Sunday, October 11, 2015

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Most people know the Halloween series for one thing: Michael Myers, that lovable lunk-head who likes to go around and kill his family members on Halloween every year. I guess he’s a bit one dimensional, but hey, he had spirit to him. But if there’s an outlier to the series, most people would point to the 1982 sequel, Season of the Witch.

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin

Co-written with Michelle.

This was the only one not to feature Myers as the killer, as the studio wanted to turn this series into an anthology with different stories every year. But the movie bombed and people were unhappy with the lack of Myers, so they ended up scrapping that idea completely, like a bunch of pussies, and brought back Myers for a bunch of sequels almost no one liked.

But this isn’t TOO bad, is it? I mean, it’s got a pretty cool soundtrack. And it has plenty of children running around, happy that Halloween is right around the corner. Ahh, yes. I can feel the autumnal ambiance already…except in the opening scene, where we see a man being chased by a bunch of guys in suits, who are apparently trying to kill him for some reason. That’s not very nice of them.

The movie is about this doctor, Daniel Challis, who is doing normal doctor things like disappointing his family on Halloween by having to go back into work for an emergency, and grabbing nurses’ asses like a fucking creep. He’s the best guy ever. But the reason he was called in is to tend to the guy from the opening chase scene. He’s been brought in almost dead and clutching a pumpkin mask, and he uses his last dying breath to tell a doctor they’re all going to die. Makes sense to me. I’m gonna use my last words on Earth to say things that sound ominous like for a horror movie trailer, too!

"Nothing can save you now...was that good enough for a trailer quote?"
"Eh, sure."

Challis is also constantly surrounded by, well, the catchiest song in the universe.

Yes, this commercial jingle in the movie’s world is for Silver Shamrock, a company which makes a bunch of masks for kids - well, really only a bunch of copies of the same three masks for kids. Because, apparently, what little kids really want is to be mindless conformist drones all wearing the exact same fucking costumes. The song is played probably two or three dozen times in this movie. I’m tempted to say it’s actually the starring role here.

The plot is, I guess, that the guy who died was delivering something for that mask company and caught wind of what they were really doing, which is why they sent those Terminator-esque guys to silence him. One of them sneaks back in later and finishes the job:

But before he can be prosecuted, he does the typical criminal thing and lights himself on fire in his own car. God dammit. Another one slips through the cracks of the American justice system...

I can't tell you how many times this very specific incidence has prevented the justice system from being able to prosecute a killer. Damn, just damn.

The dead guy’s daughter, Ellie, played by Stacey Nelkin, shows up and is obviously distraught. This character shows a lot of realistic grief and gives the movie a somber tone. Nah, just kidding; she teams up with Challis instantly to go on a ludicrous adventure to solve her father’s murder. That’s a pretty unusual way to grieve. “Hey, random doctor who works at the hospital where my father died! Let’s go solve the murder!”

It's especially baffling when you remember that Challis is a doctor, and most doctors are not usually qualified to solve murders. A lot of the time, cops handle that instead. I guess the cops in this movie's world were just too busy doing other things, like playing pub trivia or looking for the next best deal on used furniture. So solving crimes just fell to the next rank down the pecking order, doctors, to take care of solving the murders.

Their investigation leads them to this small town where Silver Shamrock masks are made in a giant cliche looking evil factory. In the hotel at night, Challis initially offers to sleep on the floor or in his car, which is nice of him, being a gentleman. Then Ellie asks him where he wants to sleep, eyes wide like a deer in headlights (though I believe it’s supposed to be a flirtatious look), and Challis doesn’t miss a beat. He immediately goes “Where do you THINK I want to sleep?”

Clearly, he was just waiting for this. He is a big fan of ‘my father just died and we’re trying to solve his murder’ sex, you know - the popular fetish.

It's an aphrodisiac.

Most of the movie after this point is just the characters wandering around trying to spy on Silver Shamrock, which turns the movie into a bigger budget version of you and your friends playing James Bond as kids in the backyard. Seriously, how many scenes are there in this movie of Challis just running from place to place? What is the director’s fetish with that?

