100 min., 2008
Written by Erik Jendresen/Thomas Schnauz
Directed by Tony Krantz
My rating: ★★
What a let down
* * *
Our story begins with a girl in a bed and a man calling her. He talks about taking her to the prom and stuff, she finally tells him that she’s had enough. We find out that she is chained to the floor and is being filmed. She smears some stuff on the cameras, which causes the man to get pissed. He goes down to the room where she is being held. She tries to escape but is killed. We then meet the Lawson family. We have mother and father (Illeana Douglas and Daniel Stern), their daughter Riley (Ashley Johnson), who is a perfect student, and their son Reed (Jared Kusntiz) who is the “normal” outcast teen. After a little bit of meeting the family, the kids leave for school. Standing outside the house is the man from before, by the way his name is Otis (Bostin Christopher). He kidnaps Riley and takes her to the room where the first girl was.
Most of the time I ignore or just try to avoid movie trailers before I see a movie. Sometimes though, you put in a DVD and a trailer comes on and you are caught before you can press next, or there are one’s that you can’t even skip anymore. Well this one caught me before I could run away, but boy the trailer looked really cool. Suckered again!!! The only good thing about a trailer is to show off all the good parts of the movie and to leave out the bad parts and that’s exactly what this one did.
The acting is just okay in the movie. The standout is Ashley Johnson and Bostin Christopher. They both are really good and really over shadow everyone else. Jere Burns, who played the FBI agent (yes I forgot his name because I just didn’t really care), is probably one of the worst. This could be in part, because his dialogue was just so crappy that you just couldn’t help but think he was a shitty actor.
Well, you have some of the worst written characters in this movie. First I want to bring up Reed, Riley’s brother, who we are supposed to believe, really cares for his sister, but he takes video footage of her in her underwear to put on his website. Now that’s just creepy. Then the parents, they give him no real punishment for what he did. Great parenting, assholes! The whole family dynamic of them is just stupid. The FBI agent who is consistently talking about the kidnapper/killer and calling him a pedophile, even though he isn’t remotely one (bad writing? perhaps?).
Now is my main problem with the movie. Soundtracks used to be there to push a movie along or be part of the background for added emotion. In recent years, the soundtrack is now the movie itself, and this is a prime example. From the get go, you have a whole song played over everything that’s going on, and part of the time you can’t even make out what’s being said by the actors. Then you have about 2 minutes of dialogue, and then it’s back to another full song. It’s like the movie is actually MTV, VH1, Fuse or Havoc with some attempt at dialogue in-between each video. Soundtracks are not supposed to be the main focus of a movie, if I wanted that I could always watch some music video channel, and when I watch a horror movie, that’s not what I’m looking for. Fuck you, and your cat!Have You Read...?