October 10, 2010

Movie Review: Chain Letter

chain-letter-900395lI recall seeing the trailer for this a month or two ago. I cannot say I was terribly impressed by it but it looked like it could be a little fun. It looked like a throwback to the slashers of old, not necessarily the glory days of the 1980's but more that direction than the current torture/exploitation trend. That said, I didn't really give it a lot of thought figuring it would pop up on DVD in the new future. Then I saw if show up on the schedule for a local theater and decided to afford myself other opportunity to check out a limited run horror on the big screen (especially after missing Hatchet 2).

Was it worth it? Sort of. It delivered the bloody goods and a potentially interesting story but it failed to really pull everything together. Still, it has enough energy going in it's favor that. I feel safe in recommending it to the slasher fans out there.

Chain Letter starts with a rather ominous sequence with one of the victims tied up and chained to a pair of cars that are about to head in opposite directions, not knowing what is tied to them. Just as realization arrives a touch too late we cut to an earlier time. At least we know where we are heading, right?

Then we get the credit sequence where I begin to notice some recognizable names littering the cast. I never paid attention to who was in it before. I started to see names like Keith David, Brad Dourif, Betsy Russell, and Nikki Reed. Well, that has to help, a movie with the likes of those can't be bad, can it?


Anyway, it does not take long for the plot to get set in motion. On.e of the soon to be dead teens gets an email telling him to forward it within 24 hours or a life would be lost. We all know how grateful we are to get included in chain letters that I am sure you know what the kid's initial reaction is. That's right, he wants to ignore it, but he relents and sends it along. It is this first round of recipients that has members who choose to ignore it. That can't be good.

This brings out the killer of the piece, the so-called Chain Man. He is a hulking behemoth of a man in a ratty cheesecloth mask who likes to use homemade chains in his killings. His acts are violent, bloody and entertain you bloodthirsty horror hounds. No, they are not the most original, but the certainly look painful.

Chain Man shows up whenever any of the kids choose not to forward the letter to exact his bloody vengeance. Why is he doing this? Why is this chain letter so important? I don't think it is really, but the film reveals an anti-technology cult and it seems they are involved here, but the true reasoning and their agenda remains shrouded in mystery, although it does seem to go deeper and farther than just our beloved killer.

Despite the movies lack of overall coherence, it does have some interesting things to say. It centers on the current generations reliance on technology and how privacy, which once haws a great premium on it has been eroded as more and more gets shared and more immediate lines of communication are created. It is an idea best stated by Brad Dourif's teacher character in supremely creepy fashion. It is a shame his character is so underused.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It is nothing mind-blowing or that you would really miss anything if you don't see it but it does have an interesting base concept that I would enjoy to see further explored in a sequel. We will see what the future holds for the dreaded Chain Letter.

Mildly Recommended.

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