But I guess I can see why Silver Shamrock is scary. I mean, their malfunctioning equipment is still deadly enough to kill people with laser beams to the face!

Then a bug comes out of her face, but I'm pretty sure the bug was always in there, and the laser just let it out.

It turns out the mastermind behind all this is a man named Conal Cochran, who gets the prize for being the most affable mass murder aspirer ever. Seriously, he may be trying to kill children with evil masks, but listening to his deep, comforting voice, you almost want to believe that the batshit nonsense he is spewing makes sense.

He could convince you to eat your own pinkie toe, he's so charismatic.

They find out that for some reason, they can’t contact anyone outside the town! That’s no good. It’s implied heavily that Cochran is behind this because, who the fuck else would it be in this movie? So they go ahead and break into the Silver Shamrock factory. They almost immediately get into a fight with the army of robots inside. Yes, really. An army of robots. I know it sounds like I’m just doing mad libs at this point, but it’s true.

And then the army of (blank) kidnapped the hero, who works as a (blank) so he wouldn't stop the evil (blank) from doing (blank) to all the children of the world.

They catch both Challis and Ellie and tie them up. Meanwhile, all the kids in the country are buying the same three stupid masks from this company for Halloween, which Cochran reveals will kill them if they see the commercial while wearing them. Okay, for one, that’s pretty cool technology, which I am sure Apple or Google is already developing. And two, really? All the kids buy those masks? There was no one buying a Batman costume or a cowboy one? Everyone just wanted those three same masks? I gotta say - the movie is making an excellent critique of ‘be like everybody else’ mass marketing culture.

...or, maybe, it’s just dumb. Yeah. Maybe that.

"Alright, we got three masks! Hooray for variety!"

We also see what happens when the mask activates: it collapses your head and makes bugs come out. That’s pretty cool.

Eh, it was before the current safety standards were enacted. What can you do?

There’s also a scene where Cochran explains his plan to Challis - he’s going to kill all the children in the world with masks because he doesn’t like how commercialized Halloween has become, wanting to return it to its original Pagan roots. Well, hey, seems a bit extreme, but we all need a hobby.

They escape, killing the robots and for some reason leaving Cochran alive - seriously, it didn't show him dying. He could still be out there now!

Then later in the car, it’s revealed that Ellie herself is a robot now, and she tries to kill Challis in the car. I actually think it’s because she had a delayed reaction to him sleeping with her while they were trying to solve her father’s murder. She just realized, hey, this guy is a dickbag. But it’s okay, he kills her and leaves her on the side of the road. Wow. Once a douchebag, always a douchebag.

This screenshot sums up the whole movie for me, actually.

Then he tries to stop everyone from showing the commercial, making several frantic calls to TV stations. A couple of them, surprisingly, actually do it - I guess they always listen to insane doctors screaming on the phone and change their scheduled programming for them. But most do not, as the commercial is apparently on every single station. The movie ends with mask-wearing kids watching the commercial and Challis screaming as Armageddon comes. So overall, a happy ending.

"If you could see how wide I'm opening my mouth right now, you would definitely give me what I want!"

Halloween III is a silly movie. It's got a slow, trudging pace and a lot of silly moments. When you think about the plot, it makes no sense. Why were there robots working for Conal Cochran? How did they make those masks? The rest of the story, like the whole 'doctor and beautiful girl team up to solve murder and have sex' plot, is pretty hilariously dated. The movie is slow-paced almost to a fault.

...but, somehow, it still works!

Yeah. It's just got that corny, fun vibe about it. The soundtrack is great and the plot is ghoulishly fun. It could be a lot better, and some just won't be able to look beyond the flaws. But I thought it was a nice slice of October fun with a goofy plot like they just don't make anymore. If you want a fun horror flick to watch this Halloween, this wouldn't be a bad choice. And at least it's better than 90% of the actual Michael Myers Halloween movies...

