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Interesting Study Of When A Good Idea Is Hacked To Pieces
What we have here is a story of a young screen writer suffering from psychological disorders who locks himself in his apartment, in a desperate attempt to complete a script for a film after a long break from writing, while struggling with many inner demons. This theme of artists facing deadlines while dealing with some sort of great inner turmoil has been done countless times, so needless to say, for it to be effective here, they would have had to bring something new or creative to the table. There really is a lot of potential with this subject, as it's very interesting see a screenplay writer under huge pressure slowly unravel. As a writer, let me say that when under extreme pressure, or having spent long amounts of time alone writing, its really NOT uncommon to begin talking to oneself or acting things out in the room. The real question this film puts forth is where is the line between method and insanity, where is the persons breaking point, and at what point do the mere illusions and acting become reality if you're in a particularly unstable state of mind.
The final cut of this movie has many problems with it, and foremost being that marketed as a horror film, the horror is more or less non existent. You have an evil clown who pretty much doesn't do anything but stand and look evil, and tonnes of side characters hallucinated by the main actor who bicker back and forth with him, until one by one they are done away with on screen while all the long, the viewer KNOWS it's fake anyways. The director simply was too inept and uncreative to come up with anything creepy or genuinely scary enacted out. EVEN IF it was all just figments of the main characters imagination, it could have been creepy or scary just in its mere conception, and here stems the rest of the film's problems.
I first saw portions of this film on the space channel, and quite unusually for me, with random films I catch on TV, I badly wanted to get a copy. The scene that impressed me had the main character delivering a long very well written monologue to the camera, raving about the strife he had with his ex girlfriend. It was very powerful and gave huge background and insight into the character, and what was really mentally driving him over the edge. An insight which you didn't find in any way, in the version I acquired, as in that version, this scene was cut out, and it's very easy to see why. In fact there were many scenes with the actor delivering monologues to the screen, giving it almost a semi documentary type feel to it in some places, beautifully painting harsh pictures to the audience with mere words. Firstly, its not uncommon to have more than one version of the same film floating around, and sadly this goes to show us that when the producers come knocking at the door, and they DON'T like "the final draft" if you will, but more accurately, the final cut, they have the power to suck any shred of artistic merit out of a film. The space channel version was really a full fledged psychological drama with a great script, and pretty well done too, but the problem is... it was "SUPPOSED" to be a horror film. Worse still, it had a very European feel to it, and English language films with a European feel just aren't marketable to a North American audience. Clearly the material was re-cut and the end result, though competently put together, was lacklustre, and unoriginal. There was quite a lot of swearing also in the TV version unlike in the version I ended up getting a hold of, so unfortunately I didn't get to see the full space channel version because my mother couldn't handle the swearing, and changed the channel.
All said and done, a very tragic state of affairs. The director was able to put together a fairly competent film, but unable to adapt it into a film of "horror" and thus sullying his own name and the name of the screenplay writer with this relatively disappointing film. One example of how competent he was. in some regard, is the scene at the restaurant, where before the writer locks himself in his room, we are given a really clear and unexaggerated glimpse at just the extent of the main character's psychological state and how he is prone to hallucinations, adding a realism which in a huge way sets the stage for the types of things that go on while he is locked away in his apartment, and all in all, keeping the whole thing plausible and not over the top. It is very hard to do this AND deliver true horror to the screen.
Indeed anyone who went to see this film and was expecting a horror film SHOULD be angry and feel cheated, because it definitely is not one. If however you're prepared for a decent fairly unoriginal psychological drama, you might still want to give it a try with the context I've put forth here. It is honestly a decent movie for what it is. If you're interested in seeing a film with a similar plot to this one which REALLY hits home, and hits home hard on all fronts in terms of both psychological drama, AND in terms of horror, you might want to check out another Canadian film by he name of "Deadline" - 1981.
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