A writer with a declining career arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a mysterious young ghost named V. He's unsure of her connection to the murder in the town, but is grateful for the story being handed to him. Ultimately he is led to the truth of the story, surprised to find that the ending has more to do with his own life than he could ever have anticipated.Written by
In the newspaper clippings folder, the clipping from "The Press" (revealing the "Devil lives in the clock tower" angle) shows an ad for a motel on the left side of the page. In that page a car is shown, a 1957 Ford. In the next clipping shown, another variation on the "Devil in the clock tower" angle on the children's murders, shows the date of the newspaper, from 1955. Unless this paper was still churning the Devil in the tower angle, and the children's murder was still front page above the fold news (dubious), the car shown didn't exist until two years after the murder/newspaper story. See more »
There was, once upon a time, a town not far from a big city. A road ran through, but there were only a few businesses. A coffee shop, a hardware store, a sheriff's office. And all kinds of people. Vagrants, run away teens, religious fanatics, retired seniors who, well, it was a town of those who wanted to be left alone. And so they were.
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If you're going to watch this movie, it's best to forget who the director is. Yes, Francis Ford Coppola has made some of the greatest films of all time, but that was a very long time ago; in fact, the last time he made a horror movie was nearly fifty years ago (Dracula, which was a bizarre costume drama, doesn't count). So you have to put all that out of your mind, and pretend that this thing was directed by someone you've never heard of, and have no expectations.
And it's still terrible. As Val Kilmer drives into the Mysterious Little Town where all dodgy horror movies take place, an ominous music track rises to a crescendo, a crow caws and somewhere in the distance, an actual bell tolls. Subtlety, what's that? Just in case you couldn't work it out, a voice-over tells us that something evil is occurring - the proof being that the town clock doesn't work properly. I only wish I was making that up, or the CHORD OF DOOM that strikes when the camera focuses on - a bird house! An evil bird house, obviously, with evil, demon-possessed sparrows inside it.
Well, all right, that's the opening five minutes. The movie does settle down after that, and, well, the cinematography is nice. Coppola still knows how to frame a shot, and it's all lusciously printed on proper film stock. It's horribly written, edited and scored, but the film stock is nice. To put it mildly, that doesn't make up for the film's problems, including a plot involving an Evil Vicar that is frankly idiotic.
Worst of all is the acting. You could almost believe that the actors here are in some kind of twisted competition to give the most lifeless performance possible - yes, even Bruce Dern - but you simply can't beat Val Kilmer in a competition like that. As with many of his recent performances, he seems to be asleep on his feet for most of this thing. But, just when you think he's giving the most awful performance of the movie, along comes his ex wife, Joanne Whalley, to steal the bad acting crown from under his nose. If you've wondered why she doesn't do many movies any more, this film will explain everything.
A couple of last things. Elle Fanning's character seems to be an, ah, object of affection for a good few characters in this movie. She is about twelve. The constant references to how pretty she is are seriously gross.
Secondly, there's a plot twist that references something that happened in Coppola's own personal life, which is *really* uncomfortable, especially in a cheesy horror movie. Maybe Coppola thought this film would be a lot more profound than it actually is. Maybe he should give up on the movies, and go back to making wine.
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