Images copyright of their original owners, I own none of them.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cinema Freaks LIVE: The Visit (2015)

M. Night Shyamalan is something of a punchline now, and all of his movies have been reviled by everyone for years. He’s basically the equivalent of that guy in town no one likes and everyone has a story about him they laugh about over drinks - a clown not respected by anyone. It’s easy to get sucked into that, and rag on him - but he’s an easy target, so I don’t do it very much. However, The Visit is the worst shit I’ve ever seen from him. Tony and Michelle and I did a podcast about it. Check it out!

(Both the podcast and the review contain heavy SPOILERS, so if you actually want to see this for some reason, don't say we didn't warn you.)

This movie is an insane disaster, complete hot, wild garbage stinking up to the high heavens. It’s bad in every sense of the word. I could go on and on like this, but I don’t think it’s really a good form to do nothing but bitch about how bad it is with no actual criticism. Cough...yeah...I'd NEVER do that...

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould

Co-written with Michelle and Tony.

The problem is...I just don’t know where to start. Pretty much everything about this is either unpleasant, grating or poorly done. I mean, what was the plot behind this? Shyamalan got drunk off some fruity cocktail drinks and then said, "I have a new movie idea: old people are bad!" And then, for some inexplicable reason, a studio gave him money to make the movie.

To make matters worse, it's produced by the people who gave us Paranormal Activity, Sinister, The Purge, Ouija and more. Which is like two Japanese Kaiju monsters combining in a horrible lab accident and forming some sort of super monster to destroy Tokyo. M. Night Shyamalan teaming up with the people who gave us Ouija and the Insidious sequels - I think superhero movies typically feature less evil villain team-ups.

The premise is that these two kids are going to visit their grandmother and grandfather in a small town, who they’ve never met because their mother hasn’t spoken to them since she was 19 years old. Also, their father is out of the picture after a divorce. Hooray, dysfunctional families!

"Bye, kids! I'm glad you're leaving so I can get wasted and have tons of irresponsible sex!"

So, okay, not TOO bad so far. I mean, it is a story at least, even if it’s a flimsy one. Until we get to the fact that it’s a found footage movie, anyway. As I’ve said before, the genre can be done well. However, here it’s a couple of annoying white kids exchanging witty quips and blathering about how they think movies should be directed. I guess it’s kind of realistic, but both of them are so obnoxious to watch that I find it hard to be invested in at all.

Unless the movie wants you to be his ear, nose and throat doctor, this shot is pointless!

It's a shame because the young actors are pretty good and I hope they do more stuff as they get older, but here, they were victims of the Shyamalan Curse, which renders any actor awful.

There’s one scene where the girl is pointing the camera at a swing and saying they need to let it swing naturally. This is important because it shows that Shyamalan’s own directing skills are the same as that of a 15-year-old amateur.

Also, the little brother is constantly rapping, and it’s awful. I know he’s just a kid, and it’s mean to discourage kids from their hobbies and passions, but whoever made that rule up never heard this kid rap. I mean, holy fuck. What was the writing process like for that? I'm guessing Shyamalan decided that him walking into the middle of the scene himself and saying in a loud voice amplified above the rest of the movie, "I hate you, audience, and I want you to die," over and over, would have been a bit much. So the rapping was the next worst alternative.

The kids have a 9:30 bedtime, because after that specific time every night, the grandma gets naked, claws the walls with her fingernails and walks around with a knife. These obvious signs of mental illness probably would have been mentioned to the kids before they got there in real life, but it makes for good gross-out gimmicky shock scenes, so that's more important than storytelling!

How do they time it at exactly 9:30 anyway? What if grandma decided to strip down and grab her favorite kitchen knife at 9 p.m. when they’re down in the living room watching Nickelodeon? Weird.

There’s a part in the beginning where the brother’s phone doesn’t work, which I guess is the excuse for why the characters can never call the police. But we see that Skype works just fine, and they use the Internet later to look up stuff. Shyamalan could have easily just written out the part where the phone didn't work, but I think he was deliberately doing this just to piss everyone off. He had a plot that made sense, then he decided to make it confusing and bad for no reason, like he was protesting imaginary ghosts in his head who wanted to challenge his creative process. He is a special snowflake, after all, and the laws of reality don't apply to him.

