Tag Archives: Robert Patrick

Hellions (2015)


Rating: D-/ Wow. This is one the more ridiculous films I’ve had the displeasure of seeing lately. Not to be confused with Kat Candler’s wonderfully authentic 2014 drama Hellion, Bruce McDonald’s Hellions is both implausible even for a slasher and at times unintentionally hilarious. The best worst part this sumptuous feast of cheese offered up for me was the scene where the pregnant teenage heroine Dora (Chloe Rose) imagines her reflection in the mirror gobbling up an incredibly fake-looking human fetus after sprinkling it with a little salt and enthusing about how ‘good it tastes.’ Seriously? Who wrote this fucking script?

I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of McDonald’s earlier efforts The Tracey Fragments and Pontypool (I actually did an inner face-palm when I saw his name in the opening credits- Bruce McDonald? That Bruce McDonald?) but I must say this was the cream of the crap, so to speak. Looking at the quality alone I would have guessed this was a film student’s first feature, not the work of a director with several films under his belt. The gaping plot holes, the ludicrous storyline, the frustrating purplish-pinkish lighting that pervades through most of the movie- I say that anyone who loved this movie needs to be checked for a brain. Still, it isn’t a complete bust, because I really needed a new scathing review for my blog. Here it is, folks. You’re welcome.

Seventeen-year-old punk-goth Dora Vogel finds out she’s like, totally preggers one Halloween which is sure to be unlike any other she’s ever experienced. That night, what appears to be some creepy trick-or-treaters routinely torment her and eventually offer her her boyfriend (Luke Bilyk)’s head in a bag. Rude! Dora decides to fight back and is aided in her battle by local cop Mike Corman (Robert Patrick,) who randomly takes her with him into the house and hands her a gun. Seriously, can’t you lose your job for putting a teenaged girl’s life is grave danger and just handing her a loaded weapon. Anyone can be a cop apparently. And learning how to load and unload a gun doesn’t take, like, training or anything.

None of the authority figures act the way they should in this movie. Instead of immediately coming to her assistance, the 911 operator waffles and asks Dora if the killers are ‘playing some kind of joke on her’ after Dora has already provided the details for her. They put her boyfriend’s motherfucking head in a motherfucking bag, lady. Do you think you could send some fuckin’ back up before someone else loses their crown? Then there’s the little satanic moppets who want Dora’s baby for some Rosemary’s Baby type shit. They wear screwed-up masks (one of which looks like it came straight off the kid from The Orphanage) and keep trilling ‘Blood for Baby!’ in weirdo distorted voices. Turns out, Dora’s little angel is growing at a rapid rate- and plans to feed on her flesh as soon as it emerges from her body. The evil trick-or-treaters’ jobs are to see this plan to completion.

But this movie is so darn corny and ridiculous to care what will happen to Dora or whether she will be devoured by Baby Munster. The lighting is distracting- it feels very unnecessary and low-budget and detracts from a movie that has enough damn problems to begin with. The special effects and acting are surprisingly on a scale of not-so-terrible to pretty good, but the script is ludicrous and suffers from a multitude of exasperating implausibilities and plot holes. We see that Dora’s tormentors are not quite human when salt gets poured on one of them and it literally sizzles and perishes on the spot, but Dora doesn’t get the idea to use the salt as a weapon until 2/3 of the way into the movie.

Maybe she sees salt melt people on a regular basis. I was like use the salt, use the salt, use the salt! The Frog Brothers could have told you that. But you can’t guide the character in a horror film’s decision-making. That’s what video games are for. Dora remains infuriatingly obtuse and the police force remains bollocks and this movie remains lame. Lame and implausible and oh-so-very cheap. If unintentional comedies are your thing, this movie may be your new favorite cult classic. If you want an intelligent, well-constructed horror movie that doesn’t make you roll your eyes, oh, every five seconds, stay far, far away from this appalling dud.


