Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why do I waste my time...?

Let us establish this immediately, merely so that it is out of the way and you can proceed in ignoring my endless bitching; write it off as Elitist jibber-jabber: I am not easily impressed by horror movies.

While I do love a good psychological thriller and I really love movies that dare to splash about in religious dogma like a three-year-old in mud. Asian Horror certainly catches my attention and seems to be the horror genre that claims fame to most of my personal favorites. Yet I routinely give American horror a chance, testing their porridge over and over in the hope that some day they will get it right. For me, however, almost every time, its just too damn cold. This one lacked flavor, originality and the texture was all wrong.

I speak of the 2006 "straight to landfill" release, "Blackwater Valley Exorcism."

Speaking from a marketing point of view...I think the name killed it straight off. I was, however, feet-up on the couch nursing a migraine and jonesing for a good exorcism freak-fest. Once again, I paid for Free, which equated to an hour before I found my headache was getting worse and I turned the shit off to put on "Mythbusters," a far better way to waste my time. Especially if by 'far' one means light years apart and by 'waste' one means "I'd rather watch Adam Savage extract boogers than ever watch this again."

Although the name had already forewarned me of the crap writing that awaited, it had to be good! It's based on an actual event! If by "based", they mean they heard this story from their cousin who heard it from this girl at summer camp, who heard it from her brother, whose second-cousin twice removed was actually there!! And if by "event" they mean "something happened at this place one time."

I selected the film from the "Free-on-a-dare" list and sat back to watch. At first the film had my finger wavering over the 'exit' button as weakly written and worse acted foreshadowing was played out- the hints of a past love affair between a priest and a blonde unfolded. Then it cuts to a desert scene, a burly Mexican with a rifle and a coyboy, complete with hat, wander aimlessly shouting a name...only it sounds like two different names so I wonder if maybe they are looking for a person AND a dog...THEN it gets promising. The gutted carcass of a rabbit is found, viscera everywhere but no animal in sight. Then
the cowboy spots something. A woman. She stands, her back to the camera, wearing only a silky slip, shoulders hunched, bloody hands trembling at her sides. They rush to her. The camera reveals her to us. A young girl, hair in her face, blood coating the bottom of her slack jaw, eyes half rolled in her head.

I thought "ALRIGHT! Now we're getting somewhere."

The girl bared a vague resemblance to Keira Knightly, which was interesting in itself as I thought perhaps this was some old movie she'd done that was unearthed and presented to capitalize on her fame. Alas it was not. The young woman playing the demon possessed Isabelle, was in fact, Kristen Erickson. She would prove to be the only convincing actress in the extent of film I subjected myself to. This, however, is not a fantastic achievement as I don't believe that writhing around and trying to seduce or outright screw each male in turn requires a real depth of emotion, any wealth of acting talent. She was interesting enough to watch to be the only reason, though, that I kept the movie on.

Isabelle's parents, Ely and Blanche, win the "Worst Parents of the Year" award for me. Played by Randy Colton and Leslie Fleming-Mitchell, respectively, their teenage daughter eviscerating a rabbit with her teeth is not enough to prompt them to take her to a hospital and have her committed. No, surely she just needs rest! To ensure that Isabelle wasn't involved in some crime- more terrible than a Bunny-cide, the sheriff needs to have a look at her...while she lays on top of her bed covers in a silky slip that barely hides her under-eighteen-and-still-illegal-naughty-bits. Played by Jeffrey Combs, who you may recall from 2004's "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!" fame, the sheriff is revealed by the Demon in Isabelle to be a rapist, which makes logical sense to the plot and therefore eliminates the chance of the Sheriff showing up again to stop the impending Exorcism.

While Randy Colton waffles between being shocked and outraged over his daughter's condition, Leslie sits in stupification. She wildly insists Isabelle is possessed, succumbing to only one completely random outburst of tears with an arbitrary hint of sexual longing...on the shoulder of a ranch hand. He, we later learn, is Luke- Isabelle's secret, older boyfriend. Luke, played by Paul Kapellas serves his function and stands about prettily insisting he loves Isabelle and will stand by her even though her lips are peeling, her teeth are rotting and she's developed a taste for raw bunny.

If the completely over-used tool forbidden love-yes, Luke is a complete tool- isn't enough the on-staff Veterinarian McCall is brought into the picture. He, logically, points out that he works with horses and that Isabelle should go to a hospital. (Good thing someone's thinking). But this ranch doesn't have enough Tools, so of course it is revealed that McCall is having a torrid affair with Blanche and to prove it, the possessed Isabelle shows Ely their love letters. She also fills his head with graphic images of Mom and the Vet gettin' nasty...so it could all be a trick of the Demon, or it could be true. They don't really say in the first hour, at least.

While all this unfolds, Father Jacob, played by Cameron Daddo in desperate need of a haircut, is sent by the Diocese to investigate the need for an Exorcism. No one, mind you, has at this point called the Diocese. Over the course of one day, Isabelle has eaten a rabbit, begun to look like she licked her lips then kissed a bowl of instant potatoes, and started brushing her teeth with motor oil. Miraculously, the church is alerted and sends out Father Jacob. If this is not the case then these poor people only have one set of clothes. Damn raising horses is expensive.

Writer Ellary Eddy isn't done pumping pointless love triangles and sexual tension into this film yet!! We bring back the blonde from the beginning, Claire, played vapidly by Madison Taylor, who we now learn is Isabelle's sister and find that Father Jacob 'done her wrong.' Eddy is still reluctant to tell us what exactly in a pathetic attempt to hold onto whoever might still be watching. But that's not enough, the Demon in Isabelle has to plants seeds of MORE sexual tension by hinting at Father Jacob having watched Isabelle in the shower once. This, of course, also offers Director Ethan Wiley an appropriate moment to insert the gratuitous teenager tit-shots required by the Filmmaker's Association to qualify any movie as "Cheesy Horror Schlock." This too is left vague as to whether it is true or merely Demon imposed fantasy.

