Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fright Flick

There are times when I watch a movie knowing that it will be bad, with the hope that it will be entertaining in some way, shape or form.  Sometimes I refer to these as Lefty Gold movies, and sometimes they are films from the Hobbit Hole.  Sometimes, though, they are just terrible.  I wasn't expecting much from Fright Flick; it appeared to be a tongue-in-cheek slasher movie, which isn't a bad idea for a slasher pic.  Really, the low expectations just increased the likelihood of me being pleasantly surprised.  All I knew about the film for sure was that the director had made Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives.  Needless to say, that sets the bar of excellence for Fright Flick extremely low.  But is it low enough?

Before I get into the synopsis, I want to offer an explanation.  This Spring, my friend Judas Pato at No Bulljive requested that I provide links to the actors and actresses that I mention in my reviews.  Since then, I have gone out of my way to link the actor names up to their IMDb pages.  No applause, please; save it for the real heroes.  I just wanted to explain why I am not going to do this for anyone in Fright Flick.  This is the least remarkable cast I have ever seen in a movie.  They're not just terrible, they're all amateurs.  No one has been in anything remotely noteworthy or recognizable (unless you saw Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives).  The highest-profile movie any of them had in their "known for" summary on IMDb was I am Legend, as a production gopher.  Trust me, you aren't going to want to spend any time researching this cast, just as I don't want to bother with checking the spelling of their names.  Oh, and I have another disclaimer: the character/actor names used in this review may (possibly) or may not be (far more likely) their actual names.

The movie begins with a promising scene.  A young blonde woman with obviously fake breasts and waaaay too much eye makeup on is showering.  While some people shower to get clean, this young lady, named Breasties McMillan (probably), opts to massage out a cramp in her gravity-defying boobies.  I'm not necessarily a fan of porno-quality actresses, but it's hard to argue with a shower massage; you don't want those mammary muscles to cramp up.  Her shower is interrupted by her douchebag boyfriend, Dude Doucherton; they briefly discuss the funeral for Breasties' mom that they just attended, and conclude that sex is the best remedy for grief.  If that sounds stupid to you, please believe that my summary is about a million times better than the actual dialogue.  Dude leaves the bathroom to await Breasties in the bedroom, and she continues to clean the hell out of her nipples.  Dude receives a nasty under-the-bed stabbing, a la the original Friday the 13th, only instead of cutting though his neck, this killer repeatedly perforates the groin area.
That seems like a plausible reaction
When Breasties gets out of the shower --- with absolutely dry hair and no makeup washed off or smeared --- she sees the body and screams.  She doesn't just scream, though.  When she screams, she squeezes her breasts together and lifts them up.  And she does this several times.
She's showering.  There's a shower curtain, if you need proof

That scene had me hooked.  It had obviously poor editing, with the makeup and the hair bit.  It had awful acting; I don't known where to begin with that.  And, most importantly, it was hilariously ridiculous.  The nude actress screaming and cupping her breasts is such a stupidly unnatural act that I found myself audibly snickering at this scene.  I wasn't sure if I would get anything out of this movie, but that first scene was worth the cost of admission (well, maybe not) for me.

Sadly, that is the peak of this movie.  The opening scene was from the film-within-an-alleged-film, also titled "Fright Flick."  Basically, "Fright Flick" is a D-level horror movie with a lot of stereotypical characters working behind the scenes. 
Get it?  It's funny because he's dumb/slutty/gay/cliche
When the day of work is over, Breasties gets murdered for real, and the plot jumps ahead a few years to the beginning of production on "Fright Flick 3."  Everyone has an axe to grind with someone else in the cast or crew.  The director steals the ideas of others and takes credit for them, so the writers owe him a stabbing.  The only recurring actress in the series wants the lead role, but keeps getting bumped by blondes with fake pointy boobs.
Meet Breasties' replacement, Nipples McTaataa
The production assistants just want a break, and everybody seems to have an ulterior motive.  Soon enough, people start disappearing on the set and everyone suspects everyone else when the bodies are discovered.  Who is the dastardly killer behind the scenes of Fright Flick?  Does it matter?  Will you care?
Right: guy who just watched Fright Flick.  Left: girl laughing at guy.

Those are all interesting questions (well, the last two are).  The answers are "no" and "no."  Where to start?  There actually isn't any area where Fright Flick is completely successful.  Let's just make a list:
  • The acting just plain sucks.  
  • The camerawork is on par with someone who just bought their first camcorder.  
  • The night scenes are horribly lit.
  • The story is stupid and convoluted.  
  • The writing is rarely interesting, funny, clever, or scary.  
  • All insights into Hollywood or filmmaking are inane, at best.
  • Most of the violence is off-screen.
Or maybe the kills are performed by shadow puppets

What did Fright Flick do right? 
  • It has nudity.   I don't normally consider that a necessity, but a movie this bad needs something to keep people watching.  
  • There is a (singular) pretty solid special effects shot.
  • ...and now you've seen it.
  • The scenes where we see the film-within-a-film being made feature the best dialogue and (bad) acting.
  • There are a totally respectable fifteen kills in the movie.
  • The surviving characters are not completely predictable.
  • It might have sucked, but at least it knew that.

It takes a lot for a movie to make me feel like my time has been wasted (have you seen some of the movies I've reviewed?!?), but Fright Flick was depressingly bad.  I understand that comedy is difficult to pull off, but I would rather see a mediocre horror movie with a couple of laughs than a shitty horror movie that fails repeatedly to be funny.  There needs to be a solid horror movie core for this premise to work.  Director and co-writer Israel Luna doesn't make that work, despite a few promising moments.  As incompetent as this movie is, the opening scene and Nipples McTaataa's "acting" scene combined to be worthy of a half star, and the movie never made me angry, so I'll give it another halfer.

Okay, I thought I was done, but I have to list some of the dumber things in this movie.
  • This is the third movie in a successful film franchise, and the crew shows up without having the lead role cast or getting the requisite permits to shoot in on location?  I call bullshit.
  • Overcomplicated kills are stupid.  For instance, the killer runs a guy down with a car.  The killer gets out, finds some barbed wire that happens to be lying around, ties it around the victim's neck and ties the other end to the car's bumper.  The killer then drives off, popping the head off the body.  That took a lot of time.  Now the car has to stop, untie the barbed wire, hide the body, find the head, and hide the head.  And probably wash the car, too.  You know what else works?  An axe to the face.  Amateur.
  • For the gas station kill, the killer a) predicted where the victim was going to get gas b) killed the gas station attendant before the intended victim arrives c) make the credit card swiper at the gas pump malfunction, causing the victim to approach the cash register d) apparently took a lunch, because the victim almost left without getting murdered.
  • When the killer is revealed, you realize that they could not have possibly had the physical ability to pull off most of the kills.
  • There is a difference between an homage and ripping something off.  Homages directly reference their influences and do it well.  Rip-offs suck and don't credit their source material.  This is not an homage.

No comments:

Post a Comment