The ZONE genre worldwide books movies
the Last Word in
Science Fiction
magazines online
 
 
critical articles, interviews, author profiles, retro lists, genre essays, incisive media reviews

The Frightening (2001)
Director: David DeCoteau

review by Trent Walters

Pan across a California beach somewhere near Hollywood...

Writer [dripping wet with surfboard in hand]:
   Dudes! You're that famous producer/director pair of Hollywood B movies.

Producer [nonchalant, breathes on and shines fingernails]:
   Yes?

Writer:
   I got this totally gnarly idea for flick. It's about these high-schoolers...

Director [turns over to sunburn back]:
   Everybody's got ideas, kid; they're cheap -

Producer:
   Wait, David. I think this kid's on to something. Please, continue. It has high school students?

Writer:
   Yeah, dude. And they're going to high school.

Director [voice muffled in towel]:
   What are your credentials?

Writer:
   I just graduated from high school so I know firsthand what it's like. Plus I was the photographer for the Yearbook.

Producer [leans forward in lawn chair]:
   Impressive. And these high school students, are they in their underwear?

Writer:
   Duh. You�ve got to wear something under your clothes.

Producer:
   I mean, do they walk around in their underwear... at school.

Writer:
   Oh, you mean like in a dream. Of course. It's a totally hot babe -

Producer [loses interest]:
   Oh.

Writer:
   But she's only in a slip surrounded by a bunch of bare-chested guys in - get this - briefs.

Producer [eyes roll to back of head, considering cinematic climactic possibilities]:
   Oooh.

Director [flips back to his back]:
   Oh, come on. What's the freaking plot?

Writer:
   The high school is not what it seems.

Director:
   That�s a plot? It's been done. The Faculty, 1998.

Writer:
   This high school was blown up in 1925 but that's the whole mystery. You see?

Director:
   No, I don't see.

Writer:
   The building wasn't blown up...

Director:
   Uh.

Writer:
   ...with the same principal, the same students, and the same janitor. Students transfer from all over the world just to go to this one school...

Director:
   I don't know...

Producer [recovering]:
   David, you want to work in this town again?

Director:
   I'll have you know directors have ethics and principles, Mr Producer. That said, we'd certainly have to nix the janitor. It's way too over the top. And I refuse to do it without the aid of established professionals like Robert Donovan of Murdercycle and Brinke Stevens of Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity and Bimbo Movie Bash.

Producer [sighs, pulls out checkbook]:
   You drive a hard bargain.

There you have it: the stillbirth of another teen movie. The most frightening thing about The Frightening is that one by one, the eight other audience members who sat with your reviewer disappeared until finally the reviewer turned around to ask if anyone really wanted to watch this movie. But the audience had all disappeared! Okay, the reviewer exaggerates. One other person remained and she suggested watching the serviceable-but-never-watch-again three-star Ocean's Eleven instead.
   The dialogue consists of exposition lumps to fill us in on the back story. Not one moment of suspense or horror or even an atmosphere of horror exists. The horror consists solely of blood pouring out of people's mouths. It's not even punk enough to be christened splatterpunk. None of the actors can act so the screenwriter writes it into the script that everyone in town is a zombie. One by one the scumbags of school get killed off by the jocks, and the Principal and police are in on the entire scheme. You can tell by the anticlimax that this is just another idea gone awry in the hands of moviemakers.
   Is there a reason to see this movie? Are you a homosexual male or straight female into soft jail-bait porn? Unfortunately, those who potentially fell into this interest group claimed the sexy scenes weren�t terribly sexy.

The Frightening
Buy stuff at:
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email
copyright © 2001 - 2002 Pigasus Press