Posts Tagged ‘slashers’

Continuing Philadelphia’s grand tradition of outdoor movie fests, Awesomefest presented a double feature of Fright Night and Child’s play.  This was the first time I’ve seen either on the big screen since back in the day when you could take a family of four to the movies without having to take out a second mortgage, and it was a lot of fun.

So how have these two ’80s classics aged?  Well, surprisingly differently.  Fright Night is as flawless now as it was the day it was released, even allowing for the inevitable goofiness the 80s left behind on everything they touched.  (The dance scene in the club, oy.)  Child’s Play, not so much.

The problem is that once you get past the conceit of a killer doll – and let’s face it, after 25 years of the Chucky franchise, we’re all pretty over it – you’d better be able to fall back on the performances to make the movie worth watching.  And the performances in Child’s Play are just bad.  Oh, they are bad.  Chris Sarandon, who knocked the ball out of the park as the smirky and charismatic vampire in Fright Night three years earlier, here can’t get off a convincing line reading to save his life; he sounds (and acts) like he’d rather be doing drain cleaner commercials.  Catherine Hicks seems like she’s doing an okay job at first, but fails so singularly to differentiate her character in Child’s Play from her character in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home that I left the movie convinced that in a couple of years her son was going to die in a tragic accident, leaving her determined to make a new life for herself in California where she will pursue her lifelong interest in marine biology.

As for Alex Vincent, the child actor on whose shoulders and reactions half this movie is carried… well, he was like six years old.  The lesson here is: do not put your movie on the shoulders of a six-year-old.  They can’t actually act and it’s only going to be painful to watch them try.

Not, in fairness, that Fright Night gets away scot-free on the bad acting front.  Amanda Bearse, who did a perfectly good job on Married With Children, here can’t seem to figure out how to recite her lines in a way that won’t make her sound like she’s doing a cold read off cue cards, while Stephen Geoffreys, despite a number of inspired moments, works the Evil Ed schtick far too hard.  (Granted, his try-hardness is half the point of his character, but it’s so unrelentingly cringe-inducing that it distracts from the rest of the film.)  But Fright Night has so many other advantages in the casting department that it almost doesn’t matter: Roddy McDowall of blessed memory, who never met a scene he couldn’t steal; William Ragsdale, who should have had a much bigger career than he’s had, and whose only flaw here is that he doesn’t seem to actually like his girlfriend very much; and even Sarandon gives off sparks every time he’s on-camera.  The energy of the cast draws you in and charms you, where Child’s Play‘s unrelenting lack of energy, charm, or humor just made me tired.

Actually, in retrospect, I’m sort of surprised at how little humor I found in Child’s Play, since snarky black humor courtesy of Chucky is supposed to be the hallmark of the franchise.  It has its moments, and I wasn’t expecting it to actually be horror comedy a la Shaun of the Dead; but an awful lot of the humor seemed to depend on the situational absurdity of a doll doing things like screaming obscenities and stabbing people.  This is a lot like trying to build comedy from children screaming obscenities and stabbing people.  Sure, those things can be funny; but things aren’t inherently funny just because children do them, and they’re not inherently funny just because dolls do them either.  You have to work a little harder for it than that.

So what’s the verdict?  Fright Night gets four stars, and only misses five because it exists in the same universe as The Lost Boys.  Child’s Play gets three stars.  The internet appears confused as to whether or not a Child’s Play reboot is in the works; usually I take a dim view of reboots, but that’s one I’d like to see.  I think there was a lot of creativity in the movie that was hamstrung by a lackluster script and acting so bad that even Brad Dourif couldn’t bring up the average, and I’d like to see someone else give it another try.


In the course of trying to decide whether I wanted to watch The Pact enough to spring $6.99 for it on Amazon Instant, I read a review of it on Shock Till You Drop.  This particular site put the actors’ previous movies in bold and parentheses, just like I put their names in bold and parentheses.  Because I wasn’t paying attention, this caused me to be convinced for like 30 seconds that the lead actress in The Pact was named Death Valley, and I was like “Dear God, Bertie Wooster was right, there’s some raw work pulled at the font.”  Then I skimmed farther down in the review and realized that, while I could totally see some neo-hippie minor celebrities naming their daughter Death Valley, I’m pretty sure even the staunchest of geeks would draw the line at naming their son Starship Troopers.