More weird stuff starts happening, which they try to tell their mom, but she shrugs it off and says they’re old. Yeah! That’s it. They’re old. You’re the best mom ever. Old people are always stripping naked and carrying knives around! You kids have got to learn the hard and brutal facts of life sometime or other.

He could be suicidal and need real help, but nahhh, just senile!

There’s a bunch of filler scenes of them running around with the camera and filming shit, and it’s about as boring as it sounds. There’s no real development of the story. The camera stuff is so badly ingrained into the story, it’s practically a square peg into a round hole. I mean fuck. Most of the time it’s just the kids filming their grandparents making breakfast, or them driving. We don't get scenes of the two kids in the bathroom, but that's probably because Shyamalan's lawyers intervened before he could do that.

I don’t know if there’s even a point in saying so, but kids don’t use a camera like this. Nobody does, unless you’re directing a real, budgeted, scripted movie. No sentient human being does this. And it's also too clean looking for what's apparently just a reel of everything they filmed in the movie's world. Real life, there’d be way more errors, breaks in the video, et cetera. I just don't get what this was even supposed to be in the movie's universe - just a collection of footage from her camera, or a finished project? If it's the latter, hoo boy, I hope she's ready to submit it to Sundance! It'll be a gem.

But hey. Shyamalan knows it’s dumb. While they’re setting up a secret camera to spy on grandma and the sister wonders if it’s ethical to do that for a documentary, the little brother quips about how there’s no cinematic standards anymore. Which I think is obvious based on this movie.


There are multiple scenes of the grandparents telling insane stories about seeing ghosts and monsters in the lake. It goes nowhere every time, and while I don’t think the movie would’ve been better with some supernatural elements, it would have been better if our time wasn’t wasted listening to these asinine stories from a bunch of senile old people.

The twist at the end is that the two old people are NOT actually the real grandparents. After like, five fucking days, the mother finally notices that they’re staying with the wrong old fucks. The movie has shown them several times speaking with the mother via Skype, and somehow that was never noticed. The mother, by the way, has been at a beach resort having fun and partying all movie long, and she didn’t even bother to make sure her kids got to the right grandparents. Parenting: it’s easy so long as you have no brain! Are you even really divorced, or did you forget to tell him when you moved?

Oh, and I guess the two old people are escaped mental patients. Who, I guess, nobody noticed were missing from the asylum they were being held at! That's just great. Keep up the awesome security at that mental facility there, jackasses. After all, who cares if a couple of serial killers escape? Fuck it, not even worth sending out cops to look for 'em.

"But if someone's got some weed, we'll gladly arrest them!"

Also, due to convenient writing, the two old fucks were able to keep it together okay until they were found out to be impostors, at which point they went crazy and started acting like the murderous psychotics they are. Writing is easy when you don't want to try! Anyone can do it.


The climax involves a game of Yahtzee in which the grandma wolfs down a bunch of cookies and then screams right into the camera, crumbs dropping from her gaping maw of a mouth. Yahtzee issued a public apology saying they were sorry they ever invented the game after seeing this, and if they knew it would have been in this movie when they first made it, they would’ve aborted the game creation and set their building on fire.

Irreparably damaged now. Shame...

Then we get a bunch of scenes of shaky-cam fumbling in the dark as the kids discover the bodies of their real grandparents in the basement. Oh, and there’s a scene where the grandpa shoves a shit-stained diaper into the brother’s face. Thanks for that one, Shyamalan. I'm sorry I don't have a joke for that. I was...completely unprepared for movie scenes about diapers thrown in little kids' faces. Next movie I see it in, I promise I'll have something.

The fact that these fight scenes made it into the project is dizzyingly stupid, when you consider the fact that, in the movie’s universe, this whole thing was supposed to be edited together by the sister as a documentary project about her family. What made THAT worth putting in? What kind of documentary is this?

At the actual end, they get rescued and then the daughter and her mom have a heartwarming ending where we find out the BIG REASON she and the grandparents had a falling out years ago. It’s been hinted at all movie long and now we’re finally getting the answer. So. What is it? Take a seat here, this is going to be intense and I want to make sure you all can handle this huge revelation.

