Wes Craven’s return to filmmaking last year has mostly been panned by fans and critics. And so, based on what I had heard going into the film, I was fully prepared to be crapped on by one of the horror greats who has seemingly lost his touch. I guess the best thing to say about this movie is that we (horror fans) can hope this film was simply a rust turd with Scream 4 being a return to form. Let’s hope. Because as far as rust turds go this was an awful big one.
Where to start? A man possessed by an evil soul (aka a split personality) goes on a rampage that includes killing his wife and managing to resurrect himself no less than twice to kill police and ambulance folks on his way out. Eventually he causes an ambulance to crash and burn, but not before a nice lady explains that split personalities are just extra souls. She knows this info because she is from Haiti. How’s that for a stereotype? The killer’s nickname is the Riverton Ripper and minutes after he dies in the fiery ambulance explosion 7 babies are born at the same time in the local hospital. Cut to 16 years later.
The Riverton Seven (as they kids are referred to now) begin to get offed by someone with close knowledge to the original slayings. It’s implied that one of the kids is the killer. From here Craven uses his standard psychopath killer technique learned from the earlier Scream films. Everyone is a suspect, sometimes we think we know who did it, but most times that is just a red herring. Nothing interesting happens to the point where you wonder if Wes even cared. It appears he is going through the motions using recycled material (killer on the phone cracking wise) with less gusto than ever before. Having his name attached to this is a joke. Any Screen Gems-esque crap director could have just as easily made this film.
What’s mind-boggling as a fan is just how bad the dialogue in this film is. The kids spend a good majority of the time telling each other stuff they should already know, having something called “Fang Time” which has something to do with numbers, or explaining how they came to be in their current situation. Yes, thanks for telling me exactly how you scaled that wall, came in through the window, got stabbed, hid in the closet and definitely did not touch the knife. Almost like Craven was worried about having a single plot hole so he made each character give their itinerary before they could be finally killed off. Also, at one point the phrase, “If it’s gets too hot, just turn on the prayer conditioning” is said. Really? I thought I was watching Jennifer’s Body again (having just seen it for the first time a few days earlier).
The two things that the film does have going for it are 1. It’s an original horror movie and 2. The teens actually look like teens. No 40 year-olds with five o’clock shadows at 6am. Oh, and the condor scene in the classroom is pretty awesome. It’s not supposed to be the scariest scene, but, in fact, it’s easily the best scene in the film by a mile, which pretty much says everything ones needs to know about this film.
Snore Factor: ZZ