Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Hamiltons (The Butcher Brothers, 2006)

Something that irritates me more than a mediocre-to-bad horror movie that start with a ridiculous premise and go nowhere is a mediocre-to-bad horror movie that starts with a relatively good premise and goes downhill from there. The Hamiltons, an entry in 2006's After Dark Horror Fest, is certainly in that second category, and it's far more of a disappointing experience than an amusing one. The story of a constantly moving family who have some pretty dark secrets has a few good twists, but the terrible pacing, dialogue, and general unravelling of the plot really ruin this movie.

The Hamiltons move into their new neighborhood after their parents' mysterious death (never really explained, even though a big deal is made about it). The youngest member, Francis, doesn't fit in and hates his peers and family -- we don't get any interaction with anyone except the family and their social worker, however; I think the movie would have been well-served with at least one scene of Francis in school. His oldest brother, David, tries to be the father of the family, with varying results. There are also two middle siblings, twins Wendell and Darlene, who are the most interesting parts of the movie. They're hedonistic, not ashamed of who they are, incestuous, sociopathic, everything you want in juicy horror movie characters.

But when random hitchiking girls, along with a friend of Darlene's and who knows how many other women, start one cares. That's right, with one small, awkward exception, there's no sign that the Hamiltons will ever be caught, or if anyone in the community even cares. There should be at least a little outside tension, but there's none. The movie is incredibly low-budget, and while I obviously don't think that a big budget solves everything (it usually ruins more than it helps), The Hamiltons could have used a little more money. There's actually no gore in the movie, despite what the poster and trailer tells you, and you get the sense that it's because The Butcher Brothers ran out of money, rather than a stylistic choice. The script should have been tightened and expanded at the same time, because there's a bit of dead space, but also lots of holes in the plot. Holes you could walk through. The little twist at the end was a bit clever, but felt too much like they were pulling it out just for the ending and not part of the story at all. Had they involved that little (heh) twist in the entire movie, it would have made more sense. All in all, if The Butcher Brothers were to remake this movie with a bit of money and quite a bit more attention to the script, this could be a good movie. As of now, it's not quite worth watching.


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