If the unnecessary subplots and poorly written dialog haven't given you an aneurysm yet...just wait. Our Mexican friend from the beginning proves that he is more than a stereotypical extra. Miquel, performed with appropriate mysteriousness and Latin moodiness by Del Zamora, argues his way into Isabelle's bedroom....alone with her. What follows was the only scene of real meat or interest to me at all.

Right up until the FUCKED IT UP.

Miquel forces a cross into Isabelle's hand. Predictably we hear hissing and sizzling...ridiculously, Isabelle doesn't fling it at his head. Miguel then starts saying prayers, presumably to determine if she is actually possessed or just has a skin affliction and can't lay still. Then Isabelle hops up on all fours, snarling at him like a dog and in Latin- which logically a Meixcan ranch hand would know- Miguel and Isabelle have the following conversation:

Miguel: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies...
Isabelle/Demon: ...and the tongue of thy dogs red with the same.
Miguel: You know Psalms 65?
Isabelle/Demon: No! Psalms 67!!

Now all things considered this exchange is great and Kristen Erickson delivers her part with convincing evil (with the help of some guy's voice and a few sound effects). HOWEVER...my Christian raised brain tickled at me and poked until finally I couldn't bare it and I got up, dug out Elliot's old bible and flipped to Psalms...because I just didn't think they got something right. Frighteningly enough, I'd been steeped in enough bible verses that my inkling was correct.

It was Psalms 68, FUCKERS. 68;23 in fact.

*sigh* So now finding that the only well written exchange was wrong because Eddy couldn't take two seconds to look in a damn bible...my mood was immediately plummeted again and pushed down like someone forcing garbage into a compactor. We now find that Miguel is, of course, a former priest, who no longer has faith in God.


Through an absurd montage Father Jacob and "Padre" Miguel make Suzie-Homemaker versions of their vestments- because if you're going to exorcise a demon, it must be done wearing a mutilated white nightgown and a curtain valance.

They make their first attempt at the Exorcism- FINALLY- at which point the Vet is brought back from a sot of horse Tranq that SHOULD have killed him, so that he can act as the "Medical counsel," and poor Isabelle is tied to the bed with a cross sport-taped to her hand. The Demon in her says the expected foul epithets and taunts them. One taunt insinuates the Miguel was responsible for his family's death-- another character point picked from a hat of trite tools. This revelation sends Miguel running from the room at which point he collapses on the couch crying like a woman spiking on hormones. The mysterious Mexican Padre-turned tough-guy falls apart, out of character and out of my favor completely.

Unable to stand it any further- I shut the film off. I don't even care what happens next. Unless Isabelle rises up with the bed in flames, bites the head off her mother, uses the crucifix on Father Jacob in ways he's only fantasized about and eviscerates the rest of them with her bare hands to demonstrate how to properly kill and eat a rabbit....it will not rise above the DREK that it is and managed to respark my interest.

The writer and director pussied out on the language, Faggot being the foulest word uttered; pussied out on the inuendo, only vaguely suggesting that the cop got a hummer and that Daddy 'touched' her; and completely pussied out on killing anyone- Mom downed a bottle of pills but was miraculously saved when the Vet, Claire and Ely made her vomit into a bucket that just happened to be in her bedroom.


I mean really guys. Linda Blair was TWELVE and she at least feigned masturbation. The only masturbating done here was when Ethan Wiley and Ellary Eddy even presumed to waste anyone's time and money to make this trite, regurgitation of soap-opera horror.

If anyone watches the last half hour, don't tell me what happens....I think I prefer the one I made up for myself.


ElphieWitch said...


I love your movie reviews :D

More more more more!

Kahl said...


Unfortunately for ME...the funny ones usually only happen when I watch absolute CRAP.

But I'll see what I can do... :D

Candy Man said...

Don't you think this is a good title for your reviews, "Kahl's I'm Gonna Kill Myself, Come Back To Life, Then Kill Myself Again Movies"

Very entertaining stuff, it was everything I could want from a movie, except it was the review! :D

There is only one movie that can be called Exorcist and it can't be touched. If your looking for a good American horror flick check out Willy Friedkin's new film Bug. Here's a director that understands horror isn't about how much blood you put on the screen but how tension and circumstance create the feeling of uneasiness and disgust.

Candy Man (Refilled Candy Bowl)

Kahl said...

Oh 'Bug' is definitely on my 'Must See List'. Unfortunately that list is first subjected to the 'most important things to pay for' list...and usually Health insurance, food and rent are higher on the list than day at the movies is.

Sucks...but such is life.

I think I'm going to carry my "Eiger Rating" from STITCHED Magazine over here onto my blog where it will get more use. And I'll make an effort to watch something GOOD soon.

I promise.

I'll do it....for us all.

*sneaks a piece of candy*

Katerina said...


Oh that is just fucking priceless. I had SO much fun reading this review... WAAAY better than watching the film, I am sure!

I am an absolutely HUGE horror movie fan. That means that I have seen A LOT of them... the majority of them bad.. as bad as thing. That is why reading this is all too familiar for me :D It's your quintessential shitty horror movie.

Ok, if you get a chance to rent it, you should watch Penny Dreadful. It was one of the "8 Films to Die For". I think you'd like it.. it relies almost solely on atmosphere for the scares in a large chunk of the move. I think you'd like it.. and I want to hear what you'd have to say about it.. OH! And you absolutely MUST review SE7EN... please... for me!! **makes pouty eyes your way**