“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, release the one ignored by Heaven. 8, 9, 10 now run and hide or join her at the Devil’s side. 11 comes the clocks will chime, forgotten souls erased by time. Midnight comes, it’s not too late. So kill the ghost and seal your fate.”
Those nursery rhymes can really be a dangerous game in the horror movie scene. You can’t help but be reminded of the jump-rope rhyme that always warned us that Freddie Krueger was about. Now Phase 4 has given us something new to worry about in the above average thriller Forget Me Not, where we’re reminded that “some friendships never die.”
It’s graduation night, and the teens are gathered for the traditional party. Of course, there’s plenty of booze, babes, drugs and sex to be had. But that’s not enough for one group of teens. They begin to remember their early days. They all latch on to a memory of a favorite graveyard game they used to play. That means it’s time to ditch the party and head over to the graveyard for another round of a hide-and-seek game called ghosts. The searcher is called a ghost instead of “it”, and the last one alive wins the round. At the cemetery they meet a stranger who asks if she can join in the game. The group invites her along and the night ends in apparent tragedy when it seems she has jumped from a cliff to certain death. The cops can’t find a body, and the teens leave the night shaken but not quite stirred.
Of course, the girl was no stranger at all. Her name was Angela (Finemore), and she was once a lonely orphanage girl who befriended Sandy (Schroeder) when they were very little. The game was a private thing between them. When she shared it with her other friends, Angela was hurt. So they play a little prank that plunges Angela into a coma. Now her spirit is going to destroy Sandy’s friends one by one. But she doesn’t just kill them. She erases them from time. Each time one of the friends falls victim, the only one who remembers they ever existed is Sandy. Her remaining friends think she’s going crazy, that is until it’s their time to go.
This is actually quite a clever turn on the typical teen slasher formula. The kills aren’t really that spectacular, but they are all preceded by some wild visions. We’re talking Asian horror ghosts. You know the kind. The fast moving distorted figures that populate many of the Asian films and their American remakes. Once they’re gone, they’re really gone. It plays out far more like a psychological thriller for Sandy, but the audience also gets a fix of the kills and ghost stuff.
The film appears to borrow from so many others that it ends up a rather nice patchwork of your best moments from other classics. I’ve already mentioned the Freddie and Asian connections. The graveyard game that appears to summon the evil reminds me a lot of Gravedancers.
Forget Me Not is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The lighting and production values look very good for a budget film. Honestly, I’ve seen a ton of studio films that looked worse. Black levels are above average. Colors all look natural while still presenting plenty of creepy atmosphere, particularly in the graveyard scenes. The film actually becomes darker and grittier in tone as Sandy loses more friends and the mood of the people that are still around her turns more sour.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a somewhat aggressive for a small film. Surrounds deliver wonderful ambient effects, while you still get the dialog where it belongs. The ghost kill scenes show some cool sound design with plenty of unnerving sounds coming at you from all directions.
Deleted Scenes: Includes an extended ending.
The acting is a notch above normal here for this kind of film. There’s something here for each kind of horror fan. Even the slasher fans will get their buckets of blood. The rest of you will get some intelligent horror even if the blood gets too much for you. “Does that wash off?”