Carnival Horror (The Funhouse, 1981)

funhouse_posterThe titles start out quite promising with a montage of rather creepy animatronic puppets.  The film then starts out as if Tobe was making a Halloween meets Psycho ripoff.  We see the killers point of view as an attractive girl takes a shower.  The killer even selects a clown mask (Ala young Michael Myers).  It’s clear the killer seems to live in the house with the girl…we get a point of view shot from behind the mask (again!  Like in Halloween).  There is a struggle and then the girl, Amy,  discovers her attacker is her little brother playing a practical joke.  Am I just really abnormal in finding this bizarre?  Am I really the only one?  It seems not uncommon in movies that you have brothers playing jokes that require them to ogle their sister.  I know I’ve seen it in other films…are screenwriters all only children?

The girl tells her brother she is not taking him to the carnival that weekend.  She then tells her father she is going out with her boyfriend Buzz, and her father tells her not to go to the carnival, as it the same carnival where two girls were found dead the prior year.  She promises not to go, but we all know this is a lie…as we do not have a movie without it..  Her boyfriend and their two friends go to the carnival.

The carnival Funhouse features one of the most uninspired carnival barkers ever (Kevin Conway).  He delivers everything in a low gravelly tone.  But the four friends go inside.  Meanwhile?  Amy’s little brother sneaks out and makes his way to the carnival.  The four hide behind the tents to smoke a joint, because, they need to work towards complete the “Horror Movie Sin List.”  Then they visit the fortune teller, whom they offend with their pot induced snickering.  Damn drugs.

The kids get the wild idea to stay overnight in the Funhouse.  At the Carnival where two dead girls were found the year before.  So, the kids call their parents to say they are staying at each others homes overnight.  They get on the funhouse ride and slip off once inside.  Damn drugs.

Then we get some long and drawn out shots of people leaving the carnival.  Amy’s Brother stays behind as while.  He’s frightened away as the animatronic dummy at the entrance seems to recognize that he is standing there.  Meanwhile, the teens are adding to the Sin List in the funhouse by making out and feeling each other up.  Damn teenagers.

They discover that they are above a room, so they watch what plays out…they discover that the fortune teller is a part time sex worker.  I am not exaggerating here, she takes money from men to perform sexual acts.  She is pretty lousy about it, because she is mean and rude to her john.  Unless that is his thing.  It might be, as her john cannot speak and wears a Frankenstein mask.  He’s unsatisfied with her performance and kills her.  Then he hides the body.

Our drug addled sex fiends, er, the kids decide it is time to get out and go home.  Not a bad idea, in theory.  But it turns it to not be so simple.  The exit is chained shut.  They are trying to figure out a new way to get free, only to witness the john (who is the carnival geek) being abused by his father…it turns out that the geek is a rather deformed mutant.  So, things are getting worse.

Then the killing starts.  I mean, after the first killing.  Turns out the geek is pretty sneaky, tricking the kids and separating them.

The film makes a good use of color, lighting and sound, the funhouse itself feels old and dilapidated, and is really more fearsome than the monster in that it feels like a rundown deathtrap.  Hooper doesn’t have a lot of victims to work with, so it is not some unrelenting spree of death, and he focuses as much on atmosphere and trying to build a real sense of dread.  It’s not successful, however as scenes are drawn out a bit to long to the point the final confront has you starting to get bored and want it to be over already.

The film is full of strangeness.  For example, there is the old woman who tells the girls that God is watching them.  And then there is Amy’s brother walking along the road and some guy pulls up and offers him a ride-then pulls out his shotgun…as the kid runs away? He laughs like a horror film mad scientist.  No reason given for that either.  And he never shows up again.  Damn drugs.

Unlike Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is unrelenting towards the end and has you wanting the end to come as a release, here the end just needs to come period.  It hurts to say this, as I do like much of what the film has to offer.  It’s the drawn out ending that kills it for me.

lazarus-effectIf there is one story line that horror authors love to tell it is the one about the dangers of Scientific Hubris.  Part of this is that the stories pretty much write themselves.

In the case of the Lazarus Effect, the scientists in question are trying to conquer death.  After they succeed in resurrecting a dog, they lose their research to Big Pharma.  So they break in to attempt to recreate the success and one of the scientists (Olivia Wilde) is accidentally killed.  We can all see where this is going.

Upon being returned to life, her behavior becomes creepier and creepier and then progressively more violent.  The turn is quite quick, it happens overnight.

