For anyone who wondered why there haven’t been any ABC After School Specials featuring murder, I present this film.
Director Patrick Brice
Screenplay Henry Gayden based on the book by Stephanie Perkins
Starring Sydney Park, Théodore Pellerin, Asjha Cooper, Jesse LaTourette, Diego Josef
For anyone who wondered why there haven’t been any ABC After School Specials featuring murder, I present this film. Into the small town of Osborne, Nebraska, we find Makani Young (Park), a young girl transferring from Hawaii under suspiscious circumstances. Before we even get to know her, one of the star players of the football team has been murdered.
That victim is found not to be a victim at all, but a mean gay basher. So it was a good kill, right?
In the aftermath, Makani and her friends welcome the person who was bashed into their group of outsiders. This group includes people of different colors, orientations and incomes, but none of them feel “included” within the community. That this group includes some very beautiful people who just say they’re outsiders should be ignored for sake of brevity.
Also, please try to ignore the fact that the guy who stares into the group longingly doesn’t really look creepy so much as the members of the group will tell you he does. He’s got to be a suspect, because they tell you he is their prime suspect #1.
Very soon, in that way bad teenage slasher films do, the kids are wandering through a series of murders, revelations and parties. We see very telling signs, but we’re encouraged (poorly) to ignore the obvious as the big conclusion approaches. Oh and the killer wears a mask of the person they plan to kill. Why? Because we’re supposed to be reflective at the moment the killing stroke occurs, I guess.
That conclusion takes place in a field of digitally burning corn. How quaint.
Of the actors, Park’s performance is the only one that contains more than one note. Everyone else holds a spot in the plot designed to get the viewer from point a to point b without having time to notice they’ve seen this before done much better.
The inclusion of James Wan in the production of the film is obvious in the kills. This means there is more blood and a couple of gross out moments. There is none of the tension of a film directed by Wan, however. There’s just platitudes that land with a thud as we try to process how we should be inclusive and which soulless cis-gender white person will be held responsible for this whole mess.
Avoid this if you don’t need to be rushed through just to see the pointy bits.
(* out of *****)