Sunday, October 28, 2007

Simon Says

Director: William Dear
Writer: William Dear
Producer: Ernie Lively
Starring: Crispin Glover, Margo Harshman, Greg Cipes, Carrie Finklea, Kelly Vitz, Artie Baxter
MPAA Rating: NR
Running time: 83 min
Country of Origin: USA
read my spoiler disclaimer

reviewed by Andrew James
at Toronto After Dark Festival

      Quite possibly the worst movie I have seen all year, Simon Says takes the "slasher in the woods" genre, hangs it up by its feet and disembowels anything that might be a positive aspect about that type of movie. Writer/director William Dear has had some generally positive, family films in the past such as Harry and the Hendersons (one I remember quite fondly) and Angels in the Outfield. So now he comes along with his own low-budget brand of horror; of which I can find no redeeming qualities.

      It's your typical slasher opening. A group of dumb teenagers driving out to the middle of nowhere stop for gas at a rundown shack and upset the owner something fierce. This owner is actually two people; a set of twins played by Crispin Glover and Crispin Glover. One of the twins is semi-retarded and their boring childhood past is dealt with a bit throughout the movie. The teens finally come to their campground and the set of twins stalks and kills them off one at a time in reportedly fun ways. That's about it.

      So you might say, "hey, I'm a fan of these typical, fun slasher genre pictures and how can anything with Crispin Glover playing multiple psycho-killer roles go wrong?" Well, I'll tell you. First off, the acting. Now I'm not expecting anything Oscar worthy of course or even nit-picking here; but c'mon, is there anyone you could've gotten who at least looks like they might've had some experience with acting? A bit part in the high school musical playing a tooth would be a start. It's not even dialogue that is all that cheesy or laughable (well, for a while). It's typical, teenage, horror film banter that could've worked for a laugh or two had the actors not been so incompetent.

      So then you have Crispin Glover as the multiple-role killer. This was the one aspect of the movie I had hoped would ratchet it up a notch from your typical, low-budget crap fest as I am somewhat of a Crispin GLover fan. Unfortunately I was wrong. Glover seems to be having some fun, but his odd accent and unheartfelt attempt at quirky craziness just didn't work too well and bordered on annoying by the end. One film goer remarked that he sounded like old man pedophile from the "Family Guy" television series. The character is not scary or even intimidating; he's just stupid.

      The kills should at least be worthwhile as in the trailer it shows multiple deaths by flying pick-axes. Too bad the pickaxe scenes were completely unconvincing, preposterous and held no tension to the scenes whatsoever. Nevermind the fact that there are literally hundreds of pickaxes seemingly flying out of nowhere. How about the fact that no one noticed these giant contraptions set up all over the forest while hiking around, having sex, jogging, gathering firewood, etc? When it all goes down, you see Glover standing behind some sort of make shift scope contraption (think tail gunner in a WWII bomber) and turning a crank. Cut to a guy running through the woods with CGI pickaxes flying all around him. The entire scene is so devoid of any tension that's damn near laughable if it wasn't so sad. The victim actor barely makes any attempt to avoid the axes, because presumably he can't actually see them while the actually shooting of the film is taking place. This same, basic sequence happens twice twice to two of the main characters.

      Then just to up the body count, there appears out of nowhere, a secondary group of campers who are just a few guys out to play paintball (apparently against no one). They are there for no other reason than to have some more lame kills. This stunt did nothing but anger my keen, movie going sensibilities.

      Couple all this with an attempt at a cheesy love relationship near the end during a "climactic" dinner sequence that reminded me a bit of the dreadful film, Hannibal, minus quality acting, a budget and storyline. The audience erupted in laughter at the sheer implausibility and ridiculousness of the scenario and dialogue. Me? I could barely keep from throwing my Coca-cola at the screen and shouting for my money back.

      There are two memorable scenes that were worthy of some fun. Both of these scenes are quite literally about three seconds each and neither one of them required a human presence on screen. A dog stomping and a corpse used as a CD player were the two highlights and I just ruined them both for you. But like I said, spoiling the film by mentioning a three second sequence I think says a lot about the entirety of the movie. Not to mention these two shots weren't exactly gems, they were just small flickers from the candle of hope in this otherwise dark mineshaft of a movie.

      Steer clear. This isn't even one of those films that can be laughed at for its badness. Uwe Boll films are perfect for that sort of thing. Simon Says is nothing but dreadful and is easily the worst movie I've seen in 2007. Save your pennies, save yourselves. Simon says don't waste two hours of your life with this movie.

Press "PLAY" to watch the trailer

Links: - full cast and crew
Official Site
FLIXSTER profile for Simon Says

Posted by Andrew James in

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