The film is visually interesting, but the philosophical questions are treated in a way that feels pretty pedestrian.  There is the scientist who has remnants of her religious upbringing causing her to wonder if what they are doing is very wrong (Wilde) and the scientist who thinks there is no spiritual afterlife, so only sees the potential (Mark Duplass).

The film never really asks big questions, and it never really addresses what it is that Zoe (Wilde) has become, or what her goal or purpose is, other than to be mean and cause mayhem.  The Lazarus Effect is an interesting idea that seems lazily executed.

tremors-5The Director of next year’s Kindergarten Cop 2 (Starring Dolph Lundgren!) brings us the newest installment.  Returning Burt Gummer to the front lines, he gets talked into going a South African Wildlife Reserve by his new cameraman Travis (Jamie Kennedy).

Hijinks ensue.

The film opts to not create a new cycle in the life of the graboid, instead we find that the graboids of the continent of Africa are quite different from the northern hemisphere brand the series has focused on so far.  They appear bigger, yet sleeker.  The “Ass Blasters” have oval mouths that are filled sharp teeth and larger wing/arms.

Gummer and Travis are aided by the vet Dr. Nandi Montabu (Pearl Thusi) and her staff in dealing with the new graboid threat.  They run into various complications, both human and graboid.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than I expected to.  Gross and Kennedy have a decent connection as two guys rather irritated by each other.  The film has many fun homages to classic horror and sci-fi.  This is not a great film, by any means.  But it was a decent diversion.

tremors-4The fourth film (With S.S. Wilson Returning to direct) jumps back to 1889, with the founding of Rejection, Neveda.  This is the town that would become Perfection.  Michael Gross returns as the ancestor of Burt, Hiram Gummer.

The town is under siege from young graboids, and it falls to Gummer to do something about it.  Unlike Burt, Hiram is an upper class guy.  He is a bit of a snob, but still a decent person.  There is not a major twist here…the graboids are smaller gliding worms that have not yet matured.

The film has it’s moments, but I am unsure that this was a necessary prequel.  How is this not part of the town history?  How had nobody heard of the graboids?  It just ends up raising questions for the franchise.  Overall, it is not as enjoyable as previous entries.

tremors-3This film was directed by Brent Maddock, one of the other creators of the original film.  And as with the second film?  They try for a twist with another type of monster.  It is yet another stage in the life of the graboid.

This time around, they make Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) the center of the film.  It makes sense, he was a popular character in the franchise.  The film also managed to bring Tony Genaro,  Ariana Richards (Jurassic Park), Charlotte Stewart and Robert Jayne back to reprise their roles from the first film.

The town of Perfection has been running on the graboid phenomenon, much to Burt’s chagrin.  He has no respect for those trying to exploit the Graboids and feels the best thing is to simply kill them.  Which is hard, since they are being treated as potential endangered species.

The film relies on some of the tricks from the first two, but they add a new twist, graboid monsters that can fly.  It is close in overall quality to the second film.  Decent, but not quite reaching the original’s level of entertainment value.

tremors_2_aftershocksThe success of the first Tremors on home video led to this direct to video sequel.  Writer S.S. Wilson returns to the franchise as director for this sequel.  It turns out that the years after the first film have not been kind to Earl (Fred Ward) who blew through his money from Graboid fame, he has parted ways with Val.

A Graboid fan named Grady (Chris Gartin) has a line on a way to make money.  He convinces Earl to join him on an expedition to Mexico to catch Graboids causing a problem for an oil refinery.  There they meet and are helped by geologist Kate Reilly (Helen Shaver).

Rather than totally repeat the first film by having the characters deal with what they know, the film introduces a twist.  The Graboid is only a stage of life…eventually, a graboid will appear to be ill, and then a new creature is introduced.  This allows the team to have to learn all new rules in dealing with the threat.

The film also brings back Michael Gross’ Burt Gummer.  It is fun to have the character back, though it is missing something as Heather (played by Reba McEntire) was part of what made Burt likeable.  He and his wife were two peas in a pod.

Again, the effects work is strong in the film.  The twists introduced with the new monsters make for fun and excitement.  The movie does not quite live up to the first, but it is still enjoyable.

Look Out Below (Tremors, 1990)

tremors-posterKevin Bacon saw a slight slow down right before 1990…his career was not in the crapper, but his draw had lowered a bit.  And  so he was available for a low budget horror flick.  Mind you, it was more a comedy with a sci-fi angle.  Had the film gone for being outright scary?  This would be a failure.