Basically, a woman who by all accounts is pretty nasty dies, leaving her two unenthusiastic daughters to tidy up her affairs.  The first daughter (Agnes Bruckner) gets to the house a couple of days before the second and promptly disappears.  The second daughter (Caity Lotz) rolls up a few days later to find no sister and an awful lot of things going bump in the night.  When the house apparently eats a cousin too, Lotz sets out to find out what the hell is going on.

The Pact, as far as I could tell, doesn’t actually involve a pact of any sort.  That’s kind of a good metaphor for the movie.  It starts out as a fairly good ghost story, then takes a left turn into the land of uninspired serial killer movies.  Neither of the interesting characters – Casper Van Dein as the world’s most blase cop and Haley Hudson as a medium who apparently lives in a crack house – have much screen time.  Caity Lotz as Annie has one sort of inspired moment during a ouija-board scene where she appears to be attempting to convince an invisible audience that she is Too Cool to Freak Out, but other than that, she wears the role in much the same way as a couture model wears a McQ dress – her job appears to be to carry the script along without ever distracting the viewer by being memorable in any way.

The last scene, and I’m not considering this a spoiler because it made no sense to me and will probably make no sense to you either, is someone’s eye opening.  I don’t know whose eye it was or what the significance was of it popping open.  Undoubtedly I was supposed to pay very close attention to everyone’s eyes in this movie, but sadly, I really didn’t.

So what’s the verdict?  I hate to say it, but two stars.  I want to give it more just because I forked over a ridiculous amount of money to rent it, but it’s just not that good a movie.  It started out as one, but the serial killer half was disappointingly devoid of things like imagination, good acting, interesting characters, or substantive additions to anything that came before it.  If you’re really bored and can catch it for free on Netflix, go ahead, but learn from my fail and don’t pay money to see it.

Generally speaking, it’s not the best of signs when, 30 seconds into the movie, I start going “Jesus take the wheel, isn’t that douchebag dead YET?”, and continue wondering aloud – at 30-second intervals like a back-seat toddler who has to pee – why that douchebag is not, in fact, dead yet.  In this movie the douchebag in question is possibly the most obnoxious and odious teen character I’ve seen in about fifteen movies now, and sadly, there’s not much about Wicked Little Things that compensated me for having to tolerate her presence onscreen.

A new widow (Lori Heuring), left destitute by her husband’s death, is forced to move to a really unfortunate house in the Pennsylvania woods.  She’s accompanied by her two daughters, Douchebag Chick (Scout Taylor-Compton) and the obligatory little kid whose complete lack of a self-preservation instinct will inevitably lead her to make friends with the monsters (Chloë Grace Moretz).  The monsters in question are a group of undead grade-schoolers who, at some point in the unspecified past, were all killed in an explosion in the mine they worked in.  Now they’re wandering around the hills seeking revenge on the kin of the mine’s owner.

Here’s the problem: kids in pancake makeup aren’t actually scary.  I mean, clearly there are enough people with an irrational fear of children to support an entire horror movie cliche built around the lazy-ass idea that a child sharing screen space with splashing blood is automatically terrifying regardless of how it’s filmed, but I feel like they could at least have made a little more effort with the cinematography.  Even though you know exactly who and what they are, the kids actually sort of manage to be scary when they’re not onscreen; when they are, you’re just like “Oh look, child actors in pancake makeup.”

There are places where Wicked Little Things is pretty effective, owing largely to the ability of the adult actors to convince us – in spite of all available evidence – that something frightening is going on.  I commend it as well for its admirable lack of reliance on cheap jump scares (there were only a handful, well below par for this type of movie).  The gore was about in proportion, what there was of it; it’s hard to count zombie kids eating raw pork as gore when it mostly just looks like they went too heavy on the barbecue sauce.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  I’d have liked to give it more than that, but every time I started thinking it might be a three-star movie, my screen would suddenly be full of pancake-makeup-wearing moppets earworming me with that annoying “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go” song.  I don’t know, maybe if you think kids are scary then you’ll find the movie scarier than I did.  All in all, it wasn’t a bad movie; just not a terribly good one.

