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Someone's Knocking At The Door (2010)
Director: Chad Ferrin

review by Mark West
SPOILER ALERT!
Sometimes, as a reviewer, you get to see a film that you want to shout about from the rooftops, especially if it's a low-budget gem, to make sure that as many people as possible are aware of it. Sometimes, unfortunately, you are forced to endure a film that's so terrible; you feel it's your duty - both as a reviewer and as a human being - to get people to avoid it. In fact, I'd suggest an Uwe Boll film (I sat through Seed) over this steaming pile of junk any day of the week.

Various write-ups online refer to this as a 'genre-defying grind-house throwback', with 'comedy, subversion, satire and true gore'. Hmm, let's just take a moment on this. Is it genre-defying? Absolutely not... Is it a grind-house throwback? Yes, in that it's cheaply made and has plenty of nudity. Does it have 'comedy, subversion and satire'? Not the film I watched. Does it have 'true gore', whatever that might be? No, but it does have poorly put together make-up effects, though, to be fair - and this is the only time I will be on the filmmakers side - they don't use any CGI and that's a blessing.

The film follows a group of pre-med students, none of whom go to class and all of whom (except one) take enough drugs to kill an elephant. Ray (Jordan Lawson) cooks up some heroin, and then answers the door to a naked lady (Elina Madison) who proceeds to shag him. Except that halfway through, she turns in Ezra Buzzington, who literally buggers him to death. Ray's friends act as shocked as they're able - and as if they'd met one another before - and try to figure out what's going on.

There's Megan (Andre Rueda), who doesn't take drugs and is protective of their friend Joe (Ricardo Gray), whom Ray nicknamed Spaz because he stutters (in fact, he seems to have plenty of disabilities for a medical student). And he does stutter, badly, apart from when the actor obviously forgot to do it. Trust me; it's that kind of film. Anyway, the rest of the cast - there's Annie (Syilvia Spross) who seems to have nothing to do, apart from rebuffing the advances of lothario Sebastien (Jon Budinoff) and finally Justin (Noah Segan), who for some reason seems to be the leader of this motley rabble.

After an embarrassing incident at Ray's funeral - which seems to take place in the bowl of a canyon with no other graves visible - that lasts for five screen minutes, the characters then spend another five minutes explaining to Justin what happened, before each of them is called in to be interviewed by Detective Fuller (David Z. Stamp) and Detective Young (Timothy Muskatell).

It appears that Justin discovered records in the school about a sadistic couple from 30 years ago, John and Wilma Hopper (Buzzington and Madison, from the opening sequence), who took a drug and literally shagged their victims to death - with a cock that was "four inches in girth, 15 inches in length" - or, as Fuller puts it, "so we're looking for a black guy then?" As you would, Justin suggests they go and take the drug and listen to the tapes of the Hoppers' interviews. For some reason, this brings a badly made-up John back to life (is that make-up supposed to be scars or burns or decomposition?), to murder his way through the cast. Detective Young gets orally violated, Annie is suffocated in Wilma's vagina (it sounds stupid, it looks even more so) and she then turns into John as she's buggering Joe. Megan is chased by Fuller, who now has the requisite knob but not the pace, though it's okay, because she falls over a dozen times running down a five metre corridor.

Justin confronts Young, demanding to know what the cop is doing and then, suddenly, they're back in the records room and Fuller and Young are paramedics. As the viewer tries to get to grips with this, the camera pulls back to reveal the bodies of Justin, Joe, Sebastien, Ray and Annie and we realise that we've been ripped off. Yes, you've just sat through an 80-minute film, told from the POV of a character who's been dead for most of it.

It's difficult to tell what the worst thing about this film is. Direction is flat and uninspired, leading to camerawork that often has to pan back and forth to try and find a character within a frame. The acting, across the board, is hopeless - with Ricardo Gray being so spectacularly bad that I had to fast-forward through his scenes - and you get the sense that the editing cuts the frame before any of them look into the camera and plead for release. The dialogue is wooden and fussy; lacking any kind of rhythm so it ends up sounding like it's been translated poorly into English, whilst Segan seems to be improvising big chunks of his, which doesn't pay off. Sometimes, too, the dialogue is hard to discern and this highlights the poor sound editing job - chunks happen in silence, not for effect but simply because, it appears, they didn't bother to dub in the relevant noises.

The digital image is dreary and washed out, not in a 'hey, this is grind-house' kind of way, but in that the colouring was off. The make-up is bland and poorly photographed, with the lack of any good or complicated work covered by lashing blood onto people. The rape scenes - and this is a film, let's not forget, that centres on people being raped by a 15-inch cock - are cut so that nothing is obvious (I don't want to see a man being buggered to death in detail, but I want to at least see something, as a grind-house throwback that's what you're promising me). The music is ill-advised and very poorly thought out (the pop song over the Young/ Megan chase for example), managing to stifle any sense of suspense that director Chad Ferrin inadvertently manages to achieve.

Perhaps the worst sin is the pacing. For an 80-minute film (of which eight minutes is taken up with credits - they run twice at the end), this has large sections where things slow down to such an extent you wonder if the DVD is working properly. We also have characters - both the students and the police - spend time explaining scenes to absent colleagues, when we - the viewer - have already seen them.

I should also point out - if you choose to watch this - that the drug flashbacks Justin suffers feature what appears to be strobe-light effects and since the BBC advises when their news reports have flash photography, perhaps epileptics might need to be made aware. This is dreadful, it really is, lacking in just about every department. In fact, it's the kind of movie - stupid, nonsensical, with the oldest plot twist in the book - that gives horror films a bad name.

Thankfully, there were no extras on my screener copy though I understand there are some on the retail release - and if you've got money to waste on that, you have more money than sense.

Someone's Knocking At The Door



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