Instead, Director Ron Underwood (who followed Tremors up with City Slickers) opted to play to the comedic strengths of his cast.

Valentine (Kevin Bacon) and Earl are buddies and handymen in small town of about 20 people call Perfection.  In the middle of nowhere Nevada.  Both dream of getting out of the small town and becoming rich.  If only they had not stopped to check on Edgar, who is hanging on a telephone post.  They discover he is dead and leap to a theory of a serial killer.

They are wrong of course.  Cause this is a monster movie.  Tremors has a decent premise of giant worm-like monsters that burrow under the ground to catch their prey.  Val and Earl are not thrilled when they get stuck in Perfection, unable to reach help.

They, along with a visiting Seismologist named Rhonda (Finn Carter) lead the town in an attempt to get past the monsters.

The film did poorly in theaters, but was saved by home video.  It is no small wonder, as this is a fun movie.  The cast of characters are likable and entertaining, the standouts being Burt and Heather Gummer (Michael Gross and Reba McEntire).  They are survivalists who chose Perfection due to it’s isolation.  They love their toys.  McEntire and Gross are very memorable.

This is a good old fashioned monster movie.  It is not to gory, and is not about scares.  Yet the effects do not look cheap.  The monsters are convincing enough to seem like a real threat to be reckoned with.

catacombs-1988400 years ago, the monks at the Abbey at San Pietro trapped a demon in their basement, sealing it in a small room.  In the present, an attractive young teacher on a visit from America stays at the Abby.  There is a restoration going on, and I think we all know what that means.

The demon is going to get set free.  Strange occurrences begin shortly after the teacher arrives.  Of course, while the monks are aware of the stories of the demon buried beneath, most of them have written it off as legend as well.

They realize, too late of course, that it is not merely a mythical tale.  Soon monks start dying, while Father John (Timothy Van Patton) and the teacher Elizabeth (Laura Schaefer) get closer.   The film has a final showdown between Father John and Satan/The Beast that is mostly talking and Father John getting punched by invisible fists.

One of the high points is the portrayal of the monks.  They are friendly and kind, and with one exception avoid being mere stereotypes.  Ian Abercrombie’s Brother Orsini is a gentle and generous man.  Timothy Van Patton plays a priest struggling with doubt, trying to find answers at the abbey.  He is not finding the answers, and struggles even more watching an older monk nearing death.  He wants to feel a passion for his calling, but it is not there.  Jeremy West’s Brother Marinus is the weak connection, as he seems to see evil in the young woman for being a woman.

At times, Catacombs moves rather slowly.  While not a particularly scary film, the director David Schmoeller makes great use of his setting.  The Catacombs are certainly eerie.  There are several nice creative choices (a bleeding flower, fire and candles are prominent, a sequence where a Jesus statue comes to life).  The music is clearly influenced by the Omen series, relying on chant inspired choirs.  While the film seems to be aiming high for Exorcist territory, it ultimately never quite reaches that level.  It is a moderately entertaining film that makes a real effort.  Even if it does not fully succeed, it certainly gets credit for the sincerity.

Dark Places (Cellar Dweller, 1988)

cellar_dweller_vhs1988’s Cellar Dweller is a direct to video horror flick that remain pretty largely forgotten.  I actually remember seeing it on video store shelves, but never got around to renting it.  And when DVD exploded, among the many films that made the transition, this was not one.

It tells the tale of a young art student, Whitney Taylor (Debrah Farentino), who is attending an art institute that is located in the former home of her favorite comic book artist.  30 years prior, Colin Childress (Jeffrey Combs) realized his imagination was coming to life…as he drew horror comics, this could be bad news.  He set fire to cellar to destroy what his mind brought forth.

Whitney discovers his work in the cellar and begs the woman running the institute, Mrs Briggs (Yvonne De Carlo) to set up shop in the seller.  Briggs seems to not care for Whitney and sends her rival Amanda (an aspiring journalist) to spy on her.

As people start to die at the hands of the monster in Whitney’s and Childress’ art, Whitney confronts Mrs. Briggs, certain that she has it out for her (and rightly so).  But soon, the demon in the comics seems to take over, beyond the control of Whitney’s imagination.

