I LOVE SURPRISES
The Factory (2013)
Netflix appears to be having some fun for April Fools Day this year. If you looked at the choices you might have found topics like, 'Nephrotic Adventures Featuring Very Tiny Children', 'Reality TV About People With No Concept Of Reality', 'Movies That Are In English But Still Require Subtitles', and 'Movies Featuring An Epic Nicolas Cage Meltdown'. Bravo Netflix, now quit doing my job for me!
Still unable to face the movies I'm supposed to be reviewing (hey I said I review movies, I didn't say I was consistent) I picked out of nowhere this movie simply because it had John Cusack in it - another actor on my list of people I will watch in anything. You have to make sure you have the right one so make sure it's the one he's in - apparently there's several with this title all made within a year or two of each other.
And hey, this would have been a good one just 'cause of Cusack but so much duh was crammed into it, you might watch it for the twist, but not 'cause it's a smart flick. And I realized I practically wrote the whole damned movie down so this review actually has been shortened from its original form.
I kind of wish John could write some of his own scripts because although he does an excellent job, he seldom has stellar material. This had the death knell at the beginning 'inspired by actual events'. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Ahem, sorry about that. Once I got into the movie and saw what it was basically about I remembered the incident it was kind of copying (I've got several hundred true crime paperbacks - no exaggeration).
When I read the book I remember that the cases was unusual and sick enough to, well, write a book about it. Now new cases are all over the news and not just done by psychos to total strangers - it's happening within families! My twisted and horrid childhood is getting paler and paler by comparison to these loonies and what they do to their kids... I'll explain in a bit.
We start with the basic every-detective-story-in-the-world scenario: Mike Fletcher (John Cusack) is a detective that works long hours, neglecting his family in the process, as he tries to work a case of a serial killer (a man who's a dead ringer, pardon the expression, of the late, great John Ritter) who takes prostitutes. He's been working on it about non-stop on the mean streets of New York for years. Apparently, the killer mainly works during the winter so... yeah, this is your typical isn't-New-York-a-lousy-place-to-live kind of movie, mostly a slap in the face for the quarter million people who live, probably mostly contentedly, in Buffalo.
Anywho, he has a partner who's been helping every step of the way, in fact she specifically wanted to work this case with him, her name is Kelsey. She's also a close friend of the family and enjoys being with his kids, one reason is she can't have any of her own.
Do we see an obvious story forming boys and girls? 'Cause if you don't, you need to go back to horror story 101 and get a refresher course on the DUUUUUH of obvious set ups and plodding story lines that lead to obvious endings.
Ahem. Anyway our detective team learns their case is being shut down because the killer has 'gone to ground' which is a term meaning he's stopped killing and is probably either hiding or has moved on to a different state or country. Suddenly they hear of an abduction that can only be one of his - after three years he's started again. Phew, I thought this movie was going to be really short. Duh. Nope, you're gonna be subject to this crime for 104 minutes so settle back.
Mike (Cusack) has a teenage daughter Abby who, like most teenagers, hates her parents, hates her life, hates her school, hates her responsibilities, but loves an older boy who's just looking for jollies with a high school girl. She has something very serious to tell him but he stops her and basically says it's been swell but the swelling's gone down and dumps her. She's so upset she runs out of the cafe' he works in without her coat or phone. He sees it, goes to the window and she's talking to someone in a car. The next time he looks before going out, she's gone. Any guess as to who took her and why? Well, let's see - she's dressed in hardly anything (she left her coat behind) and she's willing to get in a stranger's car.... that's a head scratcher.
She disappears. Any real questions as to who took her and why? No? Good for you. The serial 'killer' isn't killing the girls - he's keeping them in his basement in little cubicles, grooming them to become mothers of his children. Ick. So Abby, Mike's daughter is movie stupid and so the first words out of her mouth is that her dad is a cop. Oh, that's going to scare him. Not. Now that Mike is aware that Abby has been taken by the same sicko he's been pursuing he kind of loses it.
Meanwhile Abby has been beaten, chained and told by the other girls her fate - she's going to bear this psycho's child. Mike is frantically putting together the pieces, knowing there must be something right in front of his face that he's missing and knowing if he doesn't hurry, he'll never see his daughter again.
Finally putting the pieces together he and his partner Kelsey rush to the psycho's house. Mike finds him first and... from this point the movie does this stupid cut-away-from-the-scene-so-you-don't-know-what-happened which they repeat annoying several times for the rest of the movie.
After finding a room with several babies in incubators, Mike shoots Gary (the psycho) who all the girls had called 'daddy'. Kelsey comes to the scene. Mike tells her Gary's gonna die - she turns and shoots Mike. Wait, what? Ohhhh, of course, the twist. See, Kelsey can't have kids - and she had been the very first girl Gary had picked up. When she couldn't have kids, she became a cop so she could help him find others to abduct.
Kelsey, losing her 'daddy' is ready to kill Mike until Mike tells her Abby is pregnant, hoping to keep her occupied until he reaches the gun at his ankle. We get another annoying cutaway, then a flash of a gunshot. Uh, fellas? Nobody outside the house (or inside for that matter) is going to see a bright 'flash' from a gun, okay? D-U-H.
After the inevitable massive emergency vehicle scene where everybody's taken out of the house (and the magic blankets are put on the survivors) we find out that Kelsey is a faster shot and Mike is dead. Ahhh.
Hmmm? What are magic blankets? Oh sorry, it's just that with every horror movie (and other genres too) whenever an ambulance shows up, what is their first line of treatment with every patient no matter what the circumstances? Check it out for yourself... bet you a quarter it's gonna be a blanket.
Okay the movie was obvious, a lot of duh moments and what-the-hell twists that made it irritating. But such things do happen, the movie was well acted if not planned out well, and John Cusack could make the cruddy The Asylum movie company look good if he had to.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.