Tuesday, July 10, 2007

simple simon (and stanley).

Simon Says (2006)
Director: William Dear
Starring: Crispin Glover, Margo Harshman, Greg Cipes, Carrie Finklea, Kelly Vitz, Artie Baxter.

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Deciding it would be cool to spend their summer vacation panning for gold (no, really), five high school 'buds', comprising of the annoying, pointed faced Kate (Harshman), annoying pug-nosed 'jock' Zack (Cipes), annoying blonde slut Vickie (Finklea), annoying 'stoner' Riff (Baxter) and annoying rich chick Ashley (Vitz) decide to head out to the woods for a camping holiday.

Taking a wrong turn they stop at a nearby cemetery to ask directions from the local (twin bother) gravediggers and end up getting told the tale of (another set of) scary twins Stanley and Simon, one of which murdered his brother, family and 'a person for every year he was alive'.

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Know your cast: (l-r) Annoying, annoying,
annoying, annoying and annoying.

'Hmmm'....the audience may be thinking, 'twin brothers...could they be the killers?'. Well you the director might want you to think that if only he hadn't show pics of the real 'killer twins' in the opening credits leaving us with no doubt that it's the magnificent Mr. Glover playing the mentalist. Anyway, after a comment about 'filling holes' they brothers send the group on their way reminding them to stop in at the local shop (for local people) for supplies first. Which is thoughtful.

Arriving at the run down miner's tool shop cum garage cum convenience store they're startled by Crispin Glover in an overall and hat popping up from behind the counter shouting "Don't steal mah beer it's bad!". Turns out that this is Simon (who by this point we know is dead so I reckon it's safe to say that this is really Stanley in 'disguise'). Bad boy Riff scares Simon away by shouting "Retard!" at him and the teens go about their business. Whilst trying to find the toilet Riff bumps into the suave and sophisticated Stanley who promptly apologies for his brother, refuses to sell them fags and drools over Kate's hand whilst calling her 'dream girl'......creepy (and possibly unintentionally funny). Being a friendly sort tho' Stanley points them in the direction of the most secluded part of the woods.

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I dream of pointy.

It's not long before the friends have set up camp, changed into skimpy bikini's and bright shorts and gotten down to the business of 'partying on' as the youngsters say. But there tensions are in the air, slutster Vickie wants hunky Zack for herself, harsh Kate wants a cleaner barbecue, Riff wants to get 'stoned' and squeaky Ashley wants to go jogging. So our merry band split up.

Bad idea.

Vickie offers to go help Zac 'get wood' for the fire whilst Ashley runs off listening to shitey MOR soft rock on her stereo (she deserves to die for her music taste alone) leaving Riff and Kate to chat about drug misuse and hygiene whilst cooking. He finally drives off to buy cleaning products (and booze).

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Insert penis here.

After all this talk of choppers and wood, Vickie and Zack indulge in some 'film sex' (you know fully clothed and pulling faces) only to be interrupted by athletic (but still annoying) Ashley jogging by. She stops at camp only to shout "Zack was shagging Vickie!" to Kate before dissapearing behind a bush.

Now this is where the fun starts, you see unbeknown to them, the group of friends are being watched....by a man dressed as a tree and it can only be a matter of time before they're forced to play a deadly game of 'chase me now!' with the slightly schizo Stanley involving giant mechanical pick axe launchers, cannons that fire spiked logs and worst of all, moldy sandwiches.

When you hear that William Dear, acclaimed director of Bigfoot and The Hendersons and Teen Agent is making his first foray into horror you can help but get excited, especially when you know The Glover-man himself is involved (and signed up for two sequels!). You just knew this was going to be a classic.

Then I watched it.

Lurching from a Friday The 13th homage (with a huge dash of the Chuck Connor's 1979 'classic' Tourist Trap thrown in) to moments of uneasy comedy and genuinely ingenious death scenes (including death by joint, death by hanging/swung at a WV camper van, death by spiky log etc.), Simon Says is as schizophrenic as it's main character. The movies tone veers wildly from funny to creepy to cringe worthy and back from one scene to another (and sometimes in the middle of scenes) and the director appears to be working from an idea's list rather than a completed script.

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Crispin's farted...
and it's an eggy one.

Take for example the 'deserted' forest the teens are camping in, after stressing the point of how isolated it is ad infinitum, whilst stalking Ashley Stanley suddenly happens across a team of paint ballers and a group of combat clad kick boxers and their dog. As a plus point it does mean we get to see Mr. Glover kill a few more folk in a variety of interesting ways plus squash a Terrier with his combat boots, but you do wonder if it's such a popular place why no-one has notices the countless families, hitch hikers and pets that have gone missing over the years since Stanley was let out of jail for murdering his family.
Then there's Stanley's weapon of choice, a large pick axe cannon. All well and good but at one point it appears to be firing over a hundred axes per second in all it's CGI glory.....it's a wonder there's any trees left! Plus wouldn't he have to wander the forest picking them all up again? that'd take forever.

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Poster art!

Worth watching in a 'so bad it's almost but not quite good' way and for seeing Crispin Glover wearing a large pair of trousers made from the contents of a lawn mower bucket and squashing a dog, Simon Says ultimately disappoints. The 'shock' ending is quite nice tho' even if it is signposted within the first 3 minutes of the film.

One for fans of twin based, grass trousered Crispin Glover horror movies only.

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Beware the stare that will
destroy the world!

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