As the mayhem of summer movies effectively grinds to a brake-squealing halt we're beginning to get stuck with weeks where there isn't a whole lot to get excited about. Last weekend there were many releases but not much overall buzz. This week, there are only two movies on the docket. One looks scary as hell and the other looks like it could be a muddle mess of bullets.
Let's take a look at what this Rotten Week has to offer.
The Last Exorcisim
Nothing like a little demon-possessed girl bending her body every which way, crawling across the ceiling, wearing a super creepy nightgown, and generally wreaking havoc on a family to get the scary horror juices flowing. This movie looks just plain terrifying. I had trouble even getting through the trailer. Horror flicks scare me more than the average person (it takes a real man to admit that).
Eli Roth produces and Daniel Stamm directs this tale of Reverend Cotton Marcus choosing to film his last exorcism. I love the plot which revolves around the Rev having spent years performing “exorcisms” for years on religious freaks who think they have the devil in them. So he brings along a documentary film crew to basically confess that he's been running a sham. But oops, this girl actually does have the boogy-woogy flu. Maybe they should have called it One Really Ironic Exorcism.
Stamm has one real good critical victory in his career with A Necessary Death (83%) so there's reason to think his latest film will perform. And having Roth as a producer certainly doesn't hurt. His other producer credits (Cabin Fever - 63%, Hostel - 59%, Hostel: Part II- 45%) also lend hope. Granted with those flicks he also wrote and directed (he did neither on this latest film) so we can't put all that much stock in the terrifying Roth brand name.
The Last Exorcism looks like the rare horror film that's scary as hell while also being a captivating story. Those two attributes can sometimes be mutually exclusive. Here, I think they fit together nicely. The Rotten Watch for The Last Exorcism is 68%.
I was starting to feel like Takers had a chance to be pretty good. That is until the 24 second mark of the trailer when Paul Walker appears on screen and I just thought, “Forget it, this thing's going to suck.” It's not that Paul Walker is a movie killer exactly, but in action/crime/drama movies like Takers his resume leave a great deal to be desired (I'm looking at you Fast and Furious franchise).
But okay, Walker isn't the only player here. There must be something to get excited about, right? I mean the movie is about bank robbers. Who doesn't love a good bank robbery story? The rest of the team consists of Michael Ealy (spotty track record at best), Chris Brown (not terrible I suppose), Hayden Christensen (legit bad and wearing a weird hat in this movie), Idris Elba (good actor, bunch of bad flicks) and Tip “T.I.” Harris (almost no acting credits). So now when we look at the whole gang we start getting a picture of a movie that'll struggle to earn critical praise.
But actors aren't the only question mark (although they're a big one). Factor in that this is John Luessenhop's first directing credit in a decade and his first foray into screenwriting ever, along with rest of the a writing team (four of them total) who have almost no writing resume to speak of, and we start to see a project that might possibly just be all over the place.
Takers has the look of a film that'll have its moments of entertainment without garnering any real critical acclaim. But I bet the soundtrack will at least be pretty cool. The Rotten Watch for Takers is 39%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest Tomatometer score?
Last week was a fairly huge victory for the Rotten Watch with one notable exception (a huge, huge loss). Let's look at the wins first. Lottery Ticket (Predicted 37% Actual 32%) was right on the money as was Vampires Suck (Predicted 2% Actual 3%) which barely outperformed the lowest expectations ever given a movie in this column. Nanny McPhee Returns (Predicted 79% Actual 77%) was almost an exact guess, and it needed to be since I had a running start with the film.
Meanwhile The Switch (Predicted 42% Actual 52%) was a close call, but slightly dispelled my Aniston-theory which stated if she was the cover of a movie box, the film would fall under the 50% range. You did it Jen. You squeaked in a win and proved me wrong.
Finally we come to Piranhas 3D (Predicted 18% Actual 80%). This might have been my biggest mistake in the history of the Rotten Watch. Off by 62% is plain embarrassing and it's clear I just didn't understand what I was seeing in the trailers. Commenters for last week's column said as much. I saw it as a legit effort at horror filmmaking while in reality it was a campy flick meant more to tease and poke fun rather than actually scare anyone. Four out of five is still a win, but those piranhas will continue to haunt me.
Next week George Clooney is The American, Justin Long and Drew Barrymore get their rom-com on and Robert Rodriguez is back doing what he does best: B movies. It's going to be a Rotten Week!