Watchin’ Stuff

Despite the title giving me a grammatical itch, this was actually a pretty good movie. It’s sold as a near-future murder mystery involving memory recording tech that’s slightly reminiscent of Strange Days, but the interesting thing was that the murder mystery isn’t the real mystery. No, the real enigma here are the cryptic motivations of Dinklage‘s character, who is a professional model maker who just kind of appears and starts investigating this crime for vague reasons that sound suspiciously like a pack of lies. What is he really getting involved in this case for? What is it he’s really after? His character is very compelling and the performances from the various characters he questions in the course of the investigation are pretty good too. All-in-all it’s a pretty solid light-sci-fi drama.

I really should have known better (or just paid more attention at least) than to see a blurb like that and think “OH GOOD, FROM THE GUY WHO MADE YOU’RE NEXT? OH, I LOVE ADAM WINGARD, I BETTER CHECK THIS OUT!”, because nope, he had nothing to do with this movie. No, this is referring to the guy who WROTE You’re Next, and actually upon looking into it even further, that guy didn’t direct this either. This was actually directed by the writer’s brother, who has nothing but cinematography credits to his name. Urgh. Well, I guess that explains why this was filmed so well, but that’s the only nice thing to say about it. This movie is 78 minutes long and over 60 of those minutes are made up entirely of empty build-up to a few minutes of jumbled, forgettable “scary” scenes in the end. Waste of time.

Another knockoff of The Strangers, apparently. I didn’t like that movie and I don’t like this one much better. Mysterious masked killers who like to alternate between posing menacingly in the dark and arbitrarily torturing and killing anyone in their way. Bad guys attack family in cabin in the woods, bad guys kill everyone for reasons, the end. It’s just not my thing, these anarchic “realistic” slashers who have no motivation at all. Also found it strange that this movie is set in the early 80’s, which you only know because it tells you so at the beginning, and you see a framed picture of Ronald Reagan on a fireplace mantle and an old-timey TV for a few seconds in the beginning, but other than these two things, you would have no idea that this was happening in the 80’s because those are literally the only references to the time period. Nothing about this feels like the 80’s in any way and I’m guessing that they only slapped that on there to create an excuse for no one to have phones, which they could have used to end this whole stupid story immediately.

Argh. It’s another critic-beloved non-horror horror movie! What is with all the praise for these kinds of movies these days, where they take a drama movie, paste it into a horror setting, but then go out of their way to avoid any actual horror content (despite the fact that they heavily market it as a straight out horror movie)? “Oh, but you see, Richenbaum, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONSTERS, IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE, WHO ARE THE REAL MONSTERS!”. Give me a break. We’ve all seen that one a hundred times before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case there was very little dialogue or characterization going on, mostly just a lot of random dream sequences and slow, ponderous moments where I guess we’re supposed to be in dread of the thing that we’re told comes at night, but never actually seems to come. I didn’t care about any of the characters or anything that was going on. My wife was sitting there yelling at the characters for how stupid they were. Eventually we just turned it off and moved on.

Boy, this is not our lucky night. This is another one that by all rights should have been at least somewhat entertaining, but just couldn’t keep my interest. This movie is an action comedy, but supposedly it started out as a serious drama and was changed later to become more of a comedy buddy-“cop” film, and it really shows. Neither the drama or the action or the comedy are particularly good. How the hell do you have Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson teamed up in a movie like this and have the comedy be so very weak? They obviously both have the personality for it, but the script just isn’t that good. There are a few mild chuckles in there, but more often it was just tame eye-rolling stuff, and some occasional cringey stuff like the running joke of “oh man, Salma Hayek‘s character sure yells and swears a lot!”. It all felt strangely like a mediocre 90’s action movie. What the fuck was with the music in this too? You’d be watching some big action chase scene where shit’s exploding left and right and a dozen people are being graphically murdered and in the background is some crap that sounds like it’s trying to be a mix of an old Guy Ritchie movie and Austin Powers or something, just really cheesy, generic, and upbeat music that didn’t match what was happening on screen at all. Finally just tuned out about 3/4 of the way in and just turned it off, not really caring what happened in the end. Oh well. Better luck next week, I hope.

6 thoughts on “Watchin’ Stuff

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