The film relies heavily on comic art, which frankly is not that impressive.  Also, watching Jeffrey Combs in the beginning inking already fully inked art makes it pretty obvious he was not an artist…he moves his hands like someone pretending to conduct music.  The jumps between Whitney drawing and the monster killing victims is awkward, because there is no way she would pencil and ink at the pace of the monster’s killing.

There is also an odd choice to use cartoonish sound effects during scenes where the monster is killing people.  It detracts from the moment.

The monster is pretty decent looking considering when the film was made.  This is not to surprising, as director John Carl Buechler started as an effects guy, and a pretty solid one.  The monster actually was recognizable as a Buechler creation (and looks not unlike something from his films Ghoulies 3: Choulies Go to College or Troll).

The films biggest downfall is in the story.  It is an interesting concept that gets downright confusing in the end.  Did she create her fellow students?  Is she killing them? Is it the monster feeding off her imagination?  With a better script (the film is written by Chucky creator Don Mancini) that put the concept to stronger use this might not have been a film that fell between the cracks of horror history.

Shout! Factory has released the film on Blu-Ray and DVD as part of a double feature set.  There are no bonus features for the film.  The HD transfer came from a single remaining print from a private collection, so the picture is not perfect, but it still looks quite good.

revengeThis sequel picks up where we left off…the Sheriff’s daughter jumped off a roof…and apparently the Sheriff has lost his marbles.  How do I know?  The Deputy states this twice.

A reporter asks if this was a work of a Blood Cult.  Let me rephrase that… a really stupid reporter asks if this was a work of a Blood Cult.  I know she is stupid because she jumps into a car with the leader of the Blood Cult.  He was brushing her off until she asked about the Blood Cult, then he asked her if she wanted to join him in the car.   When does she catch on? After the leader hands her an amulet and asks leading questions about how much she knows?  No.  After he drives past her stop?  No.  After he makes a cryptic comment about her having trouble convincing her editor?  No.  After he drives down a Dark Alley?  No.  After a cop asks her to step out of the car?  No.  After said cop stabs her in the Dark Alley?  Yes.

Roll Credits!

The first thing I noticed?  This actually looks like it was filmed traditionally.  No video cameras.  It instantly seems classier.

The old couple with the headless dog from the last movie have a new dog.  A little cockapoo or something.  No one ones to behead one of those yapping little dogs.  Anyways, they hear noises in their sheds.  Then the Blood Cult kills them.  Apparently, the title Revenge refers to the Blood Cult is going to go after all the people who wronged them.  This leads to five minutes of aerial shots following a car driving to a cemetery.

This movie has John Carradine.  That does not necessarily mean anything.  But I thought it was noteworthy.  But this follows the same M.O. as the last one.  Killer chops people up.  They die of stab wounds and blood loss.  One memorable kill?  A guy on a motor cross bike takes out a pickup truck.  I think.  The scene just ends, and we go to the Sheriff, who lost his marbles, and the proof?  He speaks to invisible Senators taking a stand against dogs.

Best moment?  Government employees complaining about the Blood Cult’s screening policies.  That and they are running out of Monk Robes.

Dean Beatty:”I joined this cult for the advances and the advantages you promised me.  Not to be a party to some sort of Murder Incorporated!”

Senator:”Hell’s bells, Beatty…you think you’re the only one who wants to get ahead in this world?”

Then they kill the Dean for denying the god Caninus.  Then we learn that the guy on the motorbike did not actually kill the person in the truck, because she is safe at home…until she starts getting hang up calls.  The Motorbike guy shows up again at the farm and the old lady scares him away, because it really pisses her off when he starts to pop a wheelie on the lawn.

We then get fifteen minutes of teens necking in the hot tub before the boy pulls out a really big knife and stabs the girl to death.  This leads to a great scene where a guy discovers the body and calls in the murder with a fake french accent.

At the big Caninus meeting in the woods they prepare a sacrifice.  They are raising their leader from the dead to lead an army to destroy the unbelievers.  They went on to form Al Queda.  They create an evil warrior out of the sister of one of the heroes.  She is an unstoppable warrior, but she sure is not pretty.  The old lady shoots a log which causes a series of explosions that scares away most of the cult member and causes the indestructible warrior to…vanish.  This leaves the local Doctor by himself, until they shoot him and he ceases to exist.  But then we learn that one of the heroes is actually a member of the cult and he suckered the old lady into helping he and the Senator get rid of the Doctor .  But the Old Lady doesn’t give in to the Cult’s temptations and shoots the two final cult members dead…or DID she???

