This film is really slammed on the net but I did not think it was a total waste of time. Mrs. Uranium Willy and I had a fairly good time with it. There are some issues and I will deal with those but this production from a Canadian film crew lead by director Robert Wilson is in no way poorly put together. The photography and score are above average for a low budget horror genre film and the acting, led by “Lolita” Dominique Swain, is pretty decent. What might be the problem is the characters that the actors have to bring to life. There is really not one likable person amongst the lot. There are some major let downs to this film and in particular the cop out ending. However it is not a total mess and I can recommend it.
A group of old high school buddies all gather for a weekend at a cabin near the lake. We all know what happens then in one form or another right? Be it psycho-slasher, evil spirits, rabid big foot or malevolent invaders from outer space they are all going start dying off no later than 45 minutes into the film. That is to be expected and that is why I bought the DVD (and by the way, there are no original vidcaps here as my PC would not read the disk. The images are what I was able to find online, sorry). The big question here is why in the hell did this gang decide to reunite for the weekend in the first place? There is not one joyous moment spent between them. The tension and distrust is palpable and after a while the soap opera atmosphere gets too thick and I was ready for anybody or anything to start killing off this group of stoned whiners. The main conflicts revolve around with who is sleeping with who and who has slept with who in the past and it seems like everyone has slept with everyone except the new girl who is an outsider to the gang anyway. Lucky her.
The leads are Kim (Swain) and Matt (Jefferson Brown) who are breaking up none too pleasantly. They are both asinine and spoiled and can’t stand each other. Next is the married couple Amber and Dash (Reagan Pasternak and Michael Majeski). Amber is the proverbial door mat and Dash will bait his hook with anything that gives him the time of day. This is common knowledge among the gang but Dash is a new man now. He said so while puffing on a hooter so we know he can be trusted. But little miss goody two shoes Amber has dallied with Baker (Steve McCarthy), who now is the cradle robber of the old gang and is banging the pretty hot and individualistic Lilly (Maggie Castle). And left alone is Eve (Marie-Josée Colburn) who might be waiting for her boyfriend Ted who never shows up. Eve we find out later has been sleeping with Matt.
After an afternoon of bitching and moaning the group settle down to an evening of bitching and moaning and after a joint or two or two and a bottle or two of hard liquor they decide to play Dead Mary, the more serious version of the Bloody Mary urban legend. Actually Dead Mary was chosen because using Bloody Mary would have created copyright and distribution issues for the film company and the film was originally going to be called Bloody Mary. Well a few fairly buzzed, over sexed bitter post teenagers who still act like they’re sixteen hobble into the bathroom and look in the mirror and chant dead Mary three times. Not a good thing to do in an isolated cabin in the woods.
Now we are never really sure what happens next since Dead Mary is never shown in the film, though she is shown on the DVD cover glaring back out of the mirror in a pissed off mood. Did Dead Mary come back and curse the group? Maybe, since the three who went into the bathroom were the ones who become possessed later on as well as one who is bitten. Or is the woods itself cursed and possessed as in Sam Rami’s Evil Dead? The film certainly feels like Evil Dead and in some ways like John Carpenter’s The Thing. No one is certain who is possessed or not and while someone can claim they are not how can they prove it as they did in The Thing with the blood test scene? The first to go is poor Matt. When his mangled body is found later, with Lily claiming Eve did it, he comes back to life and starts spouting off about who is screwing who and ex-Kim shuts his big mouth up with a shovel. Later the gang douses him with gas and burns him to ashes.
Eve is the next to show the symptoms and attacks Dash who either becomes possessed or already was and is left tied up in the tool shed. Also tied up in the closet is new girl Lily who everyone suspects of killing Matt. Before getting tied up Dash whoops Bakers ass for having sex with his wife, even though his track record of fidelity is less than perfect. The mood is pretty tense and later Baker is bitten in the rainy woods by Eve while some of the group seeks help. Amber does the right thing and burns Dash to death with BBQ fluid. She does the stupid thing and stays in the tool shed and burns herself up as well. The pacing and action moves along well enough but in the end we are left with a totally disappointing ending. In fact I had over looked the problems with the film until the totally lame ending, where the last “witty” line of the film emphasizes the frictions in the group over infidelities. There is no fight to the death between the still normal Kim and Lily and the possessed Eve and Baker. It all ends with a can of gasoline and a flare gun and a submissive evil spirit who does not try to run away or avoid its own destruction. What?
I think the film could have been fifteen minutes longer or had the arguing and “character development” trimmed form the first part of the film. But even with those issues I do not think the film is a total waste of time. I think along with the let down ending the fact we never see Dead Mary is troublesome. We also have to wonder what ever happened to Ted? who never shows up but is discussed throughout the film. Nor do we know how widespread the situation is as the group notices how quiet the lake is for a weekend. I will give it 2 1/2 skulls but it could have gotten 3 at least if the ending had been tighter.