Also, Douchebag Chick.  I might actually have been willing to tack on that third star if she’d died horribly, just as a reward, but unfortunately she lived through the movie.

The Graveyard (2006)

Posted: March 10, 2012 in 1 star, Reviews
Tags: ,

I’ll say this for The Graveyard – it knows what you’re there for.  It knows you want dudebros and criminally dumb chicks having sex and then getting slaughtered, and it loses no time in giving it to you.  Other, lesser movies may spend valuable screen time screwing around with piddly things like plot, character development, dialogue not written by drunken chimpanzees, suspense as to who the killer is, and realistic portrayal of the passage of time; but not The Graveyard.  It even goes so far as to introduce random characters for thirty seconds for no other reason than to kill them off.

In the setup, Dudebros 1-4 and Dumb Chicks 1-4 (this is an estimate; I couldn’t keep them straight to count them) go to a graveyard to play hide and seek.  No, they’re adults at this point.  Dudebro #4, being It, goes to look for the others and is suddenly!  chased by a knife-wielding man in a mask!  This causes him to trip and land on a rusty gate, impaling himself.

A few years later – after Dudebro #2, who took the rap, has gotten out of prison – they all meet back at a convenient sleepaway camp by the graveyard for “closure.”  And, well, things proceed from there, without a single unpredictable moment – and, sadly, not much in the way of imaginative or entertaining kills.

Well, toward the end of the movie the killer actually utters the words “I’ll take my revenge!”  And not once, no.  That would be insufficient for a movie of this caliber.  He says it no less than four times.  In a row.  Then there are a couple of  “Oh look!  The killer’s not dead!” scares foiled only by the fact that the killer was painfully obviously not actually dead to begin with.

The end holds great promise that everyone involved will die, though.  And since the whole idea behind movies like this is seeing extraordinarily unlikeable people get theirs, I guess that’s something.

So what’s the verdict?  On one hand, I kind of want to give this movie one star because Dudebro #2 was vaguely hot in that horrifying Dudebro way.  On the other hand, “one guy was sort of hot if you ignored his entire personality” is not really a point in a movie’s favor, and God knows this one didn’t have any others.  On the third hand, I feel like the 0-star rating should be reserved for movies so offensively awful that their mere existence makes me despair of the human race, and The Graveyard isn’t that bad.  It’s just, I don’t know, the movie equivalent of those awful orange and black toffee Halloween candies.  So one star it is, I guess.

Sometimes there are these fleeting moments, so brief and subtle that I always wonder if I’ve imagined them afterward, when I suspect that buried deep in Jensen Ackles’ psyche is a modicum of acting ability that sometimes gets away from him and manifests onscreen for a split second before he stamps it ruthlessly back down.

No, I know how that sounds.  I didn’t say it was a rational suspicion.  It’s like that thing where sometimes when you’re drifting off to sleep on Christmas Eve you have that weird moment where you’re like “Hey, but what real reason is there, honestly, why Santa can’t exist?  HUH?”  Then you wake up in the morning and realize that by God there’d better not be some fur-wearing fat guy sneaking down your chimney in the middle of the night, and also that Ackles’ sole discernable talent is for reciting some of his lines louder than others and managing to look like an American Apparel model while his character is supposedly sleeping in his car.  In short, he’s an utterly bland presence (Ackles, I mean, not Santa), and when your movie is already laboring under a brain-sludgingly dull script, poor pacing, and astoundingly unappealing characters, by God you better suck it up and pay Steve Buscemi to stand out in front of that shit diverting people’s attention.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the original My Bloody Valentine (1981).  I love it.  It’s a triumph of the schlocky filmmaker’s art, full of glee and ridiculousness and people getting shot in the forehead with nail guns,  with some genuinely scary moments thrown in for good measure.  In the original, a mining town has declared a moratorium on Valentine’s Day dances, because back in the 60s there was a mine cave-in on Valentine’s Day that resulted in the sole survivor, Harry Warden, cracking under the strain of his enforced diet of Soylent Green.  Warden decrees that there will be No More Dances Ever, because that’s what the townspeople were doing when the mine exploded and he’s a little miffed.  Twenty years later a group of middle-aged teenagers decide to hold an illicit rave in the mine on Valentine’s Day, with predictable and gory results.

