To be honest, I really don’t feel like watching and writing about another horror movie. Don’t get me wrong, I like horror, I am just getting a little burnt out on it lately. Not to mention that most movies in the genre are uninspired pieces of garbage that have no business being viewed by anyone, ever. To save you from making some of the same mistakes I have, I will be writing a little bit about several movies that you should make a point to steer clear of at all costs.
The best thing about Ankle Biters is trying to describe it to you friends. A movie about a town that becomes overrun with midget vampires who are trying to get an ancient sword so that can make regular size vampires...how could this possibly be anything but amazing? The problem, of course, is production value. Imagine if a 4 year old kid got drunk, grabbed an old VHS video camera and just started running around filming. Do you have that image in your head? Well that still can’t prepare you for how this movie turned out. Most of the time you have to just guess what everyone is talking about because the audio is almost nonexistent. Save yourself the time of watching this movie, and just enjoy the fine tagline instead.
“Three feet tall! Two inch fangs!”
Kids today will hear “Jigsaw” and automatically think of the villain from the Saw movies, but two years before Cary Elwes was hacking off his own leg, the real Jigsaw was making terrible movies. Jigsaw is the story of a group of college art students who are given a very unusual project. They are all given different pieces of a skeleton and must decorate the piece as they see fit. I think each piece is supposed to represent part of the student’s fears, but who can be sure. Like most classes I attended in college, the teacher has the students gather at a bar in the middle of nowhere to present their work. They quickly assemble the newly decorated body, name him Jigsaw, and then set him on fire. Jigsaw ain’t no sucker though, and he comes to life and begins killing the students.
No gore, no nudity, no budget. I at least give the movie credit for having our monster come to life for no good reason. Jigsaw wasn’t struck by lightning, dropped in radioactive material, or covered in the blood of Satan. Jigsaw just kind of exists. One good point is not enough to erase another wasted evening watching this terrible waste of celluloid.
Unlike the first two films I wrote about today, this was actually a very well received film. House of the Devil is the story of a young girl, Samantha, who needs money for her new apartment. She sees a sign about a babysitting job and she decides to call. Once at the house she finds out that the job is actually to babysit for a couple’s invalid mother. Samantha tries to back out, but the couple offers her more money, so she takes the job. Then shenanigans occur, demonic rituals take place, blah blah blah.
This film was set in, and painstakingly shot like, the horror films of the early 1980’s. To the filmmaker’s credit, it is freakishly accurate to films of that era. The well crafted visual style is the biggest thing that separates this movie from Jigsaw or Ankle Biters. What House of the Devil has in common with those other two movies is that hardly anything happens. I cannot remember the last time I was as bored watching a movie as when I watched House of the Devil. I mean you would think that at the devil’s house crazy shit would be happening all the time, but it feels more like an evening at Shady Groves Retirement Village.
You should probably try and watch at least one of these movies just so you can say you watched it, and as much as it pains me to say it, House of the Devil is probably the best of the three, but that is still a long ways from anything that I would call good. So if you find yourself at a video store this coming Halloween weekend, don’t just blindly pick out a movie because the box looks cool, or the premise sounds interesting. Do your research, or you may get stuck with werewolves in wheelchairs, filmed with someone’s cell phone.
Written by Drew Martin