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.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

MOVIES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT BUT GET MUCKED UP




Two:Thirteen aka 2wo:Thirteen aka 2:13 (2009)

Try to ignore the title, I did when I decided to watch this movie 'cause I HATE cutsie number titles. And this one had three versions - ugh. Plus it is listed as a horror/thriller when at most it is a psychological thriller - not much 'horror' to it at all and certainly not weird or sick enough (at least for the horror movie fan) to be classified that way. Google seems to agree with me. 

The star of the movie Mark Thompson, who was also the writer, almost had himself a good one here - while skipping a lot of the typical I'm-the-only-guy-in-the-movie-with-brains egotism, he also apparently wrote himself into a corner because approximately midway or so into the movie it starts to fall apart. It almost feels like Thompson knew he had to start spackling things on to get it to stick and it still crumbles. And he makes a BIIIIG error in the end but we'll get to that.

Since he's writing his own character, he gets to be the troubled criminal profiler with a nasty past himself. Coming fresh out of a forced leave, he is immediately confronted with trying to figure out the game of a serial killer. Umm, no. I don't care how good of a profiler you are or anything else - anyone coming 'fresh' off of psychiatric leave is not going to be given ANY assignment - maybe some desk work, maybe research but shoved right back into the field where a serial killer is running rampant? In Thompson's world, yes. 

To his credit though he's not the only sharp knife in the drawer - the other cops (including his partner Jere Burns are not movie stupid and each seems to hold his own at a crime scene, not having to have the inevitable 'Put some gloves on for God's sakes!' screeched at them like other movies where it's one guy who knows his stuff and a bunch of guys in uniform who apparently just graduated from the Police Academy. The movie, not the place.

Oh yeah, here's a picture of Dwight Yoakam as Sandy, a small character part in the movie. Sorry, don't know him and didn't really notice his importance in the story but hey, here ya go.


Spivey's (Mark Thompson) problem: When he was a little boy, his dad was out drunk driving with his mom and they crashed. In Thompson's world, the hospital's way of trying to make his now-deformed mom feel better about herself was to create a mask for her to wear. Oh yeah, I've seen tons of those around (heavy sarcasm abounds) as that was a common medical practice - in no place or time ever.

His mother, who kept the damn thing on 'cause of the scars (I'd prefer the scars thank you) decided that having a drunk husband and a wimp of a boy who can't look at his mom without flinching (no comment) plus not being able to be the prettiest woman on the block is all too much and hangs herself on a ceiling fan. Thompson forgets to write in a way for her to climb up to the fan so we see a woman hanging with no way of getting herself up there. Whoops.

So now we have a serial killer who's putting masks eerily similar to the one Spivey's mother had. That was waaaaay too convenient. The victims all seem random and the clues don't seem to go anywhere. Worse still, the husband of one of the victims whose body wasn't found (Mark Pellegrino) is convinced that somewhere out there his wife is still alive and to prove it, he's been getting emails from her from... somewhere. They work on tracing it to no avail.

Spivey is working hard but still is required in order to stay on the job to see his shrink (a puzzling appearance by Kevin Pollak) who works hard to unravel the big knot that Thompson has written his character into but it's Thompson's game so he gains very little ground.

And people keep dying. Spivey, against his best judgement picks up a previous relationship with his superior, Amanda Richardson (Teri Polo). She almost was a victim of a killer herself which just about killed him but he managed to save her and she genuinely seems to love him.

To Spivey's dismay, this serial killer seems to be performing for his sole benefit and he has no idea why. From the creepy masks, to the seemingly random (but not) victims, and now we get poetry. It's getting complicated. Waaaaay too complicated. This is about the point where you realize that Thompson has a basic thriller going here but he starts packing crap into it like a fat lady packs as much ice cream into a bowl as it can take without breaking (and before you get indignant, the fat lady is me).

We get flashbacks of his awful past, weird flashes of the serial killer and HIS twisted past (apparently no one in this movie had a normal childhood) and little details that Thompson seems to add just to get the movie to keep moving towards a neato conclusion that doesn't quite happen. In fact, just as when you put too much ice cream in a bowl - the bowl's gonna break or the ice cream's gonna melt before you can eat it. In other words, disaster.

And, in the end, it just doesn't work. We're supposed to believe (and this is the ending folks so if you want to see this - stop reading now) that waaaaaay back when Spivey's mom got her mask, the orderly (who was a young man when Spivey was approx. 10-12 years old) who made the mask came from a household where he was tortured by his mom after witnessing her kill his dad, cut him up and bury him in the basement. And she wanders, covered in blood into the streets where the police pick her up - but not before stringing her son up in some complicated Saw-like contraption from the ceiling of the basement, which is where the cops find him when searching the house. Ummm nope, sorry - that's just dumb.

It gets worse. The kid gets adopted and disappears into the system and boom, makes masks at a hospital? The young Spivey doesn't like the mask and rips it off his mom's face which enrages the... uh, guy. Who Spivey apparently forgets completely or he'd have realized the killer was right in front of him for the whole movie - the young husband still hopeful of finding his wife, the still-missing victim of the serial killer. Uh, what? Okay time to call BS on the whole movie and it's a shame 'cause it started well...

So to break it down: When Spivey, who's a grizzled, 50+ chain smoking hard drinking already spanked once cop was a little boy his mom got disfigured and in the hospital was given a mask - by a MAN who made it as he once made masks as a kid to 'hide' himself from his mom and dad fighting before she chopped his dad up. The serial killer, always impotent (it's not my fault to bring this up now, the movie just starts throwing little tidbits at you like it's trying to tie everything together at the last second - which it is) finds out his wife (why would she marry... never mind) is pregnant by another man and goes even more postal than he was.

Long story short (way WAY too late) this MAN who made the mask has been the 40+ husband bugging Spivey through the movie. Whaaaaa? The MAN is in his 40's but Spivey who was at most a pubescent boy is in his 50's? Yeah, that's about when I just said screw it, just finish this damn thing. How? Oh, the guy somehow gets in Spivey's girlfriend's apartment, injects her with a poison that works precisely at 2:13. And she dies. And he knows it. The end.

Doesn't make sense? It should have. But when you write a movie you should never star in it - 'cause like this guy he totally lost track it seems of what he wanted the movie to be and just started making crap up on the spot. And another movie with a number title bites the dust.