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The place is Helverton, Colorado, a town of about 350,000 people. 15-year-old Genevieve Gage and her best friend Tiana Moore are typical teenagers who spend a lot of time surfing the internet and sending messages to strangers in chat rooms. Upon "meeting" another apparent student who goes by the screen name of Captain Howdy, Genevieve and Tiana decide to attend a party at Captain Howdy's house. As it turns out, Captain Howdy has lured them into a darkness from which there may be no permanent escape. But what Captain Howdy doesn't know is that Genevieve's father is local cop Mike Gage. When neither Genevieve nor Tiana has returned home by the next morning, Genevieve's mother Toni alerts Mike. With the help of a younger cop named Steve Christian, Mike tries to find Genevieve and Tiana. Things take an unexpected turn when Tiana's car is pulled out of a lake, and Tiana's tortured body is found in the car's trunk, with her mouth stitched shut. There's no sign of Genevieve. Mike discovers ... Written by
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Interesting ideas can't save lame script and execution
It seems that Dee Snyder ran out of ideas halfway through the script. The second half of the movie is basically just a rehash of the first, which makes the film very boring. To sum up: Cop's daughter is suckered into party via chatroom where she is sexually molested/tortured by psychopath (played by Snider). Cop rescues her, psychopath is put in therapy/jail. Psychopath is released four years later and the whole thing is played out AGAIN. Within all this are many unexplained plot elements: Why was "Captain Howdy" psycho in the first place? What's with the one-time personality detour to bible-thumper? How does he kidnap all the adults and manage to sew their mouths shut without a struggle? And perhaps the biggest unsolved mystery of all... how does a 6'2" man with pink hair hide himself completely behind a 5'6" average build woman? These are just some of the questions I had watching this film.
It seems that Snyder was trying to make some kind of commentary on a) the "dangers" of online chatrooms, b) the hypocrisy of Christian sexual mores, and c) the effect our twisted puritanical society has on us as individuals. If that is so, he failed. The movie is just too poorly done to entertain, never mind convey social messages. The torture scenes are stupid and boring, bordering on silly (especially when Snyder goes into one of his "pain and death" monologues), and everything else is just plain dumb. The "call tracing" scene is really lame... when are the cops gonna get caller ID and *69? The young partner of the main cop character is particularly awful... he shouldn't be working as an actor, basically. And the audio in the final showdown scene is really poor. I guess they couldn't afford two boom mikes?
The rest of the acting is not awful but it's not good either. The cop is pretty one note, and his detached quality is not quite believable. Dee Snyder is actually not too bad, but he snarls and sneers way too much. Robert Englund (who deserves way better) puts in a somewhat amusing performance of a hypocritical redneck. If you're a big Robert Englund fan the movie is probably worth seeing just for him. Everyone else is forgettable.
In conclusion, we've seen all these plot elements done before and done better, in films like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, HELLRAISER, and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. I suggest you rent one of those instead of watching this turkey. 3/10.
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