17 December 2008


This was a made for TV movie, for the Sci-Fi Channel, and therefore one goes into it prepared for the worst. And while the worst is not what I got it was pretty close. What makes a flop like this more unendurable than last post’s Killer Pussy is that a film like Ogre takes itself way too seriously. The non-actors all try to act as if their lives depended on it and even TV veterans like John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazard) just are to stuffy and serious to enjoy what could have been a bit of camp fun. And there is some fun to the movie and I can recommend it half heartedly.

The inhabitants of 1850’s Ellensford Pennsylvania are dying off from a mysterious plague. Luckily all Amish looking farming communities of the time possessed at least one black magician who happens to be the second in power. The evil magus is Henry Bartlett (Schneider) and like all God-fearing communities of the 19th century stricken by a contagious disease they make a deal with Satan to rid themselves of the threat. Of course there is a catch and each year one member of the stricken community must be feed to an Ogre that is kept locked up in cellar in the woods. Also, the townspeople can never die until the Ogre eat s them or they step outside a protective circle around the town, nor can they ever reproduce. They simply stay the same age and one by one are eaten by the Ogre. What a bargain.

What can be done to remedy the situation? How about bitter and cynical modern day teenagers who have come into the woods looking for Ellensford? The hamlet has become something of an urban myth in the local community and one of the teens is out to prove its existence. He never gets the chance since he breaks his ankle and is left behind with his girl friend while the film's “leads” Mike ( Ryan Kennedy) and Jessica (Catherine Isabelle) head off to find help. Which they do when they just happen to stumble upon the town trapped in time itself, Ellensford. Exactly why they are able to find the town at that moment and no one for over a 150 has been able to is beside the point. The main thing is that these two are so totally unlikeable and irritating you could carfe less if the monster killed them off or not. Why do modern teenagers in films have to be so pissed off and rude constantly? What is the point of that? Jessica’s only mission in life is too break Mike’s balls and belittle him whenever the opportunity arises, and the asinine prick deserves every snide remark the adolescent witch throws at him. Left behind to find for themselves the other teenage malcontents soon meet the fearsome ogre, a poorly done CGI animation that would fit well in a Shrek type cartoon, but not in a modern film along side real people. The ogre just does not look scary unless you think big bald, pot bellied monsters with man boobs are scary.

The movie spends way too much time with the villagers trying to act by arguing and disagreeing with one another in little town meetings. The film has some of the elements of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, the elements about people in a rural village that reeks of Puritanism facing some evil curse that seeks to destroy them. The qualities that Orge lacks regarding that Shyamalan's film is decent dialog, believable acting and some sense of genuine suspense or tension. I just never liked or cared about what happened to any of these people. After 150 something years Bartlett’s daughter Hope (Chelan Simmons) figures it is time to oppose her warlock father and the ogre and break the curse. The influence of the two outsiders (the two brats) has given the townspeople the strength and direction they have lacked all this time.

The film concludes basically the way you think it will, with the ogre losing a battle with the magically gifted Hope and the town being set free of the curse, and therefore vanishing, and the two whiners walking off together down the country road. Schneider’s character is killed off half way through the film removing any real antagonism that could have developed between his character and the outsiders. The villagers are simply easy pickings for the ogre and the death scenes are gory enough but could have been more so. One of many issues I had with the story was while the villagers and teens are walking through the sparsely treed woods the ogre always appears ten or so feet behind them as if they cannot see or hear a fifteen foot ogre until it is too late. And the ogre is simply laughable. It is barely better than what you would see on any video game these days.

I am not saying do not see it. I am just saying it is more boring and plodding than scary and the monster is something we never connect with. I feel the monster in a film like this is as important as the people it is killing off. This thing shows up with bitch tits bouncing, pulls off a head and vanishes. There are too many loop holes. How many people lived in this tiny town decimated by a killer plague that has had one person a year sacrificed for 150 years and lack the ability to reproduce? I wonder if the makers had simply left off the entire modern day teenager plot and kept the story in the past and had the villagers of that time deal with the problem if it may have worked better? The ogre is cheesy but that is not the real problem with this film. Just too many cliches and all bad cliches at that, handled in a way that tries to be way too serious. How serious can your story be when the murderous monster looks like a naked Uncle Fester in a loin cloth?

1 comment:

  1. Great write-up. I had never seen this one. I catch quite a few movies from Sci Fi Channel, but somehow missed this one. Maybe that's a good thing though. :-)