Red Velvet

Dir: Bruce Dickson
Star: Henry Thomas, Kelli Garner, Lateef Crowder, Eric Jungmann

Aaron (Thomas) does not like his neighbors, because of their loud arguments. But when he meets Linda (Garner) in the laundry, she strikes up a conversation with him, much to his initial chagrin. Still, they end up going to lunch, where he finds out the reason she's upset is because she didn't get to go to a birthday party upstate. To cheer her up, he weaves a tale of her friends being slaughtered by a masked killer. Only, how much of it is fictional? And where has Linda's boyfriend gone? You probably won't be surprised by any of the answers to these questions, even once the film discards its layered structure, in front of a more straightforward stalk 'n' slash finish - it then throws on another couple of twists, though I can't say I found them entirely satisfying.

There's a deliberately-lurid feel about some of the elements here, with the tales told by Aaron having an EC Comics feel to them, and it's deliberately self-referential, possessing characters who are aware of the conventions and cliches of the genre. While this can be problematic, and is occasionally painfully obvious, the script avoids too much emphasis on this aspect. The best death, by quite some way, features an incredibly-graphic use of a saw; nothing else can quite match that. Particularly at the start, it is talky, and you need to be patient with the film before it kicks into gear. This does allow the characters to develop, and the dialogue is often amusing in itself. However, the story is not quite as clever as it thinks it is, and makes the inevitable mistake, that repeating cliches - even "ironically" - does not stop them from being anything but cliches.

[May 2008]

Rabbit Pie 2: 
The Revenge
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