I didn’t actually set out to be biased against Fingerprints, which in and of itself is a fairly inoffensive movie. Regardless, it put itself four feet down and two to dig in the first ten minutes by:
- earworming me with that goddamned “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” song that used to send me into a frothing rage even as a child; and
- starting out at a train depot intersection that looked so weirdly like the train depot intersection in the hamlet my mother lived in that it made me flail in small-town-related PTSD and watch the movie through my fingers.
Fingerprints can’t quite decide if it wants to be a ghost story or a slasher movie, so it gives a game try at both. Thirty years or so ago, there was an unfortunate incident with a train and a school bus. The train depot has been abandoned since, more or less, but there’s an urban legend that if you stop on the tracks and put your car in neutral, Ghost Children will show up and push it across the tracks. (You will get very tired of this urban legend. Also, eventually it will expand to include ghostly fingerprints on the bumper, because some hapless scriptwriter realized at the eleventh hour that gradual inclines are not scary.)
Final Girl Melanie (Leah Pipes), fresh out of rehab after her boyfriend’s snort-related death, arrives in town to join up with her whackjob mother, her embarrassingly whipped father, and Final Sister Crystal (Kristin Cavallari), and promptly starts seeing Creepy Dead Little Girls. Just as promptly, people start getting murdered by a mysterious figure wearing a train conductor’s outfit and a black head bag they can’t possibly see out of. Mostly we’re pretty glad to see the victims go. However, the dead kids pretty clearly want something, and it’s up to Final Girl to figure out what it is.
So does it succeed either as a ghost story or a slasher movie? Well…