Ah, the urban legend. We've all heard countless tales of people dying when they consume soda and Pop Rocks simultaneously, or that guy who woke up to find "Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light?" scrawled in blood on his wall, or "No really, my sister's friend totally knew this chick who got this cactus from Mexico and then one day she went to the doctor because she had really bad cramps and it turns out that all these spiders that were living in the cactus built a nest inside of her and all these baby spiders came out of her vagina." Good times, good times. Urban legends have long provided fodder for horror movies- horror movies like, uh, Urban Legend, Urban Legends: The Final Cut, and Urban Legends: Bloody Mary.
Fingerprints (2006) is supposedly based on one of these tall tales, but it's a new one to me: if you put your car in neutral on these train tracks where a bunch of kids died in an accident, the ghosts of the children will push your car to safety and leave behind ghostly fingerprints on your car windows. It all seems plausible to me- kids are always leaving filthy, greasy fingerprints everywhere in life, so why not in the afterlife?
In 1957 in an unnamed small town, a bus full of smiling, singing children meets the business end of a train when the guard and signal light at the track crossing fail. Ever since that dark and stormy night, the citizens of Unnamed Town have experienced a strange phenomenon at the site of the accident: if you put your ear to the train tracks, you can just make out the faint strains of Carol Channing singing "Hello, Dolly!"
No wait, sorry. What I meant was, if you put your car in neutral on the tracks, it'll roll off. Not nearly as exciting as Carol Channing, but still.
Melanie (Leah Pipes) arrives in Unnamed Town fresh out of rehab, ready to start life afresh and reunite with her bitch-cuckoo mom, her pushover-whipped dad, and her bland-hot sister (Kristin Cavallari). Boy, lemme tell ya, kicking heroin was a walk in the park compared to life in Unnamed Town for poor Melanie! Kids in school are mean because she's an ex-druggie, this one boy from school totally tries to rape her, and this little mute girl named Julie keeps following her everywhere.
As you could expect from any teenage girl, Melanie decides to solve The Mystery of Julie. Over several days of wacky adventures, she digs around the abandoned bus depot, talks to the town drunk, sees messages written in blood in various places, and chats with Sally Kirkland. It turns out that Julie is Sally Kirkland's sister- and one of the children who died in the horrible bus accident all those years ago! It might have been a shocking twist if we hadn't seen Julie riding the bus at the beginning of the film.
And yes, I'm calling Sally Kirkland Sally Kirkland instead of her character name, because it's just better that way.
Lest ye think you've got it all figured out, however, Fingerprints continues to deliver twists and turns, oh my brothers and sisters. Someone, you see, is killing the teenagers of Unnamed Town...who could it be?
It's someone in a train conductor's outfit, that's who! Yup: after about a half hour of...well, nothing, Fingerprints turns into a slasher film. Melanie continues to get her Columbo on and finds out a bunch of crap that makes only a little sense: the bus accident never happened, someone was actually killing children back in 1957, there was some Nightmare on Elm Street-style justice, something about building highways and knocking down depots, and Sally Kirkland sports an "I do declare!" southern accent for no apparent reason.
All in all, it's a terribly dull affair. There's not much action to be found, and what little there is is decidedly unscary. The town history is convoluted, the ghosts don't do much, the slasher-style killings are cheesy, and the effects range from "meh" to "worst fake blood ever" to "holy shit, I totally forgot we're filming the graveyard scene today- someone run to Hobby Lobby, buy some styrofoam, and make some gravestones stat!"
Believe me, I'm all for movies with super-fake gravestones...unless the movie is just plain boring, as is Fingerprints. The only time I sat up and really took notice of the goings-on- and I mean literally sat up- happened in the last 15 seconds of the film. After yet another twist that made zero sense, there was this shot of a car swerving all over the road (due to, you know, terror)...but the footage was sped up and I swear, it looked like something straight out of Benny fucking Hill. It was an incredibly bizarre choice by the filmmakers, and probably the highlight of the movie.
Given the general suckitude of this flick, it should come as no surprise that it lingered on the shelf for a couple of years: though it was produced in 2006, it was released on DVD only yesterday.
Oh my God, I heard about this girl? Who watched a horror movie that totally stunk and she was so bored the whole time! She ate a piece of cake, though, while she watched it and the cake was good. And then spiders came out of her vagina, I swear! I know her roommate.