Tuesday, June 28, 2011

REVIEW: Venom (2005)

Today we are going to be looking at a movie by Jim Gillespie! You know. The guy responsible for such classics as I Know What You Did Last Summer and D-Tox. Yeah, you’re probably asking yourselves, why am I even doing this to myself? I’ve already experienced the utmost ineptitude of this man twice before, so why should I even bother with his third film at all? Well, I’m nothing if not a completionist. So let’s take a look at Venom!


No…


Not quite…

Director: Jim Gillespie
Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Jonathan Jackson

There we go!

So, Netflix envelope, what do you have to tell us about this movie? “Exploring the murky swamps outside of New Orleans, a group of young people don’t expect to have company. But they meet Mr. Jangles, a madman who’s possessed by 13 unlucky souls killed by a voodoo priestess who now spends his time hunting victims. With each new body, he adds a key to his ring of death – and an extra jangle to his calling card.”

Get used to that because it is NOTHING like the movie I just saw! And I’m being serious there. That’s not even what this movie is about at all; no Mr. Jangles, no exploring swamps, nothing about exactly 13 souls – none of that. Either Netflix just screwed up, or – the more likely answer – the people who made this movie just didn’t give a rat’s ass about getting anything right. The rest of the movie pretty much confirms those suspicions, so let’s go ahead and watch it.

We start off in the murky swamps outside of New Orleans, where an old lady is digging a hole for her career after this movie. She touches a weird little necklace thingy and gets a flashback of some of her better days from it, filled with tortured screams. Then she does some more chanting and the screen cuts abruptly to a little fast food joint where a bunch of pretentious college kids angst about their “backwards” town – which we never really see outside of the diner, so it’s pretty pointless. One guy named Eric is having girl troubles because his ex, Eden, is working at the counter of the diner and he’s too nervous to go talk to her! Because he’s a wuss.

Meanwhile she’s feeling nervous, too, but it’s OK, because her supportive generic black friend tells her everything will be cool in the end, because she has a feel for these things. But unless that means that the two of them will both be hunted by a supernaturally powered serial killer, then I’d say her feel is a bit off its game tonight. We then get introduced to a guy named Ray, who drives in what looks like a big military tank and is apparently hated by most of the town for no discernable reason. His son is Sean, who hangs out with the main characters. Apparently Ray walked out on Sean and his mother when Sean was young, and so that’s one reason why Sean hates him…and I guess we’re supposed to care or something…I don’t know. I was struggling to stay awake.

After work, Eden goes riding on her bike in the rain when she’s confronted by Eric, who parks his car in the middle of the road right next to a bridge so he can talk to her. They have a talk that basically boils down to this: Eric doesn’t like that she wants to go to a different college than the one they planned, even though she obviously would be happier there. Like any good boyfriend he doesn’t care about what she wants, and only wants what’s best for himself. Yeah, yeah, whatever; can we get to the part where they die now?

So Ray comes up behind them in his super monster truck and warns them to get off the road before an accident happens. Then irony strikes and an accident happens to him instead, as the lady from the opening sequence comes over the bridge and swerves to avoid his truck, sending her little car halfway off a bridge. Ray goes to save her and he does, but then she tells him to get the box in the back seat, which has snakes in it! I always love carrying boxes with snakes in the back of my car on long rainy nights. It’s only logical.

"Why'd it have to be snakes...?"

So Ray gets surprised, causes the car to sink and ends up going down with it. The police find him later and can’t tell if he died from a snake bite or from drowning, but I guess either way the implausibility of the whole scenario is still a mile high. And his wounds look NOTHING like snake bites! It’s more like he was just drooled on by a radioactive catfish. Which would make a much more interesting movie, actually.

But yeah, he comes back to life and kills some useless random characters. The next day everyone is having fun despite the odd tragedy that happened, when they find out that even more people are dead. The one girl, CeCe, whose grandmother was actually the old lady from the beginning has retreated to her grandmother’s old fashioned big house in the middle of a swamp, so that’s where Eden and her friends go. CeCe tells them a nice fairytale about how mambos could take the evil out of stuff and put it into snakes. Then she says that that’s what all the snakes were about, and that Ray has all the evil in him now, so he’s Jason Voorhees.

"I'm like a more boring Jason!"
"Damn right."

But seriously, you'd think the old hag would have tried to be more careful with all that evil riding around in her car...oh, who am I kidding anyway? There wasn't any logic put into this. Don't think that's going to stop me from complaining about the rest of the movie anyway though.

