Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skeleton Man (2004)

This is really the worst of the worst. This movie is so boring. There is absolutely no story whatsoever. I swear, there was no script. It's just a guy in a cheap skull mask and an even cheaper black cape killing people, most of whom we're not introduced to until they're killed. Sometimes Skeleton Man is on foot; sometimes he's on a horse. That's really it. And it's all in daylight in the woods, so every shot looks like every other. This movie could have been five minutes, and it still would have been too long.

A military team led by Michael Rooker is out looking for some army guys who have gone missing. We get that horrible scene where the team members introduce themselves to each other. But it happens when they're already out in the field. Didn't they meet earlier when the team assembled back in civilization? Wouldn't that have been the time for introductions? Or during the ride in whatever vehicle took them to the woods? In addition, as each person introduces himself or herself, his or her name appears on the screen, with the sound effect of a typewriter typing the name. As if this is really important information (it's not).

They're in the middle of the woods. They go to great pains to explain this is the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization. But suddenly there is a scene where a guy walks out of the woods and steals a truck, and then the truck explodes. Then back to the woods. No explanation.

The group finds two people. One of the men pulls an ID from one of the people and then announces, "Deer poachers." Wait, what, does it say "deer poacher" on his driver's license? Or did he have a special Deer Poacher business card made up? It doesn't matter. Skeleton Man kills both of them a moment later.

This movie is a complete pile of shit. I've never been less involved in a film than this one, never been less interested in what might happen. And it's so poorly shot and edited. Like we see the group from the killer's perspective, and the shot is above them, from a distance. As if the killer is in a tall tree. Then we get a reverse shot of the killer, and he's on the flattest ground imaginable. Nothing cuts together. A guy is fishing (even though we're in the middle of nowhere, some guy has come out here to fish), and he's seated at the top of a waterfall. He must have a very long line. Anyway, he's attacked from the front - so the weapon must have come from somewhere above the water. But again, in the reverse shot, Skeleton Man is on his horse in the woods. Were the filmmakers even trying?

I just have one question: Why, Michael Rooker? Why? Why? Why? What dirt did the director have on him to get him to sign onto this piece of shit? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Dear Frederick Bailey, so-called writer of Skeleton Man, if I ever meet you, I am going to smack you across the face. And you know you deserve it. In fact, if you're reading this (if you're able to read), please go ahead and smack yourself. Hard. And again. Also, Johnny Martin, director of Skeleton Man, you deserve to be beaten and humiliated in front of everyone you've ever known. Actually, you should be forced to eat every copy of this DVD.

Everyone should avoid this movie. There is nothing good about it. Nothing.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jolly Roger: Massacre At Cutter's Cove (2005)

Oo-wee, what an incredible mess. I had given up on this film before the opening credits were finished. That's due to the fact that there is the worst rock music playing over them - toward the end of the credits, the music becomes a blatant rip-off of an AC/DC song. And the title sequence itself is incredibly annoying, like a cheap, shitty version of something from That '70s Show.

Anyway, the film opens with a group of teenagers camping on the beach. Right away we get the annoying "get a room" line when two of them are cuddling. (I call for an end to using that line, not just in films but also in real life.) And then the game starts: Who is the worst actor of this film? A case can be made for every single one of them. But early front-runners are the guy that plays Tom and the woman who plays his girlfriend. They have some dialogue about ghost stories that is unbelievably laughably bad. Granted, it is not just their delivery that is atrocious, but the lines themselves.

Meanwhile the two that went looking for a room instead find a treasure chest. In fact, the guy says, "Hey, check it out, it looks like a treasure chest." Indeed. Inside it, he finds a human skull, which he plays with for a moment, then throws into the ocean. Typical response to finding a human skull. But both of them are killed soon, so whatever. The girl does take her top off before getting killed, which is sort of nice. And she smiles at the pirate just before he kills her, which is sort of weird. Yeah, the killer is a pirate.

Another couple back at the campsite are talking about college. Alex tells his girlfriend Jessie that he doesn't want to go to college. He's saved up money and is going to buy a boat. Holy shit, what job did he have during high school? I worked all through high school, but there was no way I had enough money for a boat. Not even a canoe. Anyway, he gives Jessie his school ring, and says this sweet bit of dialogue: "Yeah, my mom just got it for me. I don't really like wearing these things, but I love you, and I want you to have it." Seriously.

The guy playing Tom really wants the "worst actor of the film" award, and to get it, he actually runs toward the pirate after the pirate kills his girlfriend, then stands there waiting to be killed with a perfectly retarded look on his face. Incredible.

Bad acting is far from being the film's sole problem. One scene I love is the What The Fuck Time Is It scene. It starts in a room where there are three clocks on the wall behind some guy. Now usually when there are multiple clocks, it has to do with different time zones. However the three clocks are set to 8:40, 12:20 and 5:40. Sorry, time zones don't go in twenty minute increments. The secretary has her own clock. Hers says 10:35. And when the guy moves over to another clock, it says 4:56. Now the entire scene takes place in only a few minutes. So you too can play What The Fuck Time Is It.

There is also the Miraculous Surveillance Footage scene. After the pirate kills a couple of people in a strip club, the cop asks to see the surveillance tape. So the club manager pops the tape in. First of all, the point of view of the surveillance camera is that of someone at a table in the club - it actually looks up at the stripper. Then it cuts to a point-of-view shot of the pirate approaching her. And the camera moves. It's incredible. The tape not only gets multiple angles, but has been magically edited together to mimic the scene we just saw.

The cop keeps watching the tape in fast forward. He then squints, as if he's catching something we might have missed. But we never learn what that thing might have been. By the way, none of the police work is the least bit believable in this film. I love the incompetent cop. The main cop tells him, "Do the best you can." He says that to him at least three or four times.

The cops think that Alex and perhaps Jessie killed their friends. And they continue to think this even after several other witnesses back up their story about the pirate. In fact, even after the main cop has watched the surveillance tape, he still warns the female cop to not approach Alex until backup arrives. This doesn't make a lick of sense.

Meanwhile Alex and Jessie try to solve these crimes by getting on the internet at their high school. When she logs on, Jessie exclaims, "I'm in!" as if she'd cracked some code at the Pentagon. By the way, the girl who plays Jessie is a prime candidate for Worst Actor Of The Film. She loves doing her out-of-breath thing, even if she's only run like two feet or is looking at pirates on the internet. Clearly, everything exhausts her.

The pirate is killing the descendants of the town's founders. How convenient that the descendants all live in the same town, and still have the same last names. So stupid.

So what's good? There is one good moment in the strip club where a stripper gives the pirate a lap dance. She says, "Is that a musket in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" He replies, "Aye, it's a musket." That's actually funny. And it's the only intentionally funny bit in the entire film.

The mayor character is wonderful - well, when she's in focus, that is. I'm not sure how she was elected mayor. She's clearly bonkers. And yes, the focus puller was on acid ("Sure, it's in focus. In fact, things have never been more in focus for me. I am the camera"). Just one more problem in a film full of problems.

Jolly Roger: Massacre At Cutter's Cove was directed by Gary Jones.