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30 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
So much more than I expected, 31 August 2008

Stuck at home and recovering from a viral throat infection, I was looking for a couple of nice little cheesy movies that didn't take much brain power. What I found instead, was one utter piece of dross (Black Ribbon, don't bother watching it), and this absolute gem.

Not at all the Debbie-does-Dallas style piece of cheese that I was expecting from the description I had read, I found this film really rather touching and thought provoking. The acting was excellent, especially considering the apparent young age of some of the cast. Katherine Waterston shone as Shirley, and managed to convey all of the awkwardness of her slightly neurotic teenage character, whilst still being completely convincing in later scenes where her inner core of steel shows through. The range of different personalities amongst the girls as a group was excellent, and each character was thoroughly fleshed out. If there was a weak link here, I would say that perhaps there was not quite enough focus on the reactions of the teenage boys to what is going on around them - Scott's reaction to Shirley later in the film appears to come from nowhere. Perhaps a deleted scene?

The sex, whilst somewhat explicit, was never gratuitous, and there were a couple of uncomfortable scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. Whilst I certainly never got involved in anything like this as a teenager, I found I was reminded very strongly of the amoral thing I once was, and rather grateful, in fact, that I was never given the choice that these girls are offered in the film. The lack of any real analysis of their actions only serves to make these teens more convincing in my view - what teenager really considers the consequences of their actions before taking them?

My recommendation: Get hold of a copy of this film, grab yourself some popcorn, and watch it through, and be prepared for some introspection afterwards.

11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Could have been so much better., 31 August 2008

This movie was SO poor, and the initial reviews so inaccurate (I do wonder how many have been written by friends of the cast/production team) that I finally gave in and went through the IMDb registration process just to rant about it.

I was looking for some slightly cheesy horror, so the premise of this movie, sounded rather good - innocent writer is possessed by an evil spirit haunting his typewriter - excellent start! Black Ribbon, on the other hand wasn't 'so bad it's good' but just plain bad.

I have some sympathy for the actors. The flaws in this film start with the script and work outwards. Kenneth Richardson as a character does not invite sympathy. Rather than the nice guy afflicted by evil spirits, the opening dialogue with his wife portrays him as an insensitive ass with no social skills, and he merely gets ruder and more self-centred throughout the film. Also the writer is clearly too lazy to bother even with basic research. According to the film, the sadistic killer Blackwood died in 1856, whereas the Underwood typewriter company, who supposedly made his typewriter wasn't even formed until 1874. That wasn't necessarily the death of the film though. With good acting and direction, even the poor script could have been rescued. However, the film opens with the least convincing 'attack' I have ever seen outside of student film, and fails to improve.

Tony Rugnetta is abysmal as Mr. Richardson. The faces he pulls when he is 'possessed' belong only in comedy, and his only method of emoting is to turn up the volume. Even schlock horror should be played with a straight face, and this guy just cannot cut it. He and his 'wife' together make the least convincing couple I have ever seen. There is no touching, no eye contact, no emotion between them at all, and her acting in solo scenes is as bad as his (and who the hell reads a website aloud to themselves anyway? Fine, it was a plot device, but it could so easily have been a phone conversation...). The pair of them come across through the entire film as though they are reading a train timetable under duress, and getting rather fed up with it.

The only ray of light in terms of acting ability in this entire movie is the housekeeper, of whom there is sadly little. The scenes of 'torture' are laughable, the supposedly two century-old props look suspiciously like modern creations, and the sound track, whilst not actually awful, is edited in with a lack of subtlety that reminds me of the earliest episodes of Star Trek.

Yes, there is nudity, but frankly, if you're watching this for kicks you'd be better off with Baywatch, and for emotional intensity - try some amateur porn.

The only reason I watched this film all the way through was in an attempt to find something good to say about it. Sadly, I failed.