Are you ready? Okay: Apparently, when the mom was 19, she yelled at the grandparents and they pushed each other around a little. Wow. That’s why they never talked again? That’s why this whole mess happened? I'd say that's underwhelming, but that's like saying most school shooters just need to have a cookie and a beer and they'll be fine. It's not an accurate statement.

There’s also this really tacked-on moral about forgiveness and family and stuff. Really, was THAT what I was supposed to take from the shit-diaper-in-face scene, or all of the scenes of the grandparents telling conspiracy UFO ghost stories? Wow. That went totally over my head! Shyamalan is clearly much smarter than we thought. I guess this was a good movie after all.

The end credits are played over a scene of the brother rapping again. This time it’s full of product placements, because I guess Shyamalan needed to whore himself out to pay for this shit heap of a movie and also, for all the diapers he needed as props. I mean, there were a lot of those!

M. Night Shyamalan, now sponsored by adult diapers.

This is practically the dictionary definition of a bad movie, and I think Shyamalan did it on purpose. There's a nauseating level of self-aware 'bad on purpose' pandering about this. I think he made this just to fuck with Hollywood and the viewers/critics who hated his other movies, because the whole thing is pretty much the movie critics who hate him THOUGHT his other movies were. Hell, he's literally smearing shit in our faces. This movie is pretty much like a bratty child frustrated that no one gets his "brilliant" ideas, so he's passive-aggressively lashing out. My mother, upon seeing the trailer for this some months back, said it looked "exhausting" to watch, and frankly, that's the best summary I can think of.

This really is up there for worst movie of the decade. It's just so, so bad; everything about it is. Nothing makes sense. Fuck, I need to go lie down.

Images copyright of their original owners; we own none of them.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Splice (2009)

Science is pretty great, and has given us innumerable achievements. Plenty of great things were accomplished with science in the past and there are still new things happening every day. But in Splice, the only thing science is good for is, apparently, working out your dead mommy issues or just making your own horrific alien mutant to fuck in a shed somewhere. Both of those things really happen in the movie. I'd say sorry for the spoilers, but I think we deserve an apology for the movie as a whole.

Director: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley

Co-written with Colin and Michelle.

This is a rotten film with almost nothing good about it. I can't really think of a better way to describe this other than just diving right in, so hey, let's do that.

The movie begins with a couple of scientists, Clive and Elsa, played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley. They are trying to create some sort of artificial life by combining a bunch of animals together, or some shit like that. I don't even know – it's barely even glossed over, what they're actually trying to do. I guess they just wanted to see two weird looking, vaguely penis-shaped worms do photosynthesis together or something:

"All my life, I have waited to see this."

I guess they're working for this big business suit guy, who tells them their experiments have been canceled by the company they work for because they don't want them to keep doing their weird ass experiments. What? Why not? Why can't we make an abomination that could potentially be the worst thing ever thought up by mankind???

But that doesn't stop them from doing it anyway and hiding their experiment away in some basement in the building. At home, they talk about moving in together and maybe having a child, which Elsa doesn't want to do. Okay, now it makes sense – creating a horrific scientific mutation is okay, but moving in together? Woah there, bucko, don’t get any crazy ideas!

"Before you touch my boobs, we have to create at least 50% of a completely amoral scientific abomination that most would call the living embodiment of Satan. I have spoken!"

But it's okay. After all, we can see their progress. Look, they made a gross thing in a tank that almost eats Elsa's arm! That's cool, right?

"Nope, still don't regret this!"
So, they made a living punching bag?

Eventually though, they make a baby that I'm sure the characters in Eraserhead would be happy to see, as it makes the baby in that movie look adorable by comparison. There are a fuckload of scenes in this film of these two taking care of their pet monster, and early on it’s mostly just the creature destroying things and vomiting.

Hooray for that!

We see her start to grow up and become an even uglier being, which they name Dren. There are a bunch of scenes of them playing with her in the lab, which would be touching if she didn't look like a human ass with eyes and a mouth.

Somehow, the fact that they put it in a dress makes it worse...

