Hack Jobs

After revisiting the Ginger Snaps series, I was inspired to check out a couple of other films with actress Katharine Isabelle who was so great in that series and American Mary.  This, despite the fact that both of these sub-genres -- home invasion and straight-up slasher -- are not my particular "bag."  Oh, the things a man will put himself through for a pretty face...

"Who's the leader of the gang that's made for you and me?  C-R-E, E-P-Y M-O-U-S-E!"

"What have I done to deserves this... movie?"

Torment - 2012
Written by Michael Foster & Thomas Pound
Directed by Jordan Barker

Torment is a fairly unadorned home invasion flick, which is really little more than a slasher with the personalized paranoia of viewer vulnerability.  The threat of home invasion is Bible Truth for a large percentage of Americans.  Unfortunately, it's about as factual as the Bible, and believed by many of the same people.  But hey!  At least it sells more guns!  And shut your commie mouth about guns in the home being a greater statistical threat (BY FAR) than home invasion.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, Torment.  So a newlywed couple and their son (from the widower father's previous marriage) head out to the house in the woods, because that's how these things happen.  As they're settling in, they discover that "Someone's been sleeping in MY bed!" while the house has been empty.  The sheriff comes out and essentially suggests that these things are bound to happen if you don't take better care.  As it turns out, the someone who's been sleeping in their bed is still there.  So much for checking out the house.

Throughout this first part of the film, the director actually does a halfway decent job of building some menace and tension.  There's the evident threat from the strangers, and there's also a somewhat well handled story about the young son's mistrust of his new stepmother.  Dad actually makes some mature choices, parenting his child and calming his bride's fears.  I actually had some hope at this stage.

Then, that night, the boy disappears, leaving shredded stuffed animals behind.  They assume that he's run off and go to look for him.  Everything after this is pretty much what you'd expect and I'm not going to summarize it.

This guy got off lucky
It turns out there are four kidnappers/killers, each wearing the head of one of young Liam's over-sized stuffed animals.  It's a suitably creepy effect, if overly evocative of the masks in You're Next.  Despite just having decapitated the stuffed animals, they treat the heads as though they have always been their identities, and never ever have any problem seeing through them.  In fact, the murderous "family" of killers are entirely overpowered, on top of outnumbering their victims, and the film paces its deaths poorly.  The horror trope of the bad guy suddenly appearing behind you is beaten more severely than any victim or killer in Torment.  As many bad choices as characters make, it's really irrelevant when some big hurkin' dude can silently circle all the way around you unseen and creep up behind you unheard, defying all logical sensibility.

Torment desperately wants to turn it's "family" of killers into a thing, thus accounting for the way that most if not all of them escape both death and police custody at the end.  Unfortunately, they're based on a stupid premise and reveal no actual personality.

Katharine Isabelle is completely wasted here, as are Act 1 efforts at establishing a story.  Make your own joke about "Torment" and the experience of watching it.

Kane's Back -- GET IT?  I WISH the movie were that clever.

And his front.  Can we go back to the back?
See No Evil 2 - 2014
Written Nathan Brookes & Bobby Lee Darby
Directed by Jen & Sylvia Soska

So you know how I just slagged Torment?  I don't want to take any of it back, but I need a much deeper yardstick to measure the suckage of See No Evil 2. I had low, low expectations going in, but I thought maybe there was a chance that the Soska Sisters could but a twist on it after American Mary.  But no, it was just a slasher with an overinflated impression of its ability to challenge Jason Voorhees in a Jason-Off.  As there is exactly ONE surprise in the film, I see no sense in summarizing, and will instead share a few of the thoughts that occurred to me as I endured this cinematic abortion.

The film is produced by WWE films (yes, that fake wrestling show is diversifying -- but not by much) and ultimately serves as a vehicle for one of their fake wrestlers (given that he kills everyone else).  It's pretty bad when an angry slab of hate-meat can't play an angry piece of hate-meat with conviction.  He pretty much behaves the way I'd expect fake wrestlers to behave at home, based on their sociopathic fake wrestling characters.  Evidently WWE owns the fake wrestlers "Kane" identity, so maybe it's not really big dumb guy who's the terrible actor, but "Kane" the fake wrestling character who's terrible, and big dumb guy who signed his identity away in a contract who plays him as a terrible actor.  And isn't signing your identity away a form of slavery?  Given the Tea Party's support of Linda McMahon's political ambitions, I suppose that tracks.

