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A bearable enough but overall kinda weak stab at trashy remake fun
I approached this one with a little trepidation, but equally a fair degree of straightforward interest. I'm something of a fan of the original, which delivers a fine freight of cheese, gore and nudity, along with witty writing and inspired direction. It was still a decidedly mindless film though, no heavy plotting or unique insights into the human condition, a workable template therefore for a remake or re-visiting, not the sort of thing that would be too hard to do well with, at least on a mindless fun trash level. Moreover this is the second outing from genre hopeful couple Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson, after last years Autopsy, a decent but flawed affair that mostly delivered some nasty gore and splashes of sure handed direction. This film sadly is a bit of a step down, not as accomplished or effective as Autopsy, which was already weighted with problems, and certainly no match for the original. On the good side of things, this one does mount well, nicely paced, likeably written and easy moving, it has a certain grasp of how to build up into events satisfactorily and a pleasing feel to it, backed up by serviceable performances and a cool and mildly creepy location. Castwise, Edward Furlong does well, looking a bit tired and frazzled but still bearing ample charisma, whilst Shannon Elizabeth does nicely as Angela, sizzlingly macabre and seductive when needed to be. Otherwise, all do pretty well, though without stand outs. I hadn't heard of many of the cast before watching, I presume a fair few were teen film alumni or folk from US TV, no one is bad as such but no one really distinguished. Chuckles are provided by a little turn from Tiffany Shepis and a brief spot for Linnea Quigley. In the general course of the film there are some moments of imagination, some of flair and a general light dusting of fun, in fact it almost seems churlish to come down hard on such a thing, but much as the film seeks to be likable and I even wanted to like it, it slips up too much. There is never any real tension and though the film is cheesy, laughs are few. Once inside the house and even when things get going, the direction is perfunctory, without any notable flair or real excitement, with some of the action even marred by lame rapid fire editing. There is also unfortunate use of CGI and an over-tame feel to things, there is a smidgen of kinkiness to a few scenes, but the film shies away from nudity or anything really sleazy or steamy, far from the enthusiastic trash of the original. The famed lipstick scene is revisited and beefed up, but to lesser effect, the film generally feels like its pretending to be sexier and trashier than it really is, ultimately coming off a little lame in its efforts. Also, there is an unfortunate lack of gore, with the grisliest moments all too brief and not looking especially effective. Put simply, a few sparkles aside this is surprisingly weak, half baked stuff, it may be mindless entertainment for some but it was very much lacking in potency for me. Approach with care, I'd say.
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