I am often fooled into watching a bad film because the box looked good. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the video store and uttered the phrase “this looks good”, only to get home and be reminded that looks can be deceiving. Rare have been the times when I found a good film packaged in a bad box. It happens, but not that often. Lucky for me, this is one of those times.
Now, there’s really nothing special about this movie, mind you. The film is just a rehash of the plethora of teen slasher flic…s that came along in the late nineties. Films involving a group of teens, a mysterious killer on the loose, and some seriously goofy comedy. Sometimes, however, following the rules is not entirely a bad thing. This particular script involves a dorky kid’s crush on a popular cheerleader, a magic wish-granting totem, and a killer on the loose. What we are looking at is part Jawbreakers, part Scream, and part Final Destination. This is not a movie that surpasses its peers, but it certainly reaches their level.
Sometimes it’s nice to watch a formula film, particularly when it is done well. With the exception of the inevitable role of the “goofy best friend”, this is one of those times. The story is predictable, the characters are one-dimensional, and the scares are sparse. I enjoyed it quite a bit. (Plus, let’s be honest, we get to see Meat Loaf as a bumbling cop. That should be worth the viewing on its own.) This is the perfect Saturday morning mindless flick. Everybody needs a little low-brow entertainment from time to time.
It’s a shame that this soundtrack wasn’t mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1. This is a film that would have gained a lot of credibility if it had been backed with a more advanced soundtrack. The 2.0 offering does the job fine (and actually carries with it a fine dynamic range), but the production is lacking that extra ambient quality that only surround sound can provide.
Dialog is crisp and clear throughout, and the aural punctuation that accompanies some of the big scares works to good effect. The youthful music that serves as the bulk of the score also works well, and adds to the fun nature of the film. Essentially, this is a great 2.0 track, but the film deserved a better format.
One of the aspects that I dread the most on Velocity’s titles is the quality of the video. It is always so painfully bad that it makes the film virtually unwatchable. Surprisingly enough, the picture quality was not an issue on this disc. The image was mostly sharp, and details came through nicely. As this is a teen film, there was lots of color on clothing and props, and the disc handled these challenges well. I didn’t notice any instances of excessive bleed over in the film.
Especially impressive was the use of light, which always proves to be a challenge in horror flicks. On the one hand, the audience must be able to see enough to know what is going on, but on the other hand, you don’t want to give away too much, and ruin the surprises. Nighttime scenes looked great here, especially when it came to exteriors. One scene in particular involves a couple cast members on a golf course at night. This segment is a perfect example of the excellent lighting on the film, as viewers are able to see far off into the distance, yet the shots still convey a sense of dread and the unknown. Good stuff.
As I said before, the problem with this disc is that the studio didn’t give it a fair shot. As a result, there is only one extra included on this disc; a small selection of cast & crew bios. That’s all well and good, but the public needs a little more information than that. Not even so much as a trailer is included. This is one tired effort from the special features department.
This is a case of a film that was probably unfairly perceived by the studio as being worse than it actually is. If this movie would have had the benefit of a more talented creative/marketing department, it would have made much more money, and probably would have actually made some decent coin at the Box Office. Like I said, it’s mindless fluff… but it’s fun. This one is definitely worth a rental, if you are in the mood for a well made by-the-book horror film.
Special Features List
- Cast & Crew Bios