Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review: Amusement (2008)

Initially a promising film, Amusement offers up a smorgasbord of ingredients that should have made this work. The narrative is a mish-mash of the My Bloody Valentine scenario, whereby a tormented adolescent has now grown up to bring his revenge fantasizes into a blood-spattered reality. His focus is the three girls who mocked him in youth.
As stated, the formula was trite but promising, and the opening sequence unfolds in a trucking convoy that takes a sinister turn. Camera direction is slick and eccentric; almost mimicking something David Fincher might produce; the film visually looks good and the bigger budget is apparent. But things dovetail as we come to the slow realization that almost everything is pilfered directly from some other source: the gothic ambiance, the hooded slickers in rain, and the interconnected storylines. This entire outing resembles something more on par with an anthology … and perhaps if they had marketed it this way and tweaked the story-line it could have evolved. Viewed from this perspective, it’s actually quite sublime: our stalker takes on the guise of a killer clown in what is a genuinely unnerving scene. A modern-Frankenstein motif is built into the account and what lies in wait is something that shames The People Under The Stairs … but it all seems too unwieldy, too elaborate – and our stalkers motivation is ultimately haphazard to the point of non-existence. The climax is more of the same: a stunning visual feast in a labyrinthine fortress presenting doors to the viewer that are never opened.

With a screenplay by Jake Wade Wall (the same individual who penned The Hitcher), Amusement can be safely filed away into the same category as my review for that film. This is no must-see and can easily be overlooked. But as something to complement a horror marathon, Amusement just rises above the tide to be mildly entertaining.   

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