Monday, April 23, 2007


RUNTIME: 96 min.

It was just last week I was discussing the Academy award syndrome and the frequency with which it seems to strike the actresses’ fraternity. Well, we have the latest entry here, and unfortunately one of my favorite actresses, Hillary Swank. Forget that she did BOYS DON’T CRY, forget she moved us all with the amazing MILLION DOLLAR BABY, the biggest achievement yet of her career could well be going through this amazingly wretched movie, that too with a straight face. And that too seems to be a habit she’s cultivating with awful movies like THE CORE to her credit, still she has won two Academy awards. People are lucky. I understand some bad choices, some that seem good on paper but turn out the way they do. But it is for no reason that this ridiculous ting that I have just witnessed was lying on the shelf for more than a year. They tried to do a lot of things, with even Hillary Swank in it, but this movie is unreleasable. Right from the word go, I mean with the screenplay, there is absolutely no reason to think that this movie could have worked. This should have gone straight to DVD and that would have been the most fortunate thing to happen to this “horror flick”.
Katherine Winter (Hillary Swank) is a professor who in her spare time debunks miracles; of course she as lost her faith. She used to be minister but since has lost her faith, thanks to her daughter’s death. She is called upon a local town where bizarre events are happening. It is strange though why the news channels aren’t swarming the place instead of the locusts. The locusts and these bizarre events are supposed to be one of Moses’ ten biblical plagues. And yeah there’s a la The Architect’s monologue about some explanations about all the plagues. Now, I love Manoj Night Shyamalan, but I’ll always curse him for bringing me one of my favorite movies of all time, THE SIXTH SENSE. Thanks to that, every horror screenplay is supposed to have a creepy child. I don’t know but have the financers put some regulation in place. It is no different here with the person in the center of it all being a 12-year old kid Loren McConnell (AnnaSophia Robb). She looks quite young in comparison to BRIDGE TO TERBHITHIA, something that speaks about the time this rubbish has been on the shelves.
The screenplay here is a killer, a true plague. It is no wonder that Carey and Chad Hayes wrote the 2005 horror stinker HOUSE OF WAX. The duo take copious amounts of materials from THE WICKER MAN (oh no, not the new one of course), ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE OMEN and then give it a wicked spin of their own. Nothing, I mean nothing happens for 75 minutes of the movie. Only hallucinations flashbacks and more of red rivers and biblical plague talk. Suddenly, when it feels like about time and the makers feel that it is time to wake the audience who until now are in deep slumber, things move at breakneck pace, of course you wouldn’t give a hoot about it all. When the screenplay is from a team as this and it involves locusts, creepy kid, town and bible I would beg actors with any deal of self-respect to look for the door, immediately. Stephen Hopkins (UNDER SUSPICION, THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS) seems to have been…well let us just leave him at that.
Stephen Rea is in there somewhere, enjoying screen time whenever the men behind seem to run out of ideas. He usually was calling Katherine and saying,” You’re in danger.” I am sure it wasn’t intentional but Rea here gives a metaphorical performance in that he’s phoning his part, literally. David Morrissey, well he isn’t going to be forgotten so easily for BASIC INSTINCT 2 if that is what his intention was.
Swank has been screwing her career big time. I hope she doesn’t do a too stellar job at that. And yeah, the now expected twist ending, what a damn paradox. Well, when a stupid character speaks of first-borns and Doug (Morrissey) speaks that he’s from a long line of only children you need to guess it and listen to Ben (Idris Elba) when he says, “"Forget about it. Let's just get out of here before the final two plagues!" forget about it, better to keep away from this rubbish, where the climax turns out to be the most laughed sequence, unintentionally though.

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