“Thanks for being such a classy sister.”  Yeah…the writing has not improved.  The acting is slightly better.  The film making is completely static.  We still get ten minute shots from one perspective.  Missing, however, is all that damn narration…this is mostly due to the fact that the Sheriff lost his marbles and is utterly useless as a narrator.  In the end?  This was a pretty pathetic offering.  Maybe it is a little better than the first one…but we call that damning with faint praise.

VHS Cult (Blood Cult, 1985)

Blood-Cult-VHSSo, I watched the movie Blood Cult.  It claims to be the first direct to video feature length film.  I didn’t realize this meant “Shot on VHS in Mom’s Basement”.  I mean, Charles Band could afford actual film.

The movie begins at a sorority house (read the house of someone the filmmaker is friends with) where a sort of cute co-ed is taking a shower.  Because that’s what the ladies do in college.  Take showers, get lathered up, wait for homicidal maniacs with meat cleavers.  She hears a noise and opens her door only to find said Maniac .  She slowly shuts the door, and he gently swings the meat cleaver, because we don’t want anyone getting hurt here.  But he manages to splatter blood all over.

The campus the film sits on appears to be a local community college (with stock footage of a more ivy league style college).  And that night a young co-ed is brutally murdered…when the maniac hit’s her over the head with a severed head from the shower girl.  I have to give them credit for that.  It’s almost up there with a football with a sword attached.

The Sheriff narrates the film.  And he narrates a lot.  I really thought he needed to shut up and do his work.  People stumble through their dialog, making mistakes and just correcting themselves-like bloopers the director forgot to remove.  He’s running for elected office, and is informed by one of his government higher ups that there better be no more killing.  And uckily, there isn’t.  The rest of the movie is all about his campaign.

Just kidding.  There is another killing the very next scene.

The Sheriff apparently is not real good at this whole detective stuff, but thankfully his daughter, who works in the college library knows her way around the Occult Books section.  The Sheriff asks his deputy if he has any theories…his deputy responds with “Who…ME?”  The Sheriff asks if the deputy thinks maybe is is a Dungeons and Dragons thing.  His Deputy likes that idea, but apparently never followed it up.

There is actually a scene where we see a house and a large brick barn…we hear a woman calling out to their barking dog telling it to get in the house.  However, we do not see either the dog or the woman.  We hear the dog whimper.  Then the woman asked her husband(?) to check on the dog.  This is when we finally see our first person in the scene…and he walks into the picture from somewhere other than the house.  He calls for his wife to bring a shovel.  He seems very casual that his dog is dead and headless.  I guess that he has had a lot of dogs whose heads dropped off and disappeared.

The Sheriff is called out by the family, but they do not tell him about the dead dog until about ten minutes of talking.  See, she totally buries the lead.  One night the Sheriff goes into the woods and discovers a Blood Cult that worships dogs or something…at this point I don’t really care.  His daughter was part of the cult, and then  he wakes up in the hospital with no real memory of the Blood Cult.

The Doc tells the Sheriff that the autopsies revealed all the people died from multiple stab wounds…and loss of blood.  Then he makes a comment about liking dogs and leaves the room.  This is followed up by a fifteen minute stakeout in which the Sheriff parks his car blatantly in front of his daughter’s sorority house and looks through the windows with a pair of binoculars.  Really, we should be relieved that he speeds things up by looking at his watch and reciting the time, rather than actually have to watch him sit there for six hours eating a sandwich and watching the sorority house.

He hears a crash, runs inside and finds someone in a Dog mask killing his daughter’s boyfriend…he rips the mask off to discover his daughter (whom he tells, “You weren’t brought up to do this sort of thing!!!”).  Apparently the entire town is part of the Blood Cult.  His daughter Tina runs away, climbs to the top of a building and has a nervous breaks down before leaping to her death.

But WAIT!  Tina suddenly opens her eyes and smiles..then the credits roll.

It would be far to generous to call the acting in this film bad.  There are lots of people pulling Home Alone Screams.  Stiff delivery.  Really stiff, Ben Affleck is animated compared to this. And shockingly, for many of these actors?  This was indeed one of their only films.  This and the sequel.

This movie contains dialog like “We were dealing with a serial killer.  Who would most likely strike again.  Probably on Campus. ” And not to mention “The medical examiner, Hans White, was being sloppy.”   A guy mentions that there was another murder to the Sheriff(and then says, “But you probably already knew about that, huh?”), who simply says, “Yeah I know about it.”

