat). And some of them just didn’t make any sense – one guy literally HAD NO IDEA what he had done, because he was tricked into it! They were clearly trying to rip-off Saw, which is about the lowest height one could possibly aspire to. Shame on you, Sabrina!
The Shrine was an incremental step up from Nine Dead, by which I mean that it was just awful, and not QUITE the worst thing I’d ever seen. Just full of awkward, stilted dialogue – when there is any. I honestly think the movie is silent (and/or untranslated) so often not to promote a sense of silent terror, but because the writers literally couldn’t think of anything for the characters to say.
I did enjoy the slight twist at the end concerning the bad guys’ motivation, but that was probably the only redeemable part of the movie. Even the gore was too ridiculous and over-the-top, and I say that as an avowed Jason/Freddie lover. It looked like a cheap Halloween fun house with peeled grapes for eyeballs.
So bored was I that, when fast-forwarding proved tedious, I switched over to wikipedia to learn more about the Ashmore twins. Cliff’s notes version: Shawn is Bobby (X-Men) and Tyler (In a Heartbeat – anyone else remember that show?!), and he played in that Earthsea adaptation on SciFi. He was also in The Ruins, which was another terrible horror movie, but redeemed somewhat by the amazing gruesomeness. I want to say there was an amputation scene in there that got me a little queasy.
Aaron was that cute jerk on Veronica Mars and Jimmy Olsen on Smallville. And of course, he won the coveted role in The Shrine.
Don’t you feel like they should pull some Tia and Tamera business? Like if Shawn is the more talented twin, couldn’t he do an audition as Aaron and get his bro some love?
Looking back on that list, I’m going to amend my earlier assessment and declare that The Caller is FANTASTIC. Relatively speaking. So if you’re looking for an Instant Watch horror flick (and you have the remote handy, for regular fast-forwarding), that might be your best bet.