I’m actually disappointed that I was disappointed by three movies I assumed would at least deliver some entertaining horror fun even if they were films I never needed to see again. After all, these three titles are totally within the realm of subgenres I quite like…when they’re done in ways other than this….
THE CURSE OF DOWNERS GROVE (2015)
Imagine taking a classic bully movie like the 80s flick The New Kids, polishing it with flashy, artsy, modern edits, load it with cold, emotionless new millennium characters, and toss in a small town curse for good measure, and you’ve got The Curse of Downers Grove.
Honestly, I don’t know how I’m supposed to care. This small town believes it has a curse because every year before graduation, a high school senior dies. So 80s The Legend Of Billie Jean queen Helen Slater is like, “Mama’s got a new man and I’m going away for the weekend – have fun kids, and beware the curse!”
Our main girl – Bella Heathcote of Pride and Prejudice and Zombie and The Neon Demon (I’m noticing a trend here of me not liking any horror flick she’s in) – provides an inner monologue expressing her fear of the curse, talks to her peers about the ways in which the curse has claimed naïve teen victims that do stupid things, then…goes to a party with her friend when invited by a pack of dudes they meet on the street.
It’s very easy to not care when shit goes bad and the gang of dudes starts to “terrorize” our main girl, her brother, her female BFF, and her male BFF. The brother plans a big party, inviting the world on social media, the cops shrug off the harassment since kids are monsters and that’s life, and Tom Arnold makes a random appearance to express his concern about the lead bad boy’s football career being ruined because of our main girl. None of these kids seems all that scared or worried that they’re escalating things to a seriously dangerous and violent level. The “good” kids decide to go ahead with the party so they can simply kill the “bad” kids off when the fuckers show up. Just another day of navigating the challenges of teen life in America. Cool.
The twist that comes out of left field at the end was satisfying to me because I had no use for our protagonist anyway. And just in case you missed how awesome the director’s flashy, surreal style is, after the closing credits, you get another pointless montage of it.
There is a plus side. I was exposed to this awesome track by Scavenger Hunt.
Considering the song was featured within the first ten minutes of the film, had I known what I was in for, I would have immediately bailed with my new music discovery.
How hard up are you for another psycho babysitter movie? I guess if you’ve never seen any others, Emelie might wow you, but this is about as generic as this premise gets.
I like the beginning because the psycho (Sarah Bolger of The Lazarus Effect and Crush) kills the real babysitter as she’s walking to the house at which she’ll be working. We then meet the parents, who are clearly miserable together. They leave and…
The babysitter starts allowing the kids to do all the fun, naughty things they’re not supposed to. I felt like I was watching The Cat in the Hat for a while. Eventually, she shows her psycho side, beginning with calling the oldest boy – a tween – into the bathroom while she’s having her period. She does various mean things, but the highlight has to be when she finds a video tape – yes, video tape – of the father fucking another woman, and makes the kids watch it, because this clearly affluent family still has a VCR hooked up to their TV.
Need I go on? The tween kid is pretty resourceful, so it’s all up to him to save his siblings from this crazy bitch. Maybe I was unimpressed because I’m fucking old and have been seeing this scenario play out since the 1900s.
CHOPPING BLOCK (2016)
This comedy slasher is occasionally a bit funny and has a few minutes of slasher potential at the end, but even that ultimately doesn’t pan out. A shame, because the plot synopsis is a goodie.
For an hour of this 80-minute movie, five co-workers – three straight guys, a gay geek, and a female – lament being laid off and hatch a plot to kidnap the boss’s daughter as revenge. The movie so wants to be quirky and quick-witted, but the material just isn’t up to snuff even though the cast totally is, doing its best to deliver the lines as humorously as possible.
With 20 minutes remaining, they kidnap the daughter when they see her walking up the street covered in blood, she mutters an ominous warning of “she’s coming and you’re all going to die,” a huge monster woman who would be absolutely terrifying in any other movie suddenly appears behind a random new face that shows up just to be killed, and then…the movie is pretty much over. Well, not quite. The monster woman kills the gay geek. That’s right. None of the main characters dies except the gay geek.
To summarize, the big man takes away people’s jobs and the gay guy is murdered. Now that’s how you end a movie in Trump’s America! But seriously, this is actually my favorite film in this trio, and I’d watch a sequel in a second because – look at this freaky bitch…