Well, the 2009 My Bloody Valentine is sort of like that.  Except without the dances.  Or any real tie-in to Valentine’s Day.  Or any explicable reason for the original Harry Warden to go off the deep end and cause hospital carnage so improbable that in order to make sense of it you have to pretend the movie is a crossover with Predator.  There’s a mine explosion, okay.  In this case it’s caused by Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles), the owner’s whiny son, forgetting to do something technical I can’t even care about long enough to describe it.  Hanniger disappears for a few years and comes back to sell the mine.

Unwisely, the creators of the remake chose to make the grindingly tedious selling-the-mine aspect the main plot of the movie.  Even more unwisely, they spend what feels like ten thousand hours trying to get us to care about it.  This involves endless, astonishingly boring conversations between Hanniger and his unwashed ex-girlfriend (Jaime King), who is now married to the town sherriff (Kerr Smith).  Eventually, of course, people start dying, but without the whole arc with the Valentine’s Day dances they’re basically dying for no other reason than to give the movie a body count, which brings a certain sense of anticlimax to the whole thing.

The movie itself is unrelentingly glum and humorless.  It’s filmed under constantly cloudy skies.  Everyone is dressed like the only fashion game in town is the clearance rack at K-Mart.  Lines like “I lost my way!” are uttered with apparent seriousness.  Ackles plays Hanniger like an even flatter and less nuanced Dean Winchester, and it’s not like Dean Winchester has nuances to spare; while he did achieve brief shining moments of creepiness in Devour, he misses it by a mile here and winds up looking like the crazy eye-rolling opera diva in an Abbott and Costello movie.  The killings are pro forma, uninspired, and mostly require everyone involved to behave like absolute morons.  The 3D, which so rarely adds anything to a movie, adds nothing to this one either.

Was anything good about it?  Well… Irene (Betsy Rue).  Irene was fucking awesome.  This movie needed way more people with enough panache to charge out naked into a parking lot and wave a gun in some skeevy trucker’s face.  Aside from Irene, the only watchable element was Kerr Smith, who trudges grimly through the movie all but wearing a t-shirt that says “I don’t care how many varieties of shit this movie is, I’m going to goddamn act so I can look myself in the face in the morning.”

So what’s the verdict? One star.  The only way to make watching this movie entertaining is to pretend it’s some sort of arthouse Fellini-tribute commentary on the grinding poverty of the decaying American infrastructure, and everything is all symbolic and stylized and you have to figure out what it all Really Means and how it relates to Derrida.  And even if you do, you’re just going to wind up feeling like you’re watching two hours of people smoking at each other in black and white with flies landing portentously on ice cubes, and all you know is you’re bored to tears but you have a paper due on this shit in thirty-six hours and you want to shoot yourself for ever thinking “Metaphor in Cinema” would be a good elective to take.  Watch the original instead.

My take on this movie was colored a little by my conviction that taking pictures of random people is creepy as shit and should earn you a restraining order, not a place in a photography exhibit.  So figuring out who to get behind in The Midnight Meat Train required some extended negotiations that went something like this:

Leon, the main character: “Oh hai, chick who’s about to be sexually assaulted.  I’m going to stand here taking pictures of you while you’re being threatened with a knife, instead of screaming for a cop or something.  Because I am Edgy.”

Me:  “Wow.  I hope you die in a fire.”

Mahogany (and ouch, if that isn’t the most undignified name for a serial killer since Early Grayce):  *smashes eyeballs*

Me:  “Ew.”

Creepy Conductor Guy:  “Mahogany, that was sloppy.  I AM DISAPPOINT.”

Me:  “Jeez, how mean.  Okay, maybe I’m on Team Freakish Butcher Dude.”

