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Gerade mal wieder die Absage eines Major-Studios hat sich Drehbuchautor Jeff aus Hollywood eingehandelt, als ihm der wenig vertrauenerweckende Filmproduzent George ein gut dotiertes Independent-Projekt offeriert. Vor ziemlich genau 35 Jahren schlachtete ein dumpfer Jüngling Vater, Mutter und schwangere Verlobte ab. Nun soll Jeff den wahren Fall cineastisch rekapitulieren und zum Zwecke des besseren Verständnis am besten in des Unholds Rolle schlüpfen. Letzteres klappt besser, als es Jeffs Familie gut tut.
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The film is one of those that manages to suck you in and hold your interest as you wait for it to go somewhere, and when it does, ho-hum. Acting fair, but the script needed something other than a guy picking up an axe wrong and mom jerking around with a toaster in the dishwater.
Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity. Woman smearing blood on herself in a passionate manner.
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I couldn't resist this one. Yes, it's an Asylum picture, and Asylum have always been awful (even before they started making SyFy Channel Original silliness pitting one huge mythical sea creature against another, which has been their bread and butter for the last few years), but dude, it's Adam Baldwin and Udo Kier. In an Asylum Pictures release. WHAT. Okay, so that demands some looking into, methinks.
Baldwin plays Jeff Stenn, a screenwriter whose career is on the downslide after an incident about which we never find out about much (though Stenn says, in a heated phone conversation, it had something to do with his unwillingness to bend the truth). Just when things are looking their worst, Stenn gets a call from George (Kier), a producer from a small company called Trufilms, who want to do a more commercial project than the art-house films they've done during their first years of existence. They're looking at adapting the story of a director, Gramm (Intermedio's Eric Caselton), who went crazy and killed his entire family, then committed suicide, after coming to believe that the script he was writing for a movie he was working on was actually coming true. Stenn needs the money, and thus takes the job...and soon finds the same thing happening to him. But they still need the money, so he packs up his wife Tree (Blurred Vision's Jennifer Gates in her feature debut) and moves to the house where it all happened to get rid of his writer's block. Despite having a very, very good reason for keeping it in place.
Yes, there are many things about this movie that don't measure up, and yes, I may be being a little less hard on it than I otherwise would since I can't help but compare it to the other mess I saw this weekend (Bane, q.v.), but it wasn't all that bad. Especially not for an Asylum joint. Atkins (Dragonquest), who also did the cinematography, isn't entirely incompetent, though there are parts of this movie that could certainly have been shot better, and screenwriter Naomi Selfman (#1 Cheerleader Camp) manages to make it almost all the way through without messing up; she blows the ending, yes, but it's not nearly as off the cliff as the ending of Bane. Baldwin and Kier are good actors most of the time, and they turn in performances good enough here to at least keep your attention, while some of the minor cast is decent and some are bad, but obviously there for comic effect (Stenn's former agent Bob is an obvious example). Short answer: go into it thinking about the average quality of Asylum pictures, rather than the average quality of all horror flicks, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. ** ½
For example, he predicts an earthquake. Instead of witnessing the after effects of an earthquake, the ground shakes for a couple seconds before the screenwriter and his wife contemplate what just occurred. A woman is predicted to be decapitated in her car after an accident. It happens but... in a really cheesy murder/mystery kind of way. A major disappointment. The seen with a hunk of flying wood from a baseball bat going through a catchers neck is the only moment that caught my attention even though we knew it was coming a mile away. I think you'd be better off not seeing this movie.
However, while this movie had the power to be fun and scary, like Stephen King's Dark Half, I had a few problems with the film.
One: The editing style on the film is choppy, and the story jerks around quite a bit. Several times you're left wondering if what you saw actually transpired or if it only occurred within the realm of the story.
Two: Even after one of his best friends is killed in a manner parallels a story he just wrote, the writer continues to picture friends in the scenes, or to write scenes about people he knows. This doesn't seem very logical to me.
Over all this is one of the better films to be produced by Asylum lately, and it shows their growth as a movie house.