The credits inform us this was filmed on Sony Beta Cam…wow…a victim of the format war.  It’s also worth noting that the film thanks Coca Cola Bottlers of Tulsa, Jerry’s Camper World and “Doctor’s Hospital.”  I think that says it all.  That and there was (again) a sequel.  Oh, and this disc has a bunch of special features.  But Phantasm II hit DVD and has none.  That says it all.

High-Tension-PosterHigh Tension seems like one of those films where every shot had the creators thinking about how edgy and gritty they were being. And shocking. We’re gonna shock you! Lots of blood spraying, our lead sitting on a bed masturbating! We’re gonna shock you, baby!

And maybe the shocks would work if the story was not such a convoluted mess. It makes zero sense. Early on we are treated to a sleazy guy in his run down service truck getting oral sex. The shocker is that he starts the van and drops a woman’s severed head out the van window. So, we have a psycho sexual killer established. We also get introduced to the female lead… a young woman who awakes from a dream where she is hunting herself. Ooooo…foreshadowing. They get to her friend’s remote farm home for the weekend. We establish our heroine doesn’t seem to have much time for boys, while her friend maybe has to much.  So, I am going to spoil the crap out of this film (I also spoil the Sixth Sense and Fight Club).

They get to her friend’s house and go straight to bed. Later in the night the run down van drives up to the front door. When the friend’s father answers the door, his face is bashed in. He sputters why as he crawls up the stairs. The large brutish character takes it a step further and beheads the father. The mother is dispatched by a near beheading while our heroine hides in the closet. After the brute leaves, she goes to the mother’s side in tears, and the mother asks “Why?” and dies (more foreshadowing). Our heroine stumbles upon her good friend who is tied up and gagged. Our lead hears the little brother outside. She goes to the window and sees the brute wander through the field until he finds and shoots the boy.

She keeps promising to help her friend. Eventually, the brute loads the friend into the truck and drives away, unaware that he carries an additional passenger. He stops to get the truck gassed up and our lead slips out into the gas station. She asks the clerk for help and then has to hide as the psycho walks in. Of course, after chatting with the clerk, he kills him. The heroine stays hidden, watching the killer use the restroom, worried he will see her. She waits for him to leave, but waits to long. She gets out to the parking lot to see the truck pulling away.

So she steals a car and pursues him-after calling in the police. She decides it may be obvious that she is pursuing, backs off only to find the truck seems to have vanished from the road-BUT WAIT!!! It’s behind her. She is run off the road. She crashes. She gets out of the car and is pursued by the brute. She hides in a little run down green house and has a bloody battle to the death with the psycho brute. It appears she has won. She runs back to the truck. In the mean time, we jump to the police, where the inspector is watching the surveillance camera…and here it comes…are you ready for the twist?

No brute walks in. Just the girl. And she is the one who plunges an ax into the heart of the attendant. We switch back to our heroine saving her friend-but her friend pulls a knife on her asking why she killed her family. Our heroine is confused, she saved her friend-killed the bad guy! What’s going on? Suddenly we see flashbacks. No brute…just her. She kills her friends dad. Her friend’s mom. Her friend’s little brother.

OH MY GOSH!!!!! SHE’S THE KILLER! She’s in love with her friend and is angry at her friend’s rejection in favor of boys! I NEVER SAW THIS COMING!!!

And you know why? Because the film is a mess. See, in Fight Club and the Sixth Sense, the big reveals cause you to look back through the movie. And it makes sense. Holy crap, no one BUT the kid sees Willis! No one saw Tyler Durden except Ed Norton! But it all fits together. Here, we have scene after scene establishing contact between the heroine and her friend several times where her friend is clearly aware she is in front of her…while the brute is nearby. He is driving the truck. He goes out and shoots the boy why she is with her friend. Plus, in Fight Club, which has a similar plot twist, you never see Tyler without Ed Norton. But here, you get shots of the brute right at the beginning…it establishes him as an entirely separate character at the beginning of the film. He comes to the door in the truck… the “heroine” road in her friend’s car to get there-where did the truck come from? I mean, it just doesn’t work.

This film is not even a great mess. Hear is a hint for film makers…a twist for the sake of twist is just annoying if it doesn’t fit into the rest of the film. And the “It’s all in their head!” twist is the worst of all if done incorrectly. Which is where this film fell completely apart.