At one point, Dren gets sick and they try to bathe her in cold water. Clive gets the idea to push her head completely underwater, presumably trying to end the horror he brought into the world. However, that's the exact point she evolves to grow gills and is able to survive, miraculously coming out okay! Elsa congratulates Clive for his brilliant idea, and he grins weakly while thinking inside that he should have just shot Dren in the head.

"Uh, yeah, of COURSE I was trying to save her, and definitely not trying to kill her... heh heh heh...."

There is a scene where they present their two weird looking worm things in front of a live audience. But what they didn’t know is that one of them changed gender into a male! Now that both of the weird worm things are male, they stab the fuck out of each other with needle-like appendages and then knock the cage over, showering the audience in mutated worm blood. I guess that was exactly what Clive and Elsa were going for, so good job, guys!

The day will live on in infamy as the day Walgreens heavily reconsidered who it let do their pharmaceutical experiments for them.

Also, how did they not notice the thing changed genders? They must be bad scientists.

I guess they were busy, though, as they have kept raising Dren as their own child. They even move her into the creepy old abandoned farm barn that Elsa’s family used to own. There are some scenes that could have been affecting here, as the two become even more like parents raising a child. But it’s too little, too late - we’re almost halfway through the movie at this point, and we don’t know anything more about these characters or their relationship than we did at the beginning.

What DO we have, then? Scenes of Dren eating rabbits in the woods?

...okay. I guess if that’s what you want to show, go right the fuck ahead. Who am I to stop you?

This is really where the movie falls apart. There’s sort of a subplot about how Elsa was mistreated as a child, and is now taking out her inner anger on Dren. But the movie never details or explains what happened to Elsa, and it never resolves whatever she was trying to work out. Like, there’s one scene where Dren found a cat outside and Elsa takes it away, fearing Dren will kill it. Before leaving, she says “that’s part of growing up, you can’t always get what you want.”

What am I supposed to gain from that? Clearly she’s treating Dren like her mother treated her, in some fashion. But it’s never elaborated on. There’s no exploration of her character. The movie clearly wants us to glean something, some kind of point about who she is as a person, but it doesn’t bother to actually do any work on finishing that plot. It's like if you were reading a book, and then halfway through, the author stops midsentence and leaves the last 200 pages totally blank. It doesn't help anyone.

What do we get instead? Dancing scenes!


In another horribly written plot, now Clive is actually sympathetic towards Dren, even though before he was obviously repulsed at what they’d done and how Elsa was acting. But now, he seems cool with her. Probably because she now looks like a fucking exotic supermodel or something. What can I say? Sometimes ugly children grow up into beautiful adults I guess!

He also finds out that Elsa put her own DNA into Dren. Oh wow, will this be expanded on at all? No. No it will not. This is the last we hear about it, actually.

The next day, Elsa goes to see Dren and Dren attacks her and tries to escape, wanting to go outside. Elsa subdues her and then does the sensible thing - straps her to a table and cuts off her tail, all the while talking like a scientist into a recorder with a smug look on her face. I like all of my scientists to do cruel things to their test subjects just to get out their own insecurities! So this scene is cool with me.

Ahh yes, now I see that they are catering to the market for people who like scenes that you're not sure you even want to watch, but can't quite turn away from.

There was… absolutely no build-up to this insane torture scene, and it isn’t talked about in depth by any of the characters later, which is becoming a running theme in this film. After all, so what if every single thing we do in the plot has no consequence? Fuck it, right?

In an apparent contest to see who can be the biggest douchebag in the film, Clive then comes into the barn, un-shackles Dren and then the two begin having steamy human-on-scientific-mutation sex... no, I'm not trying to make a joke, and yes, it does really happen in the movie.

He helped create her in a lab, but acts like her father, and she has DNA from Elsa, who is his girlfriend, so I don’t even know what angle to call this ridiculous from!

Adrien Brody like you've never seen him before!

I’d just like to point out that Adrien Brody won an Oscar in a movie about the Holocaust. I guess he really just wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. But uh-oh, Elsa comes in and sees him right as he’s fucking Dren! That’s super-awkward!