Ray goes around and does silly little things like turning peoples’ cars over, because that clearly shows how evil he is. Actually I don’t even think that part was supposed to be in the script. Some local kids probably just saw them filming this stupid thing and flipped the car over while no one was watching, and then the director just decided to keep it in the script. You go Jim Gillespie! Always with the pointlessness. You could argue that this was done to keep them from leaving. But it wouldn’t really matter anyway, since possessed Ray can clearly pretty much kill whoever he wants, whenever he wants at any time. So…yeah, pointless.

Meanwhile we get a scene from another movie that Gillespie probably just stole, and we see that Sean is freaking out because everyone compares him to his deadbeat dad Ray, who is obviously now killing everyone. It’s actually not a bad scene, and with some tweaking, could have been fairly emotional. But then they go and join the Voodoo House Party where the other characters are, and the movie just goes back to being pointless and irrelevant.

Ray kills a few people in boring ways, including Sean, who – get this – the group decides to turn him into a human voodoo doll. And it works. Seriously, movie; a human voodoo doll that actually works? That’s so stupid it’s practically astronomical. But yup, they’re actually doing it, because I guess you can do whatever you want as long as you have voodoo as an excuse! But they don’t get to do it as smoothly as they would have liked. Ray is apparently the smartest voodoo-possessed zombie ever, as he manages to tie some chains to the house, tie those to his truck and then rip off the front of the house. They try stabbing his dead-voodoo-doll-son a few times and it actually works, harming him, but after he kills CeCe, they run away and leave Sean’s body there, even though CLEARLY they could easily use it to finally kill Ray once and for all. But this movie isn’t long enough yet. We need to add more crap to pad out the length!

They have a car race, and Ray decides he wants to go fishing, and throws his chains to where they land PERFECTLY around the throat of one of the other girls, who he pulls out of the car hook, line and sinker. The others try to save her but fail, and she gets impaled. They never at any point think about going back and using the voodoo doll to kill Ray, but they do decide the best idea is to drive to the swamp and run around there, where his evil lair conveniently is. Oh you stupid, stupid people. But we’re not at an acceptable movie length time yet. We need to keep the clock running!

"Spreading my arms out like this makes me look REALLY ominous!"

So Eden hides in his…random coffin of dead bodies…because obviously even though he’s smart enough to operate a vehicle and coordinate a trap to rip the front side of a house off, he won’t ever notice an extra body in there that he didn’t kill. Dumbass. But Eric sacrifices himself and Ray gives him some extremely cheap and quick brain surgery, so it’s OK in the end. Eden tries to sneak up on Ray from behind, but he literally has an eye in the back of his head and catches her before she can do this. They fight, she actually CATCHES HIM ON FIRE and pushes him down into a hole, but it’s OK again because the fire magically all burns out by the time he hits the floor. Must be that K-Mart brand. She gets out of the hole and instead of killing him, just closes it up and runs away. Hey, let’s check that timer.


Hmmm, nope, still need an extra 5-10 minutes of padding! Let’s see what we can excrete from the bowels of cinematic pointlessness…

How about we have her get in his truck at the end and run him over so hard that he bursts in half and has snakes come out?


Yeah I think that’s a wrap. Roll the credits and go home. No, seriously. That’s really all that happens. They roll the credits right after he dies, like they were saying “Nope, we’ve wasted enough of our audience’s time already. Just put the credits up after the villain dies and we’ll call it a day.” That’s very considerate of you, movie.

All in all, this movie wasn’t that bad. It certainly wasn’t good, but I can say I’ve seen worse. At the end of the day it was mostly just forgettable.

No, no, no, no…this is the end of the month! I can’t just end a month with such a tiny whimper of a review conclusion! I’ve got to make it BIG and EPIC and MEMORABLE! I know. I’ll conveniently forget about the movie’s redeeming qualities and just rave about the bad points, exaggerating them for comedic purposes. Doesn’t that sound fun? OK, go:

This was the worst thing since Hitler! It truly embodied everything immoral and sinful about the human race, and proved once and for all that there are no good movies after the year 2000. Because after 1999 there came a horrible plague upon the movie world that simply wiped out any and all quality whatsoever. And this movie, this Venom by Jim Gillespie, was the absolute nadir of that Holocaust of cinema! Venom represents all that is wrong with the world, and if you like it, your head should be placed upon a stake and left to rot in the cold wastelands of the arctic. And everyone should agree with me, for I am truly the bastion of…uh, truth.

And now I'm bored. Review over, then.