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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Do Not Send This Chain Letter

Chain Letter:  1 out of 5 Stars
Jesse: "Break the chain, lose a life." That's a little intense.
Oh man, this was a movie alright.  I need to hurry up and type this one out quickly, because I might literally forget what happened in it in the next few minutes.  This was a horror film made as if plenty of others hadn't done anything like this ever before, and it proceeds without any sense of irony or satire.  There is no joke to be in on here, instead you have a film trying way too hard and characters shouting things like "he's watching us!" and "I don't wanna die!"  And then you of course have the required amount of gore.  I'm still recalling things about this movie, so brace yourself for more...

The film's ingenious premise involves a group of teenagers who receive a chain letter via e-mails and text messages.  Of course, these aren't just the average chain letters, no sir; these chain letters require the receiver to pass it along to five others or else they will be killed.  The skeptical (and of course attractive) teens involved do not take this very seriously, with most of them just deleting the message; however, that will soon turn into their biggest mistake.  One by one, these teens are hunted down by a hulking and techno savvy killer, who literally uses chains to kill his prey.

I'll give this movie credit for one thing; the opening of the film actually features a deadly situation that escalates well enough, builds a certain amount of tension and somewhat delivers.  As an isolated sequence, it is effective.  Of course, there is also another hour and twenty minutes that follow this, and it's really pretty bad.

The story is amazingly unoriginal, as one could argue for many types slasher films these days, but this one dares to play the entire thing straight.  Basically rehashing plot elements from films like The Ring, Saw, and Friday the 13th (this list could go on), the sketchiest of ideas are assembled to create some kind of story.  The movie also dares to play with social commentary, as it tries to show off an agenda about the use of technology in the world of today.

The cast involved in this film does what they can.  Somehow poor Keith David was roped into playing a detective hot on the trail as these murders stack up.  Betsy Russell pops in as another detective, but I literally can't think of anything she did in this film.  You also have Brad "Don't call me Wormtounge" Dourif staring as a creepy teacher.  The lead role is filled by Nikki Reed, who is apparently in the Twilight movies, so at least she has that to fall back on.

The direction of this film is pretty much what one would expect - overly flashy, seeming more like a bunch of assembled audition footage for a better gig down the road.  There was certainly a budget used for having death scenes, but besides the opening scene that I've mentioned, nothing stands out here.

How did I wind up at this film?  I literally saw the title in a list of movie showtimes, and decided this would be the perfect follow up to walk into after what would be a much better film.  I did as little as I could to find anything out about this movie, knowing only the title, reading a basic premise, and looking at the poster.  As a result, I had a fabulous time sitting with just my friend in an empty theater, watching a terrible film and laughing at its absurdity.

Now I'm sure plenty of fine work was done by all those involved and I wish no ill will towards any of them.  Again, I had a blast watching this terrible movie, for whatever that's worth.  Still, it does in fact suck.  No way around that, this is not a good movie, and you can send that fact around in a letter.

Jesse: We've gotta pass it on!

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