The good doctor thought this was great, so it ended up on our Love Film list. It arrived last night and I hate to admit this (because I appreciate it was ridiculous) but I didn't like it. I hid behind a cushion. It's a kind of a 'my first comedy horror' from Gremlins director Joe Dante aimed at teenagers. Thing is: I'm not a teenager and I don't like horror. And that's no laughing matter.
The premise is some kids move into a new neighbourhood and discover a whacking great big hole under their house. Good job the previous tennant moved out without so much of a post it note explaining it's a kind of gate way to hell and they best not remove the flimsy padlocks he's attached. But they do, and yes, all hell breaks loose - sort of.
Hell broke loose in the form of a terrible, slightly stunted script which trys to pack in slick one liners from the three lead characters. It just doesn't sound like normal converstaion. Even from grunting teenagers. Also, there's some awful plot decisions - huge story gaps which require a leap of faith from the audience as big as getting on board with the concept of the film in the first place.
So why did it scare me?
There's a freaky horrible clown.
Oh, it's nasty. Like that early 90s horror Childs Play but more menacing. It winks. Pure evil.
And then there's the nerve shattering high strings throughout the whole audio soundtrack. It's relentless. Like the foghorn in Shutter Island, it's permanently unsettling. Even in the day-time, sun-shining, pool swimming moments. "Agh, shut it off", I heard myself silently scream.
This teen-horror flick then descends into an odd commentary on domestic violence. It's like that scene in Hitchcock's Spellbound which Salvador Dali directed. It's super surreal, it's a brave artistic decision, but unlike Hitchcock, I didn't feel under a spell. Rather, I felt the director, Joe Dante, had watched a Tim Burton film the night before and thought he'd have a go. Just plain odd.
Verdict - 1 out of 5 - mainly for the comedy clown fight at the end.