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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 38: Masters of Horror: The Damned Thing

Masters of Horror: The Damned Thing
Good thing my shoes have Velcro instead of laces

You ever see a movie where you like absolutely everything? The story, the sets, the acting, and the action all work and present a great movie from the beginning to the end? Then have you seen a movie with a very similar story, but fails in every aspect that the former movie succeeded?

The Damned Thing (inspired by a short story) stars Sean Patrick Flannery (Boondock Saints) as Sheriff Kevin Reddle in the small Texas town of Cloverdale. As a child, Kevin saw his father inexplicably go insane and murder his mother, before turning on him. Kevin hid in a tree and saw his father eviscerated by an unseen force. In the present day, people all over town star going insane, killing others and themselves in brutal fashion. There were reports in the past of an oil town where people were slaughtered by an unseen force after the oil dried up and Kevin believes the same thing is happening again. He is soon swept up in the madness and tries to kill his ex-girlfriend and their son. Will Kevin and his family survive or will the Damned Thing finally get him?

Not if alcohol poisoning gets him first

If it sounds like you've heard a similar plot before, its because you have. George Romero's The Crazies also involves a small town where people go insane and start killing each other. Romero's people are affected by a biological weapon whereas the people in The Damned Thing are affected by the supernatural. Both the original and 2010 remake of The Crazies are far, far more enjoyable than The Damned Thing. Why bother seeing a different movie if you know there are 2 far superior ones readily available. This movie suffers from so much more than just a lack of originality.

The story is very basic and, perhaps I missed something, doesn't make much sense. I don't really understand exactly what the Damned Thing is, where is comes from, or exactly what it wants. I think it was unleashed when the town started drilling for oil, but that's just a guess. I really don't know what it wants with Kevin and I don't really care. Every character in this movie is annoying. You're supposed to feel empathy, but you just want them to go away. Flannery's acting is flat for most of the film, but that can be attributed more towards character development (or lack thereof). His son follows the trend of being an incredibly annoying character in a horror movie. It feels like it's a requirement now that if you have a child in a scary movie, they have to be as annoying as possible. 

I believe I can flyyAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

There is some excitement at the beginning and end that will at least hold your attention for a few minutes. The murders and suicides are a bit creative and one scene with a hammer might make you cringe. The action itself is decent with some serious gore and blood spurting. The movie goes for quantity more than quality, with the blood looking like someone spilled a gallon jug of Hawaiian Punch. 

I know there are some differences between The Damned Thing and The Crazies,but the similarities are just too much too ignore. When you have a small town go crazy with murders, you have to know it has been done before. That was the main focus of the movie instead of focusing on The Damned Thing. If they focused more on the creature/spirit/whatever, then maybe it wouldn't have felt like I was watching a bad version of a movie I like. The characters are all unlikable and the poor acting just makes it worse. Perhaps the short story the movie is based on is actually and exciting read. Unfortunately, the movie does not make me want to give it the time it deserves.


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