Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scarier things than Tom Arnold lurk in this movie

The set up: Our main character Bryan Beckett (Tim Daly) inherits a rambling Victorian style mansion from his aunt and moves into the house while settling the estate. Bryan is the skeptic referred to in the title and finds his stoicism tested by seemingly supernatural events in the house.

The Good: This is a review that will be very upfront that I am not exactly happy I gave up time to watch the movie. There are only two real stars here. The first is the gorgeous house which was totally distracting during some of the movie’s more dull parts. The stock character of the local priest warns Bryan, “There is something not right about that house”. Being the constant HGTV viewer, I wondered if he was referring the plumbing, wiring or maybe termites. Such speculation was a nice diversion. The second is Zoe Saldana in the small role of Cassie, a paranormal expert of sorts who helps Bryan work his way through the mystery. She is a fantastic actress who I am so happy has found success in the form of the new Star Trek franchise. For about 15 minutes while she was on the screen, Jeff (my yet to be named movie watching partner) turned to me and said, “this is getting interesting”. It did not last though.

The Bad: I don’t know where to begin. I could say The Skeptic is a half decent attempt at low budget horror, but I would have to ignore so much. The combination of clunky writing and bad acting is dismal. There are some exchanges between Bryan and his best bud, Sully (Tom Arnold) where you almost feel the writer is getting into a groove, but then just as suddenly everything switches back to a state best described as awkward. As an example, the script hits you over the head in the first 15 minutes that Bryan is an unemotional skeptic , but below the surface we are also supposed to feel he is troubled. There is no nuance here. Daly is forced either to play straight on “skeptic” or emotional basket case. I used the word clunky before and it is so appropriate to describe him switching back and forth between the two. Oh and the ending. I’ll give you that it is creepy but you could interpret it several different ways. I don’t need to be spoon-fed my movie plots but as the viewer I would have appreciated a hint. Without any hints my question is, did the writer really intend to create the most evil mother since “Mommy Dearest”.?

Final verdict – great concept but horrible execution.


Mocking Movies said...

It really sucked!