"Nope, it's not cold out here guys, this is totally realistic!" He would be saying that, but you can't hear him over the sound of his chattering teeth and freezing bones crackling.

They both go back to their apartment and cry about how they both fucked up raising a genetic experiment gone wrong. Oh, boo hoo, you fucking drama queens. Everything that happened is your own fault, and clearly, given what we've seen, it's good that all you did was create a creature in a lab instead of, y'know, actually having a goddamned child. You clearly wouldn't be any good at that, so this was a useful test run of sorts.

"Shush, I'm still trying to think of a way I can justify this and blame you instead!"

I also love the part of this scene where Clive actually manages to turn the argument around on Elsa and make it seem like it’s her fault the whole thing is happening. I slept with a weird alien monstrosity in your family’s barn? Fuck that! IT’S YOUR FAULT! What guy hasn't had to use this kind of mental manipulation on a loved one after sleeping with a genetically engineered monster?

The movie loses all sense of where it’s going, though, and instead of any kind of character development, it just gives us goofy action scenes. They rush back to the farm, where Dren has died, so they go and bury her in the yard.

"Well, I think we both agree that this has been a most unorthodox time in our lives."
"Yup. Oh well, you want to go get Chinese food?"

Conveniently at the same time, the businessman guy shows up, demanding in a loud voice to see Dren. They’ve conveniently just finished burying her when he shows up, for an extra dose of hack writing. But I guess they didn’t check that well to make sure Dren was dead, as she comes back to life and kills that businessman guy. Whoops!

You know, the old "thought my child was dead" mistake. It happens!

Oh, and Dren is actually a male now, having changed like the two worm monsters did earlier. With his newfound male-ness, he does the worst thing possible and rapes Elsa in the woods.

Then he kills Clive. Boy, I wonder what Clive’s last thoughts were. I bet they were a real gem. “At least I died looking at the last thing I fucked”? “Boy, I sure am glad we created this thing in a lab now, because this is exactly what I wanted to accomplish with this experiment”? I guess we’ll never really know.

Man. Dren raped her mother and killed her father. It’s Shakespearean, if Shakespeare had ever written a play about a genetically engineered accident created in a lab... which I totally think he should have! There’s my contribution to the Shakeapearean criticism conversation!


In one final scene, we see that Elsa is pregnant now, presumably with Dren’s child.

Great! Now they can have genetically engineered mutant sequels. Just what nobody in the world ever wanted.

This movie is steaming manure. The premise could work, in a vintage Cronenberg kind of way, but they don't really do anything with it. They try to tell this whole story of these characters creating a surrogate child and then failing to raise it because of their own insecurities and flaws, but there's no exploration of either of their characters, even when the film looks like it's about to start giving you some. Like the hints at Elsa's backstory with her mother abusing her; where the fuck did that go? You can't just hint at that and then never develop it! Are you crazy? That's not being subtle or smart, that's just being lazy, as well as obnoxiously and willfully obtuse.

As the film goes on, the characters just become more and more unlikable as they make dumb decision after dumb decision. The movie is more interested in showing gratuitous gimmick scenes than actually telling a good story, and so the characters come off as obnoxiously moronic rather than realistic, and it is impossible to really get invested in them. There's no exploration of why Elsa suddenly starts torturing Dren, or why Clive has sex with her - it's all just random scenes thrown in there haphazardly with almost no context, and there is no bigger story to distract you from that. This is all you get, and it's no good.

There’s a really forced commentary on the state of science, too, delivered with all the subtlety of an atomic bomb blast. Like, yeah, THIS movie will make us all reconsider our ideas about where science is going! It warns us that if we don't check ourselves, random white people will create a monster and then have sex with it. Uh, astute observation?

The acting is fine, especially from Sarah Polley and Delphine ChanĂ©ac as Dren, but it can’t save the bad characters, idiotic story and lame writing. Characters make dumb choices for no reason other than to further the plot, plot lines are dropped unceremoniously with zero resolution... I'm starting to think the movie itself was created in a botched freak lab accident. Basically, it fucking sucks.

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