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Friday, 28 February 2014

One-Star Wonders

SHARKNADO and THE INVOKING


What do you say about a film that is so bad it leaves you speechless? After having two bad movie experiences in a row, I began to grapple with how to approach reviewing them. Finally I decided that for films this bad, it would be best to create a whole new category.

I rate films on a five star basis. Generally speaking, 2 stars are allotted for Story: Does the film have a strong narrative foundation? Does it develop in an interesting way? Then there are 2 stars allotted for Plot: Is the story presented in an interesting way? Is there anything particularly attractive about the aesthetics/cinematography? And lastly, since these are horror films, 1 star is reserved for the film's scare (or thrill/fun) factor. On that note....

Presenting the first instalment of One-Star Wonders, a segment reserved for films that are so bad they do not meet any of my criteria in full.

*****

Up first, Sharknado, which manages it's one star based on story alone - surprisingly, it does have one. It's just not very good.


In all fairness, if you have a fear of sharks, or live by an ocean I may be inclined to accept an argument for 1.5 Stars. The story focuses on a ocean-side bar owner. When the news reports begin warning of a vicious tornado flooding the city and carrying dangerous sharks into homes and streets, he decides it is his heroic duty to get to his ex-wife and daughter. 
Bad acting (mostly Tara Reid... go figure), Bad CGI, and very questionable understandings of physics, mechanics, and sharks. It was almost bad enough to enjoy laughing at - it would have been much more fun to watch if it didn't insist on taking itself so seriously.

Next up, The Invoking, which gets half a star for plot in regards to cinematography (the beautiful landscape photographs nicely and this is taken advantage of), and half for its scare factor.


This is the story of Samantha Harris who inherits a house from a family she never knew. Having been adopted at a young age, Sam is a little out of her element and brings three friends along to the secluded cabin for a weekend of what she hopes will be fun. But what one might expect to be an emotional experience quickly seems to drive Sam certifiably insane as the past begins to take her over and she loses her grip on reality. Oh, and the young guy who claims to remember her from their childhood has a definite Bates-thing going on.
I can admit that there is potential here, so much so that I remained hopeful while watching. But the end was clearly rushed and anywhere it seemed to be going was disrupted in favour of a "twist" (if you can call it that). Although the film was low budget, only one person's acting was unbearable (Andi Norris as Caitlin), but since she had a big role it was a BIG damper on everything.

*****