Initially a promising film, Amusement offers up a smorgasbord of ingredients that should have worked. 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 which takes a sinister turn. Camera angles are slick and eccentric; almost mimicking something David Fincher might yield. Visually, this is a film that looks good. But things soon dovetail as we come to the realization almost everything here is pilfered directly from some other source: the gothic ambience; the hooded slickers in rain; the interconnected story-lines. Resembling something more on par with an anthology, one wonders if perhaps Amusement had been marketed as such - with some narrative tweaking - things could have fallen into place. Viewed from this perspective, it’s actually quite sublime: our stalker takes on the guise of a killer clown in some genuinely unnerving scenes. Thereafter a modern-Frankenstein motif is built into the chronicle, and the result of this is something to almost rival The People Under The Stairs … but it all seems too unwieldy, too elaborate – and our stalkers motivation is hazy to the point of being absurd. 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 appraisal there. No must-see, and one that can be easily overlooked. However, as something to complement a horror marathon, the film just rises above the tide to be mildly entertaining.