Julian Morris is the new guy at an exclusive high school. Exclusive, presumably, because all the students look five to ten years too old to be high school students. At any rate, he falls in with the hip crowd, led by ice queen Lindy Booth, and they decide to play a game with the rest of the student body by sending out a hoax e-mail leading all and sundry to believe that a serial killer is loose on campus. But then it begins to appear that there IS a killer, and that he isn’t too happy about …he hoax.
The premise is good, one that makes a real attempt to play off our more paranoid fantasies about text messaging and related technologies. The opening scene, where the killer finds the victim in the woods by calling her cell phone and making it ring, is inspired. The resolution of the mystery is much less so, with the film attempting two rather hackneyed twists, both of which are amply telegraphed. The other problem is how enormously unsympathetic the characters are. One can’t wait to see them start to die. Unfortunately, one has to.
Right off the start, plenty of sinister environmental effects kick in for the stalking-through-the-woods scene. And from then on, whenever there’s the opportunity, the surround does its business in high style. The mix is good and loud, and the music score is very lively. The dialogue sounds fine, and is never submerged by other sounds going on. A very solid 5.1 surround mix all in all.
There are a couple of moments of darkness where it becomes rather hard to make out what is going on, but this seems to be a factor of the film itself, rather than the transfer. The image is extremely sharp, and has no grain or edge enhancement difficulties. The colours are very strong, though perhaps a bit too much so – there is a rather overpowering orange tint to the proceedings during the daylight scenes. The aspect ratio is a generous 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
Director/co-writer Jeff Wadlow, producer/co-writer Beau Bauman and editor Seth Lewis Gordon turn in commentary tracks for the feature, the deleted/extended scenes (of which there are three) and the alternate scene. Their talk is enthusiastic and informative. Their short features “Manual Labor” and “The Tower of Babble” are also provided, which is a very nice touch. More commentary turns up for the casting reels, and finally there’s a featurette about set design. The menu’s main screen, intro and transition to the film are animated and scored.
One gets a sense that this was a real labour of love. Certainly, there’s plenty of energy here. The filmmakers haven’t hit the ball out of the park on this one (or even as far as second base), but maybe next time.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Alternated Scene with Optional Commentary
- “Manual Labor” and “The Tower of Babble” Short Films
- Casting Reels
- Set Design Featurette