- "I've seen that movie too many times already and I know everything that happens and I can't be bothered to labor through it all again at the moment" (Event Horizon)
- "I've never seen that movie and I'll review it one of these days but I know it's going to be dreadful and I just don't feel like dreadful right now" (Nail Gun Massacre)
- "It will most likely be good and perhaps even scary, but I know it's going to be a very, very quiet movie and I'll fall asleep within ten minutes and if I'm going to fall asleep I'd might as well go to bed because my bed is much more comfortable than our Golden Girls couch" (any ghost-flavored Asian horror flick)
- "I wouldn't mind watching that, but it's not horror and I really ought to watch something I can review on my blog, which has taken over every facet of my being" (Sunset Boulevard)
- "The Asylum...Maneater Series...Ghosthouse...After Dark...mehhhhhhhhhh" (any Asylum, Maneater, Ghosthouse, or After Dark title)
Don't ask how my brain wields hammers and/or sits down- just trust me when I say that it does. The point is, life is very hard when it's late and you're kind of tired but not really tired enough to go to bed and you want to watch something but you can't figure out what. Wait! Actually, the real point of this is that last night I watched the direct-to-DVD feature Amusement (2009), a film I hoped would keep me awake and wouldn't be so bad that I wanted to kill myself- yes, sometimes my standards are that low.
Oh, don't act so surprised.
Amusement is an anthology that's not really an anthology; in other words, the film comprises 3 segments which eventually come together in a big, fat, denouement. Not a bad idea. Then again, someone though Crystal Pepsi was a good idea. Which it was. Wasn't it?
Okay, I'm not going to lie: I've never had a Crystal Pepsi. I'm a Diet Coke fan, what can I say? But I saw one once and it was totally futuristic, so it must have been a good idea.
ANYWAY. As the movie begins we meet Shelby (Laura Breckinridge), a young woman going...somewhere...for...some reason or another. Look, let's not get hung up on the details, alright? You need to keep in mind the big picture, which is that Shelby is the passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend. Her boyfriend has an inexplicable boner for convoys. No, not the film, which might be understandable- I mean he's obsessed with being in a convoy, and he spouts dialogue which makes it seem as if 3-car convoys are what all the kids are into nowadays. Merr? The Boyfriend gets even more excited when - GASP! - the entire supermassive three-vehicle convoy stops for gas. Can you feel the excitement?
The Boyfriend introduces himself to one of the other drivers, The Nerd, but they're both ignored by the third driver, The Creepy Trucker. Shelby spots a bug-eyed girl in the window of The Creepy Trucker's rig, and it's obvious that something's just not right. Soon, though, everyone is back on the road, heading through the woods and the something's just not rightness gets amped up when the bug-eyed girl holds up a sign that says HELP ME. Moments later, she's somehow launched out of the 18-wheeler and splats in the middle of the road.
Et cetera et cetera, The Nerd is really the bad guy and he kidnaps Shelby. I'm serious when I say "et cetera et cetera". If I attempted to actually relay the happenings and twists and turns of the segment, all while trying to ignore a little something called LOGIC, my fingers would shrivel with exhaustion and you'd be holding up your own sign asking for help.
Cut to Tabitha (Katheryn Winnick), who shows up at her aunt's house for...some reason to...do something (noticing a trend?). She finds her two nephews home alone- they claim the babysitter just up and left. This is a good enough excuse for Tabitha, who decides to stay the night. Soon, a mysterious stranger shows up at the front door
After he leaves, Tabitha settles in to her aunt's clown room for a little nighty-night sleepy time. What, doesn't every house have a clown room? This one is extra-special because it features a life-size clown with an eeeevil face. Oh, and he's alive.
He eventually chases after Tabitha, but her fate is unknown. Yours isn't, however: you've got another segment to deal with!
Meet Lisa (Jessica Lucas). Lisa is concerned that her cautious roommate went on a one-night stand with some dude from a bar and never came home. She remembers something about the guy, that he's staying in some hotel out in the middle of nowhere or something, so she goes to look for him.
Okay, I'm going to cut through half an hour of bullshit: the guy who runs the "hotel" is also The Nerd, who is also The Big Clown. He's lured Shelby, Tabitha, and Lisa to his headquarters to...exact revenge on them because, as we learn through a clumsy flashback, they did not find his 4th-grade diorama (in which he flayed a rat while it was still alive) funny. All of the scenarios he rigged to capture the girls reflect the subject matter of their 4th-grade dioramas.
Yes, Amusement ultimately revolves around 4th-grade dioramas.
AnyonetimeIdidaFrankensteindiorama, we come to discover that this dude apparently has built the entire town of Silent Hill miles underneath the farmhouse where he's keeping the girls. I can't be fucked to tell you any more than that, other than one of the girls escapes. The entire plot is built on the flimsiest of flimsy slasher movie-style 'revenge for childhood taunting' setups, and if you think about anything you're seeing or what this dude has actually done throughout the film for more than a nanosecond, your logic circuits will surely smoke, spark, and overload. That would be a bad thing.
I will say this: the three girls are decent enough actors. The dude, however, was far more irritating than frightening...and all you need to know about his performance can be summed up with this picture, specifically what's indicated by the helpful yellow arrow I added:
Tongue. See, that's how you know he's ca-RAZY!
Amusement was also nicely photographed, although it might have benefited from, say, 70% fewer dolly shots. But overall, it was pretty.
And pretty fucking ludicrous. Beyond pretty fucking ludicrous, actually...but I stayed awake throughout the entire affair, so I guess that's worth something.