Tag Archives: F

REED’S POINT

Producers: Sandy Lo and Sasha Anne   Director: Dale Fabrigar   Screenplay: Sandy Lo and Tricia Aurand   Cast: Sasha Anne, Julia Kelly, Evan Adams, Anthony Jensen, Madison Ekstrand, Joseph Almani, Catherine Healy, Lanett Tachel, Clint Carmichael, Giovanni Espiritu, Christopher Dukes, Matthew Payne and Joe Estevez   Distributor: Uncork’d Entertainment

Grade: F

A throwback to the terrible teens-in-peril monster movies of the fifties and sixties, “Reed’s Point,” which on the print streamed for review bears the subtitle “Bad Blood Never Dies,” might have some nostalgia value for those who remember them affectionately.  But even they will have to endure a script that repeats stock shocks so often that they become risible, performances that descend to sub-amateur levels, and a production so scruffy that the images are sometimes barely discernible.  By the end you’re likely to sigh in relief that it’s only seventy-five minutes long—if you get that far.

Three college chums—Sarah (Sasha Anne), her cousin Kelsey (Madison Ekstrand) and the latter’s boyfriend Alex (Evan Adams)—are involved in a crash while travelling through New Jersey’s Pine Barrens in an RV with Sarah’s father (Clint Carmichael).  Sarah and Alex survive (and so apparently does her father, though he’s not heard of again), but Kelsey is presumed dead, her body never found. 

Doing research on the crash area, Sasha becomes convinced that Kelsey is still alive, carried off by the legendary Jersey Devil, and convinces Maxine (Julia Kelly), the editor of the campus paper, that it should be investigated.  So she and Alex drive off to Reed’s Point to search for clues.  Though warned of danger by a drunken old bum (veteran Joe Estevez, whose ten-second cameo is explicable only as a favor to somebody), they hire local guide Hank (Anthony Jensen) to take them into the woods. 

A bad idea.  Alex is frightened by something in the forest, runs off, falls down a hill and gets impaled on a tree limb.  While Hank trudges back to his truck for a saw to cut him loose, Sarah wanders off and finds an isolated house where handsome, helpful Eric (Joseph Almani) invites her in and calls the police for her.  He turns out to be a self-styled Jersey Devil investigator.  Meanwhile Hank frees Alex and takes him back to town. 

At this point the plot sickens, with the screenwriters, unable to decide whether the picture should be an old-fashioned monster movie or a tale involving some sort of land dispute, opt to make it both.  The locals are not what they seem, and both Sarah and Alex repeatedly find themselves in dire danger (poor Adams, who seems an amiable enough fellow, gets the worst of it, being clobbered, drugged, tied up and shot as well as impaled on that tree, all in the space of barely an hour).  The fate of Kelsey is revealed, but not to anyone’s satisfaction. A closing “gotcha” moment is scribbed from innumerable other pictures.

The Jersey Devil has been grist for plenty of video games, movies and TV shows (including an episode of “The X-Files”), and most have been bad; this is easily among the worst.  That the production is threadbare is to be expected (the RV crash is a mess, sloppily shot by John Lazear and clumsily edited by Jeremy Inman and director Dale Fabrigar), but overall John Gaitan’s production design is of bargain-basement quality, and there’s no rhythm to either the direction or the editing: the film just shifts haphazardly back and forth between one plot thread and another.  (At one point, Michelle decides to follow Sarah and Alex, only to wind up blundering about the woods.  Anybody who’s seen “The Shining” can guess what happens next.)  Mikel Shane Prather’s score offers no relief from the grainy images.  The few effects, to use the term loosely, are awful.

Most of the acting can be charitably described as rudimentary, but special note must be made of the terrible turn by Anne as Sarah; she’s like a black hole in the middle of the screen, delivering her lines with dead intonation.  She’s also listed as one of the producers; perhaps one of her choices should have been to remain behind the camera.

As to that forgotten subtitle: maybe bad blood never dies, but “Reed’s Point” also proves that bad movies will always be with us. 

DEMIGOD

Producers: Miles Doleac, Lindsay Anne Williams, Wesley C. O’Mary and James Victor Bulian   Director: Miles Doleac   Screenplay: Miles Doleac and Michael Donovan Horn   Cast: Rachel Nichols, Yohance Myles, Miles Doleac, Lindsay Anne Williams, Elena Sanchez, Rachel Ryals, Sarah Fisher, Christian Stokes, Chima Chekwa, Manon Pages, Tatiana Piper, Sherri Eakin, Mike Mayhall and Jeremy London   Distributor:  Gravitas Ventures

Grade: F

You have to have a degree of sympathy for filmmakers who pursue their dreams despite a singular lack of talent and meager resources.  Perhaps someday a Tim Burton will happen along who will do for them what he did for their best-known colleague Ed Wood.  On the basis of his work thus far, Miles Doleac might soon rival Uwe Boll as this generation’s prime claimant to the crown.

This time around, Doleac offers a horror movie.  Taking advantage of his doctorate in ancient history, he and co-writer Michael Donovan Horn have concocted a script about the reemergence of Cernunnus (or Cernnunos), a horned Celtic deity regarded as the lord of the forest and the hunt.  In their tale, set in Germany’s Black Forest, the creature is woken from his slumber by a trio of witches who are his acolytes—Hettica (Lindsay Anne Williams), Letara (Elena Sanchez) and Fell (Sarah Fisher), along with their lumbering assistant Grimur (Christian Stokes).  Cernunnus (Chima Chekwa, wearing a rubber mask with antlers—and sometimes glowing red eyes—and growling his lines in muffled tones) is roused by sacrifices they make to him by capturing hikers who have the temerity to trespass in his woods.

That’s bad news for Robin and Leo Murphy (Rachel Nichols and Yohance Myles), who arrive to claim ownership of the rustic house that her deceased grandfather Karl (Jeremy London, appearing in flashbacks) left her in his will.  They’re accosted in the forest by gruff farmer Arthur Fuchs (Doleac), who’s out hunting with his little granddaughter Amalia (Rachel Ryals).  He tells them the fearful tale of Cernunnus, which of course they dismiss as local folklore—a terrible mistake.  It’s not long before they’ve been captured and staked out in the woods—along with Arthur, Amalia, and other hapless passersby. 

From this point the movie turns into a tedious collection of escapes, pursuits, bloody deaths and confrontations in which Cernunnus, a garrulous fellow who pontificates endlessly on all sorts of matters and threatens everyone, finally engaging, for some reason, in a prolonged tussle with Grimur while the survivors attempt to get away.

“Demigod” wants to be suspenseful and scary, but it’s so inept that it merely proves risible—though not sufficiently so as to become enjoyably campy.  The dialogue is atrocious, especially laughable when some of the actors deliver it in terrible German accents, and the acting is strictly of amateur-night quality.  The threadbare visuals—a skimpy production design by Julie Toche, frenziedly murky camerawork by Nathan Tape, hectic editing by Keith J. Hollingsworth—are matched by the blustery score and sound design by Clifton Hyde.

This is one of those pictures where you can’t resist quoting from the script.  Early on a character intones, “Pain is necessary”—a sentiment it proceeds to demonstrate for both the characters and viewers, before repeating it again near the close.  There’s also the moment when Leo angrily shouts, “This is a bag of hot s***,” something with which one can readily agree.

Still, you have to admire Doleac for remaining undeterred in his quest to make a masterpiece.  Or maybe not.  He also teaches filmmaking at a New Orleans college, and one can only shudder at the thought of all the students who might be inspired to follow in his footsteps.