Before the Camera:
Joseph Lawrence (TV's Blossom)
Dorie Barton (All About Steve)
Chad Allen (TV's Our House)
Jack McGee (The Hidden)
Leonora Scelfo (Scream)
Thomas Anthony Jones (The Hanged Man)
Elsie Escobar (Pumpkin)
James Mapes (The Wicker Tree)
Del Tenney (Satan in High Heels)
Jeff Conaway (TV's Taxi)
Behind the Camera:
Directed by Thomas Bradford
Produced by Del Tenney, Kermit Christman, Margot Hartman Tenney, and Edward Lopatin
Written by Del Tenney and Kermit Christman
Still following Scream's wake - though pretty far back five years later - this slasher pic gets off to a start with six friends, including stars Joey Lawrence and Chad Allen, heading out for a rollicking Spring Break at a borrowed (or rented - who can follow these things?) mansion. However, this trip comes One Year Later after our opening, where some generic college guy was quickly stalked and axed by someone in an admittedly fairly creepy babyface-mask-and-raincoat ensemble in a decently handled though pretty bloodless suspense sequence with one good jump scare. Of course the killer taunts with the title phrase, first the dead guy and then the police when they investigate. Eventually, we'll discover the poor dead sap dated one of our six, and that whoever killed him isn't finished yet, despite a very patient approach to serial murder. As obnoxious red herrings abound, a lot of screen time passes before someone else meets up with the goon, even though he is apparently stalking the group and keeps leaving the title around for them to find. We spend much more screen time hanging out with FBI agent Conaway as he definitely does Wanna Know A Secret, obsessively obsessing over his obsessive need to catch his obsession: the killer; and the rest of the time getting to know almost nothing about our protagonists, instead just listening to them banter and argue Real World style. Oh sure, some of them have emotional baggage that seems like it might be tied in with someone's ax laden plot, but then again...maybe not. It could just be a fairly transparent and hollow attempt to make some pretty pale characters a little more interesting. But what do I know? I just work here. Finally, it seems the murderer realizes there's only so much more screen time before the credits are going to start rolling, and the killing goes into overdrive, claiming three or four victims in about the same number of minutes, and leaving just enough running time for the killer to get the Final Victim to the climactic showdown where much loud and strenuous acting will be employed to convince the viewer of the insanity on view.
|"Trade you my mask for that veil?"|
I'm going to have to make this one fairly SPOILER laden, as there are aspects to this one I have to discuss, though they'll wreck the ending if anyone was planning to watch this cold. However, before I even get there, my first (and as it turned out - only) surprise watching this was seeing the name Del Tenney in the credits of this 2001 movie. Del was the guy who made Horror of Party Beach in 1964, the unfairly maligned low budget beach movie/monster movie/musical/enviromental movie I had Buddha Man review. Del's not usually way up on the list of people's favorite filmmakers, but he's had a hand in some...interesting...movies, and it's cool that he was still going strong in the 21st century. But that said, this is not much of a movie. I don't need to see buckets of blood in every horror movie, but this one is so tepid in the murder scenes the whole thing comes off very cable movie-ish. And, if lackluster kills in a slasher movie doesn't do it in, this one's flabby middle section with lots and lots and lots of talking certainly does. By the time you get to the big climax, and the killer pulls off the mask to reveal...pretty much exactly who you expect it to be, you'll be as ready for this one to wrap it up as I was. Yes, one of the bigger names is the killer. Of the other two, one ends up serving no purpose at all other than killing screen time, and the other is actually killed, which is either a fairly bold choice by the filmmakers in a valiant attempt to do something surprising, or the actor in question got POed about something and took a hike before the last "cut!" was called. I'm betting it was the latter, considering how this final fate for a leading character all takes place off camera. My other big problem with this movie is the character of Oz (Washington). The guy actually comes off fairly well until the later reels, when the killer starts a hobby of knocking him out and tying him up, instead of killing him like he has everybody else in the flick. And it's not because he has some part to play in the Final Reveal. No, the killer just keeps deciding to leave him alive, even though he gets loose and starts a fist fight each time. This goes beyond Stupid Character Syndrome, and just gets insulting the second or third time it happens.
In the end, I guess there would be enough here for a slasher completist to get a fix, but nobody else needs to answer the question Do You Wanna Know A Secret? I'll answer for you. No, thanks. We're good.
Let's Get Out of Here ?
We do have a hat trick here, with the first occurring around 3:52, with Joey Lawrence throwing in a "you" for camoflage as he tries to avoid Jeff Conaway. But we get pure Line later around 36:33 when Leonora Scelfo is ready to party, and we get Last Line at the 1:30:00-ish mark when Dorie Barton knows the movie is over.
Eye Candy ?
Unfortunately, the mediocrity which runs rampant in this movie extends to the possible Eye Candy casting, and while no one made my eyes hurt, no one made the list either. Sorry, ladies.
Buddha Man's Capsule Review
|Buddha Man says: "Do You Wanna Know A Secret? You |
should skip this movie!"
Thank you, BM. Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!