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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 218: The Deaths Of Ian Stone

The Deaths Of Ian Stone
Get this guy some moisturizer

We live in a world of regret. Each one of us has a moment in their life they'd like to do over. Maybe say something different or act a different way in the hopes that the outcome would be different. These range from life decisions such as going to a different college or taking a different job. There is always the “what if” in life that invades our minds in those brief moments before falling asleep. These fantasies we have are created from our own minds and turn out the way we want. But what happens when these different lives are not your decision and there is nothing you can do to stop them from happening?

The Deaths of Ian Stone is a 2007 horror movie starring starring Mike Vogel (Cloverfield, The Help) as Ian Stone. Ian is an American living in England. He plays hockey and is very much in love with his British girlfriend, Jenny (Christina Cole, Casino Royale, Hex). One night after losing a hockey game, Ian comes across a man lying in the road. He gets out to check on him, but is attacked by the “corpse.” He is pushed onto nearby train tracks and is hit by an oncoming train. At the point of impact, Ian wakes up at his desk in an office. He is confused and remembers nothing, but tries to go about his day. Outside his office, he sees a man having a heart attack. One of the people attending to the man holds his hand and appears to be pulling the life force out of him. Ian is no longer dating Jenny, but lives with a mysterious woman named Medea (Jaime Murray, Devil's Playground, Botched). The next day, Ian meets an old man who frantically warms Ian that he is in danger and that “they” are coming. The old man is grabbed by something and pulled away. Eventually, Ian is killed by Medea, who is one of these monsters, and instantly starts a new life. The cycle continues with Ian waking up in a new life, but the one constant is that Jenny is in each of these lives. He begins to remember pieces of his previous lives when he runs into the old man from before. He learns that these monsters are called Harvesters who feed on fear and pain. Ian also discovers that he is one of them and rebelled against the colony when he fell in love with Jenny. Will Ian be able to remember his true past and free Jenny and himself from this endless cycle?


The concept of repeating lives in horror and science fiction is nothing new. The Deaths of Ian Stone instantly brings to mind The Time Machine and The Butterfly Effect. It's always fun to see where these movies go when they explore different lives of the main character. This movie does give us a few different lives, such as Ian being a heroin addict, but I feel like they should have really switched things up. Most of the time, he and Jenny were just working a different profession. The story itself is pretty mediocre, giving off the sense that I've already seen this movie before. Where this movie differs is the inclusion of the Harvester monsters who look like a cross between the smoke monster from Lost and Blackheart from the Marvel Super Heroes arcade game. The special effects used to create the monsters are decent and I never felt like the movie was overdoing it. The movie avoids most of the science fiction in favor of monsters and action. There is some blood and gore, but for a horror movie, this wasn't particularly scary or thrilling. The action is pretty much paint-by-numbers, with the last 20 or so minutes focusing solely on Ian fighting the Harvesters. The try to make the movie a love story, but it isn't able to really pull it off.

The character of Ian Stone is supposed to be your typical All-American boy, but Mike Vogel looks so much like Michael DeLuise who played the bully Matt Wilson from Encino Man that I couldn't take him seriously. I also find it strange that they decided to set the movie in the UK and have every other character in the movie be British. Is this supposed to be some fish-out-of-water experience? It just seems random and unnecessary to make the main character American. I also find it weird that they have him play hockey. I love hockey and I'm always happy to see it in movies, it's just not the biggest sport in either the United States or England. The acting and direction in the movie is fine, but nothing spectacular. That pretty much sums up the entire movie. Nothing is offensive or bad. Everything is just “OK”.

Aw, snap

The Deaths of Ian Stone tries to add a horror twist to the life-altering science-fiction genre. The inclusion of the Harvesters makes for an interesting idea and lets the movie have more action and violence. The monsters look good and the special effects are not overdone. I'm glad the movie explained who they are and what they're doing. Plenty of movies get lazy and only give a half-assed explanation. The action is decent with some good blood and violence. As a whole, the movie is pretty mediocre. No new ground is broken which is a shame because they could have made the cycle of lives far more interesting than what they came up with. The Deaths of Ian Stone is a watchable movie and even has a few good moments, but it isn't particularly special.


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