Monday, November 20, 2006

Apparently You Can Go Home: The Return

I believe Sarah Michelle Gellar epitomizes the Texas gal:

She's drop dead gorgeous.

She's not too tall.

And she can usually kick the ass of anything in her path.

So you can imagine what is has been like for me to watch her lower herself in crappy horror movies that make little-to-no sense.

Now, I'm optimistic about most movies, as you've probably inferred given the titles I sometimes select to view. Despite this predeliction for poison, I did not intent on seeing "The Return", which looked to be horrible in ways horror does not purposefully endeavor.

Allow me to break it down thusly:

The promo for "The Grudge", starring one SMG, was this: "When a murder occurs in a house, the emotion of the murder remains behind and creates a curse. Anyone who touches this curse is consumed by it."

The promo for "The Return" which had an eerily similar poster to that of "The Grudge" and starred one SMG was this: "When a murder is commited, a curse is born. Anyone touched by the curse is consumed by it."

You see where I'm coming from?

Now I don't want to go out of my way to make fun of this movie. It does a good enough job of that itself. I just want to get this out of the way before I go too far.

Don't see this movie.

"The Return" is an attempt to take a great actress--one who already has a solid fanbase--and suck the life out of her until there is nothing left.

One thing this movie has going for it is artistic direction. The movie has some honestly attractive shots.

And I'm not just saying this because it was shot in Texas and SMG is a Texan and, in general things associated with the Lone Star State have a certain appeal to me.

Though all that is true as well.

The director, Asif Kapadia, knows his cinematography.

But one thing he doesn't know is plotlines.

This movie has one-and-a-half plotlines.

First is the main idea of the movie: A young woman seems to be restless due to some unknown crazy trauma in the psychological/supernatural sense. She discovers, through no means of storytelling, what happened to cause her discourse. By the end of the movie, things have happened for apparently no reason and you are glad to leave the theater.

A one-third-plotline involves her distant father who never really connected with his daughter after a car accident almost took her life.

One-third more is the random colleage, Adam Scott from "Art School Confidential", who for no reason whatsoever tries to get a little rape on.

The final third is the worst told love story I've ever seen.

You may not believe that I can make such a statement. Allow me to qualify.

I've seen "The English Patient." I've seen "Riddick." I know bad love stories when they waltz across my TV.

This was B-A-D!

Sarah and this crazy, old-as-her-father cowboy (Peter O'Brien from a bunch of Aussie TV shows) seem to have some gettin'-it-on action.

Not that you can tell what happens due to the worst editing since "Wild Wild West."

Actually, I take that back. "Wild Wild West" had much worse editing. Honestly, it was shameful to even say an editor was present in the country when the film was made.

"The Return" employs a common horror technique where the visual cuts a step after the sound. This makes the transitions as smooth as a flock of seagulls going into a jet engine.

Suffice to say, I spent the entire movie wondering if anything I saw actually happened, or if it was part of some elaborate dream sequence.

Sarah falls into dreams so many times that it's hard to tell when she's imagining and awake or reliving an event from the past.

One particular scene--which involves a little sex, I won't lie to you--may or may not have happened. THIS IS A PIVOTAL EVENT, ASIF! WHAT IS GOING ON?

The dialogue is horrendous. It's not that people say anything absurd, as with other B movies, it's just that their lines are delivered deadpan and without the proper cushion.

For example:

SMG: Hey dad, what happened when I was 11?

POP: Well, you kinda went crazy. I couldn't control you.

SMG: Control me? I was crying for help.

POP: Why don't you stay the night?

SMG: What's in LeSalle?


This isn't a terrible movie in the strictest sense. It's a forgettable thriller that doesn't do anything. All the effects have been done before, and by better directors. I feel that in the hands of someone more daring this could have been a sleeper hit. SMG certainly can pull on a few heartstrings, and Sam Fisher as Pa Gellar worked fine.

I walked away not really knowing what the movie had done to me, and that's generally a good thing from where I come from. I can't stand the idea of the cancerous legions movies such as "Stay Alive" and "Alone in the Dark" have left inside me.

I guess I'd give this movie a seeing-Sarah Michelle Gellar-in-the-mall-from-a-distance-but-when-you-get-close-it's-actually-a-man-dressed-as-Buffy.

Instead of seeing this movie, go online and watch the Ninja Review of "Pirates of the Carribean". Seriously. Funny man, that ninja.


Anonymous said...

Awesome, I am glad your posting again, I missed it. BTW, shotgun scripts are awesome.

Anonymous said...

two suggestions:

the ghoulies: bad to the bone...not sure how much you could get out of it.

april fools: a surefire bad would enjoy reviewing it.