Whew!  Glass is unbreakable, right guys?  GUYS?
The murder character clearly has an IQ of no more than 80, and I'm just trying to be generous about that.  Whether that's the actor, the character of "Kane" or the killer character than "Kane" plays, I'm not entirely sure.  Perhaps all three of them had to team up to act that stupid.  And yet, despite all this stupidity on display, he's somehow able to predict the movements of others, think 3 steps ahead, and yet still be everywhere that they think of going, but only when they think of going there.  This isn't any freakin' Hannibal Lecter mastermind here.  He's a mental defective raised on even more mentally defective religious psychosis.

And sure, the guy is a burly, seven foot mass of muscle, but none of that makes him a goddamn shadow ninja or part cheetah, yet somehow, after being pumped full of embalming fluid, he manages to sprint 100+ yards faster than a Volvo, and noiselessly go from behind a character to behind him again.  Oh yeah, that embalming fluid.  Just one of the many things that should have killed him but didn't.  You have not earned the surprise when you betray physical reality that way.

You know exactly what happens with the next match
You know how you wanted a GI Joe or a Star Wars figure as a kid and some well-meaning but unaware relative got you Hero Soldier or Space Fighter?  That's what this is to Friday the 13th, except that Friday the 13th was never Star Wars or even GI Joe in the first place.  It was the Hero Soldier to Halloween, which sucked in the first place, making See No Evil the Fight Guy to Hero Soldier.

It's roid rage presented as a character, with all the withered nutsack and delightful personality traits to match.  And that's just "Kane."  The killer character is a couple notches up from that. 

I find it interesting that the first Seen No Evil (which I have not seen and will not see) was directed by Gregory Dark, formerly of the weirdo porn producing team, the Dark Brothers (New Wave Hookers), and See No Evil 2 was directed by the weirdo horror producing team (with edgy sexual themes), the Soska Sisters (Dead Hooker in a Trunk).  Porn would be more honorable than this ugly, stupid, nihilist garbage.

Paging Dr. Buxom
The film starts with the meek morgue worker pining for his hot co-worker, and they end up being the last two alive.  Despite working there, the dead guy knows his way around better than they do.  But while they are the last two alive, they finally share that kiss.  I couldn't help wondering how that might have worked out for them...

"Grandma, tell us again how you met!"

"Well, I was working in the morgue and Grampa worked there with me."

"No, Grandma, not how you met, but how you fell in love!"

"Oh, that old story.  Well, as you know, we were working there one night when the unkillable slab of angry hate-meat was brought in..."


"And then he murdered my brother and all my slutty friends and our co-worker, Wheelchair Guy, and it was just so romantic, I knew we'd be together for the rest of out lives!"

Grandma wasn't far off about that.

In fact, the only surprise in the movie is that Sexy Morgue Doctor gets killed before Meek Morgue Worker.  Now you know so I've spoiled the movie for you, and saved your sanity.

Best "effect" in the movie
Now, because I believe in fairness, I will say this.  Katharine Isabelle is a lot of fun in her scenes as the Perverted Slutty Girl with her boyfriend Greasy Guy.  Times have changed and there's more than one slutty girl in slashers nowadays.  There's also a Sad Slutty Girl who crushes on Overprotective Patriarchal Brother.

I should have just walked away once the dead slab of angry hate-meat arose, because the movie had nothing fun to offer after that point.  The movie picks up immediately after See No Evil, which came out EIGHT years ago, and it's desperately obvious about thinking it deserves to become a series.  It doesn't.  Don't allow that.  You are a bad person if you give this movie your money.

Ugh.  Fuck this shitty movie.  Fuck "Kane" and fuck Vince McMahon.



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