Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hatecraft: Cthulhu (2007)

I would feel bad for H.P. Lovecraft having his works turned into crappy movies over the years were it not for one fact. If you ever read up on his life, so many worse things have already happened! I just hope his estate is getting something out of this, because I am sure not. Today's subject is the most recent big-screen...err, direct-to-DVD adaptation of his writings. It is also the worst one that I have ever seen. I add that caveat in case someone has made a shitty version of Dagon with plush toys (watch me be right too) that I have not seen. The problem with this movie is the same one that The Asylum's Vampires vs. Zombies has: it promises so much and delivers nothing. You don't invoke the name of the Elder God unless you can back it up! Let's see what they have got in...
Our story begins with an older man returning to his old New England home that he has not been to in years. I know, it's gets scary right from the get-go. The trip home is not a friendly one, as it is for his mother's funeral. The man left home long ago because he came out as gay. If you think that this is a riveting plot point, then you are in luck. The movie hammers home the whole 'family discomfort' thing in for nearly half the movie. We get one awkward dinner scene where the movie sets up the main plot of the family's misdeeds. This is followed by a riveting scene of him being sad in his hotel room. At least we aren't getting a shot of him looking out a rain-covered window- god dammit! We get some shots of the town and some curious bits with him interacting with locals. He gets a mysterious note from a liquor store employee to meet him, but she then acts scared when he tries to pick her up to do so. In one of the movie's most laughably-bad moments, he practically yells that he would not rape her because he is gay. Too subtle!
We get more hints about the town being weird, but the movie is still a bit too obsessed with 'family strife' scenes. After a hint from the liquor store lady, he tries to find out about a mysterious book. He talks to a historian in town, who is paralyzed from the waist down. He is married to a lusty woman played by- I kid you not- Tori Spelling. What is your 90210 star doing in my Lovecraft movie?!? To make things even dumber, we get a scene of him talking to her in front of a polar bear tank! It only gets worse when our hero comes back to the woman's house and she drugs him. In the movie's second funniest-f0r-all-the-wrong-reason scene, the woman rapes our gay hero. I am at a loss for words. The only thing that saves this part- somewhat- is the use of realistic shots of the New England coast. You don't have more of this, why? They get closer to explaining the plot of the film when a gay Romance sub-plot rears its head. I'm not homophobic in any way (why should I care what you do?), but this serves zero purpose! We believe that the character is Gay without you having him lie in bed post-coitus with someone(they show nothing, so don't worry, Utah). The only payoffs for this scene is a dream sequence with the only monsters of the movie and the death of said guy.

In wrap-up, the movie just gets dumber. The guy discovers a video-will by his mother which talks vaguely (still!) about the father's misdeeds. He goes to an auction of her stuff, but gets arrested by the cops. Something weird happens in town and everyone vanishes. Our hero escapes prison and runs to the beach. He discovers that the whole town is part of a cult and wants to him to sacrifice someone to their God. This is the goddamn Wicker Man! Show me Cthulhu already! The film ends with him apparently turning evil...for some reason. The End!
This movie is a big, giant lie. Like The Gardener, it builds and builds towards nothing. On top of that, the movie moves with the pace of a glacier.  Mind you, the less-than-stellar 2001 film based on Dagon was full of creature shots and had an Elder God appear at the end. Sure, it was a dated CG effect, but it was there! I have to say it again: Tori Spelling.  What the hell is she doing in this movie? I would rather see any other actress in the world appear here.  Avoid this movie and just watch the original Wicker Man.  I'm going to quit before I punch my screen now.
Up next, a counterpoint review. A film about Cthulhu that actually has him in it. Stay tuned...

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