The Road Within (2014)

road within

So, I did the unthinkable last night, I watched a remake of a foreign movie before viewing the original. The Road Within is a remake of the 2010 German film, Vincent Wants to Sea, and I’ve heard it is a very faithful adaptation. Anyway, if that is the case, I might as well cross Vincent off my itinerary. The Road Within may be an independent film, but it feels as pedestrian as they come.

Let’s cut to the chase; the real problem here isn’t the script (trite and hokey as it is,) but Dev Patel. Fucking Dev Patel, man, Robert Sheehan plays Vincent, a Tourette’s Syndrome victim with a anger management problem in this movie, and he’s quite good. He’s making a monumental effort against a weak script with his solid performance.

Following his alcoholic mother’s death, Vincent is sent to a behavioral therapy program by his cold-hearted  politician father (Robert Patrick) and so sooner has he been dropped off and virtually abandoned by pops he befriends a flirty pixyish anorexic (Zoe Kravitz) and hits the road in his therapist’s stolen car to scatter his  mother’s ashes at sea.

Of course there’s one small problem, besides that whole ‘wanted felons in a stolen car’ thing. Vincent and the Anorexic, Marie have taken Vincent’s annoying roommate, Alex (Dev Patel) with them, quite forcibly (to prevent him from narcing them out to the doctors at the facility,) and that’s where the film really falters.

Don’t watch this if you’re an Obsessive-compulsive Disorder victim like me; it will just infuriate and baffle you. Alex is a pedantic clean freak who suffers from OCD, and that’s where the filmmaker’s development of his character ends. His character more often than not provides some kind of ghastly slapstick, his eyes bulging out like a deranged Marty Feldman incarnate, jumping about comically like a spastic and screaming about ‘poo’ and ‘contamination’ whenever someone touches him.

It’s pretty much the tackiest OCD stereotype one can imagine, and I felt almost embarrassed for the actor and the filmmaker in that (a they treated a complex and serious illness this way and (b that they thought people with OCD actually act like this. While Sheehan’s part is underwritten and pretty cliche as far as depictions of Tourette’s Syndrome go (choosing to portray the uncontrollable cursing that sometimes- but not typically- goes with the illness,) his character is written with some finesse and sympathy, and the actor creates a somewhat likable protagonist with admittedly limited resources. He seems, more or less, like someone who could exist in the real world.

Contrary to this movie’s depiction of OCD, people suffering from the illness are not psychotic or retarded (we may in fact be borderline crazy, if ‘insanity’ is defined by having an unfortunate mental condition that hinders our day-to-day functioning, but I desist.) The director, Gren Wells, could just as well have hired Adam Sandler (Happy Madison productions Sandler, not Punch-Drunk Love Sandler) to play Alex and it probably would have been just as convincing a portrayal. Patel’s shtick gets old fast, and by fast I mean the minute he’s introduced into the movie.

Besides the unfortunate depiction of certain psychological conditions, the setup of The Road Within is painfully standard, with characters apparently reaching recovery from a healing road trip and lots and lots of big discussions about the trio’s illnesses effect on their lives. Robert Patrick does a good job (and actually has a touching monologue near the end) but his character is just too unbelievable, going full circle from uncaring jerk to genuinely loving dad thanks to a few short conversations with Vincent’s shrink (Kyra Sedgwick.) The transformation just isn’t plausible with you consider the father, Robert’s years of being a total asshole to his son.

It all ties into a neat tidy bundle at the end and despite some good scenes and performances, ultimately has little to say about the character’s conditions. Comedies, whether convivial or dark, about mental illness can be effective; just look at Benny & Joon, The Silver Linings Playbook, and The bizarro black comedy The Voices. The Voices was offensive as offensive can be, but it didn’t try to be anything other than a pitch black comedy. The Silver Linings Playbook performed the high wire act between being light and funny and not trivializing the characters’ illnesses. The Road Within has it’s moments, but ultimately it’s just not a substantial flick, obtaining cheap laughs from the character’s  respective maladies and telling a well-meaning yet tired story with no real surprises.