Yes, that is the title I'm going with, and now I'll elaborate as to why. As I was perusing Rue Morgue the other day, as I am wont to as the new issues hit shelves, I began to jot down a bunch of movies that were relatively well reviewed and that I had not seen. Well, my list quickly escalated to ten, and I managed to locate eight of them rather easily and figured, since I often just hide films away and forget about them, I might as well watch these and see how each looks. So, this will be the first of the eight and, if all goes according to plan, I'll try to 'kill off' two or three a week. Okay, on with it.
AMUSEMENT (2008) Direct to DVD. Directed by John Simpson, Horror, Approx: 130 minutes.
The ad I saw for this movie included two very distinct pictures: An exceedingly demented clown nearly as scary as Pennywise, and a flayed woman hanging from chains. Now, I will happily report that both of these things are in this movie, without a doubt... and this is good. However, those wonderful things aside, there are a few 'cookie cutter' scenes in this movie that really signify the genre yet, that too, is okay.
From the get go the film really starts to traverse familiar territory, and I was at first worried that this was going to stray into 'been-there' flop, but I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how it played out. Three lady friends from high school are shown at the onset, and are immediately pegged as once having been best friends. In the first stanza, we meet Shelby (Laura Breckenridge), and her boyfriend on a road trip. They find themselves in a convoy on the highway with a few other vehicles and decide to stop at a gas station with the other drivers. One of them, a standoffish semi driver, tells Shelby that up ahead on the freeway is bumper to bumper according to his radio contact. He tells the others to follow him and he'd be happy to circumvent the issue and get them back on the highway. Yes, a nice red flag went up for me here, too, and this really could have gone in so many directions, but I will say, it isn't always the sadistic trucker after all.
In the second part, we meet Tabitha (Katheryn Winnick) and it begins as though it were written like an urban legend. Now, we've all seen hundreds of these UL movies, each more or less a mirror image of the last. Well, this is certainly one for the originality department and I have to say, gave me a bit of a start. Tab is the young aunt to a couple little boys she is in town to visit. She arrives at the house only to hear that the baby sitter has gone and left the two tykes alone. Well, Tab is none to happy, but makes the best and gets the boys off to bed. As Tab brings her things to the guest room, she discovers that is inundated with clowns (PS: I HATE clowns). I think you can see where this is headed so I won't even bother to carry on. Once you see the clown pic I mentioned earlier, you'll understand.
Now part three finds Lisa (Jessica Lucas) at a bar with her roommate, Kat. Lisa talks Kat into going home with a guy she doesn't know but who's had an eye on her all night. Yeah, there's her first mistake. Later, after Lisa and her fella wake up, there is no sign of Kat, and Lisa, naturally, gets worried. Well, she knows that the guy was staying at a local 'hostel' on campus, so she goes around to see if Kat is still there. Well, as Kat was turned away, her boyfriend uses his status as a Health Department officer to wiggle his way in. Hours later (no, I won't tell you what goes on inside) Lisa manages to sneak her own way in only to discover a really creepy deaf lady coupled with some serious issues with all the beds in the joint. Sleeping with someone takes on a whole new meaning.
Soon, all of this seemingly separate story lines come to a head as a now institutionalized 'girl' (nope, not getting that out of me either) thinks back on her school days and realizes that she and her friends really shattered a young boy's emotions by making fun of him rather relentlessly. Well, DING, a light goes off and she suddenly realizes who she might be up against. From this point on, the twists and turns come one after another and I shan't spoil a thing only to tell you that the aforementioned 'flayed female' scene is in there somewhere as quite a doozy of a twist itself. I have to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised and quite glad I watched it. By no means a gory film in any respect, but certainly worth a viewing with a number of head-nodding approvals from me. Find this one, and be AMUSED. Ha ha! 'It's funny, right'.