Maya, The Girlfriend:  “I’m doing my best, here, but Leon’s kind of a creep.”

Me:  “Okay, maybe I’ll be on Team Girlfriend -”

Maya:  “Oh wait, I’m going to be That Stupid Horror Movie Chick and get my friend killed.”

Me: “- or maybe not.”

Brooke Shields: “Hey, I’ve aged amazingly well, haven’t I?”

Me:  “And you’re well-dressed!  Team Brooke!”

Still and all, I always enjoy Clive Barker movies, and I enjoyed this one.  Leon (Bradley Cooper) is an aspiring photographer whose avowed mission is to capture the Heart Of The City on film, which he explains to gallery owner Brooke Shields using language of such excruciating triteness  that you have to figure Barker is making fun of someone, or a whole class of someones.  Brooke rightfully sends him away with a flea in his ear, so back Leon goes into the subway to take edgier pictures or die trying.  Soon he realizes that an awful lot of his subjects are going missing, and that the same beefy guy shows up in an awful lot of those pictures – Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), the mute butcher who actually is going around slaughtering people on trains in the night.  Cue Leon’s obsession with the whole thing, a lot of pictures on actual film, and things ending badly for many, many people.

The Midnight Meat Train is probably the most overtly Lovecraftian movie of Barker’s that I’ve seen, which doesn’t thrill me because I don’t love Lovecraft, but it makes for a neat twist ending.  The performances are good, the visuals are nicely bleak, and Mahogany – who could easily have gotten shoehorned into a Generic Guy Killing People – wound up being someone I’d really have liked to know more about.  And Creepy Conductor Dude is creepy, holy shit.

So what’s the verdict? Three stars.  It can’t compete with Hellraiser or Candyman, but it’s solidly in there with Nightbreed.  I might have had trouble figuring out who to root for, but the movie kept me involved and entertained.  I have to say, though, I never understood the hate for CGI blood until now.  Yeah, Hollywood, no.  Please bring back the ketchup or whatever it was you were using before.

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Frayed (2007)

Posted: March 14, 2010 in 0 stars, Frayed, Reviews
Tags: , ,

I’m sort of impressed by this movie, in a way. By the twenty-minute mark I hated every single character and wanted them to die horribly. By the thirty-minute mark I hated the filmmakers as well, on such a deeply personal level that if I were their waitress I would spit in their food.  By the time it was over I had mentally done away with everyone onscreen in a far bigger blaze of glory than any of them achieved in the film.

And oh, what a cast of characters it is. The Long-Suffering Cop Dad (Tony Doupe). The Whiny Stepmother (Kellee Bradley). The Trailer-Trash Daughter (Alena Dashiell). The Obligatory Slutty Best Friend (Tasha Smith-Floe). The guy who spends the whole movie being chased pointlessly through the woods by what is painfully obviously a figment of his imagination (Aaron Blakely). The ostensible killer (Dino Moore), combining the Texas cannibal chic of a Leatherface-style hood with the looming menace of a DVD-store standup of Edward Cullen. Sadly, the movie does not end with all of them trooping down into a mine to die in a gas explosion.

To the extent that there is a plot, this is it: an eight-year-old beats his mother to death with a baseball bat at his sister’s fifth birthday party and is put in a mental hospital. (This pretty much used up my suspension of disbelief for the entire movie, by the way, as well as handing me the plot twist on a silver platter. I don’t care if he’s got a baseball bat, he’s eight years old and you’re a grown woman. He can’t have hit you that hard. Take the damn thing away from him.) Twenty years later, he escapes as he’s being transferred to a more secure facility.

His dad, the Long-Suffering Cop, rushes around trying to find him while completely overlooking elementary precautions like sending a squad car out to his own house. Trailer Trash Sis and the Obligatory Slutty Best Friend go out in the woods to get drunk and have sex with two of the most unimpressive specimens of male adolescence I have ever seen. Pointless Guy gets chased pointlessly through the woods. Completely unsurprising revelations are, um, revealed. Various people fail to appreciate the difference between “homage” and “egregious rip-off.” The ending, which attempts to be very clever in a Sixth Sense way, only succeeds in being ten pounds of stupid in a five-pound bag.  In short, somebody owes me an hour and fifty-one minutes of my life back, and you better believe I’m going to collect if I ever meet them.

