Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Horror Movie Review: Chain Letter

Chain Letter

Starring: Nikki Reed, Michael J. Pagan, Brad Dourif, Keith David, and Charles Fleischer

Directed by: Deon Taylor

Written by: Michael J. Pagan, Deon Taylor, and Diana Erwin

Release Date: November 9, 2009

Production Companies: Deon Taylor Enterprises and Tiger Tail Entertainment

 A teen gets spam saying that he needed to forward it to five friends. If he didn't forward it, he would die. In that group of five, many of them delete the chain mail. Then, many of them die.

Chain Letter has a lot of potential. The concept, taking a modern day inconvenience, one which many people still give a sort of superstitious respect, and it leading to bloody carnage and misery is one which could have entertained. Unfortunately, the execution failed.

One problem was the kills weren't very creative. The initial kill, a girl chained to her parents' two cars being pulled apart as they pull away, suggests some creativity to come. Unfortunately, after that it was all pretty dull. One girl was even killed by simply being beaten with a chain. In real life, yes, being beaten by a heavy metal chain would be painful and gruesome. But for a slasher flick, it's pretty dull.

Another problem is that our killer, the Chain Man, doesn't follow his own rules. Forward the email, you should be fine. But some who forwarded it got killed, too. Then there's the kid who got the initial email and started the massacre. Chain Man starts sending him multiple chain letters until the teen is yelling at the computer about how he doesn't know any more people. Now, anyone relatively comfortable with the internet knows it's easy to find email addresses on the internet, and this is a gamer geek, but laying that bit of nonsense aside...sending the kid a deluge of emails until he gives up and hits delete so you can kill him...that's like Jigsaw shooting someone who escapes one of his traps alive, or Candyman appearing and killing someone after he says Candyman's name into a mirror twice...not three times.

Throw in teenage victims who are all the same, who are not distinctive from each other, so it's hard to keep track of who has deleted the email and who hasn't. Who's already been killed, who hasn't. And a police detective who goes investigating at night by himself. And an anti-technology group who may or may not be connected with the Chain Man, but it's never really explained. And the police detective, mentioned above, who has memory flashes of scenes he wasn't there for.

But...there's Brad Dourif...and Charles Fleischer...and Keith David. While Keith David's role as the detective was poorly written, he did a very good job with it. Fleischer's role was all too brief, but he played it to the hilt, and Brad Dourif was, as always, awesome.

Too many plot holes, too many dangling plot strings, and a bunch of mediocre victims killed in mediocre ways take what could have been an interesting idea with some great veteran actors and relegates it to...the trash. Just hit delete.

Related Trailers

Nite Tales - Michael J. Pagan also appears in Nite Tales. Deon Taylor delivers twice the chills in this fright-filled double feature hosted by Public Enemy rapper and reality star Flavor Flav. In Storm, a spate of murders accompany a sudden downpour, and in Karma, a group of bank robbers pulls off a heist -- only to find themselves pursued by a killer cannibal.

The Exorcist III - Brad Dourif also appeared in The Exorcist III. William Peter Blatty, who wrote the original novel The Exorcist and the Oscar-winning screenplay, writes and directs Part 3, which is based on his novel Legion. When a supernatural serial killer strikes again, police detective Bill Kinderman (George C. Scott, taking over Lee J. Cobb's role from the first film) investigates. The original's Father Damien, Jason Miller, returns in a guest role.

The Thing - Keith David also appeared in The Thing. Scientists working in Antarctica are forced to abandon their research after a helicopter crashes near their camp, bringing a lone dog into their midst. But the plot thickens when the otherworldly canine changes form in the middle of the night. As it turns out, the dog is a shape-shifting alien that can attack animals -- and unsuspecting humans.

Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight - Charles Fleischer also appeared in Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight. A wanderer who goes by the name of Brayker (William Sadler) holds the last of seven keys that hold the power to eliminate evil and protect the world from darkness in this rousing horror flick. The evil Collector (Billy Zane), however, possesses the other six. Anxious to hold the final key, the Collector assembles a team of walking dead to take out Brayker, Jeryline (Jada Pinkett Smith) and the other residents of a rundown boarding house.

Dead Tone Deon Taylor also wrote and directed Dead Tone. A seemingly innocuous pastime involving fun-loving collegians and prank phone calls turns into a lethal cat-and-mouse game in this blood-drenched fright fest starring Rutger Hauer and Brian Hooks. While vacationing at a secluded mansion after finals, a group of university students dials random telephone numbers and tries to unnerve the person on the other end. But their fun is short-circuited when one of them unwittingly connects with a slasher. The film was originally titled 7eventy 5ive.


Kniferson24 said...

haha great trailers.. deon taylor is putting out a lot of horror lately isn't he? but what was that random one called "the hustle"? Comedy + horror = comror? Horredy? =P

indiemovielover said...

this movie was crazy!! i nearly peed myself! deon taylor knows how to make you jump and fill the screen with the gore that us horror fans luv! my fav indie horror director now.

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