(On the Lessons For Filmmakers note: You know that plotline on Dallas or whatever where Bobby Ewing died, and the whole season happened from there,  and then at the end of the season you find out that Bobby is still alive and everything that had gone on for the last however many weeks was all a dream his wife was having?  Remember how that plotline was universally reviled and is still a laughingstock to this day?  THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S A BAD IDEA.)

So what’s the verdict? 0 stars.  I am totally judging the filmmakers, and indeed everyone who was involved with this movie.  No, I don’t care if they have kids to feed and the only other job option was Grannies Go Wild 4.  They should have taken the more dignified route and learned to love denture glue.

Well, that was a fun surprise.

I found Madhouse streaming on FEARNet, so we should probably establish that my expectations for movies that stream free over the internet are about as high as my expectations for the average YouTube video of a teenager singing into her hairbrush along with Mariah Carey.  As long as no one actually utters the words “Run!  Save yourself!” you’re pretty much golden.

This one looked like it might be kind of entertaining, though.  Joshua Leonard (also known as The Least Annoying Blair Witch Kid, Not That That’s Saying Much) plays Clark Stevens, newly arrived at Cunningham Hall Mental Health Facility to do an internship.  He quickly finds out that the staff are as strange as the residents, and in some cases hard to tell apart from them. The head nurse (Dendrie Taylor) is a taser-wielding Nurse Ratched type; the security guard (Christian Leffler) is a violent whackjob; the head doctor (Lance Henriksen, who has been in so many movies I think he must have cloned himself at some point) is clearly keeping Dire Secrets that probably involve Nazi medical experiments; and the Cute Social Worker (Jordan Ladd, otherwise known as Cheryl Ladd’s Daughter My God Where Does the Time Go) is on antipsychotics because she’s schizophrenic but just a little, okay?

Not long after Clark gets there, the head nurse is killed via a sort of do-it-yourself electroshock treatment that causes her to chew off her own tongue.  In the process of questioning the patients on the disturbed ward, Clark discovers a prisoner in an ostensibly empty cell who has a lot of cryptic Hannibal Lecter-like pronouncements to make.  Oh, and Clark starts seeing a kid who may or may not be a ghost.  The more he investigates, the weirder things get (and the higher the body count goes), until he finds himself seriously considering the possibility that the hospital may be haunted.

The introductory scene is one of those strange OMGGHOSTS montages with all sorts of fast cuts, fast motion, and stark lighting.  I love it, I’m not going to lie, but I have no idea what it had to do with the rest of the film.

Madhouse is a fun movie; at 90 minutes there isn’t really a chance for the pace to drag, and it doesn’t.  It’s direct-to-video for a reason, make no mistake.  I can’t even tell you the movies it’s derivative of without giving away the plot twist, but there are so many of them that you could make a drinking game out of spotting them.  (There’s one character billed as “The Tranny” who I think is more of a drag queen, but all I could think of whenever he was on the screen was “He’s not a transsexual.  He thinks he is.  He tries to be.”  Well, that and “Dude, he’s in lockdown in the basement of a mental hospital, where the hell is he getting all that makeup and the eyebrow tweezers?”)  The production values occasionally make it look made-for-TV.  The very end doesn’t actually make any sense.  But the acting is good and it’s entertaining, so my conscience would be clear recommending it for a rainy afternoon when you can’t face playing Silent Hill one more time.

Ghost Kid is pissed because he has to spend eternity in the suit he wore to his cousin’s wedding.  In 1842.

So what’s the verdict? Three stars.  I don’t mind if movies are hugely derivative, usually, as long as they’re entertaining while they do it, and this one is.  If the only Silence of the Lambs you want to watch is the one with Anthony Hopkins in it, though, you’d probably better do that instead.

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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:

  1. earworming me with that goddamned “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” song that used to send me into a frothing rage even as a child; and
  2. 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.)

I’m not that scared of supernatural entities I could ground from their Playstation, but to each his own.

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…