Tuesday, July 31, 2012

REVIEW: Trespassers (2006)

So, what happens when you have no budget, actors that you stole from your next door neighbor’s backyard porno shoot, action scenes you can’t see because everything is dark, camerawork that looks like a drunk person did it and a script likely written on the back of a Burger King napkin, all complete with a plot only thrown in at the last fifteen minutes? Trespassers! I really don’t know what else to say about this, so I’m just going to jump right into the fun! And oh what fun it's going to be...

Director: Ian McCrudden
Starring: Cigarette Butt, Evil Overlord Chicken

We kick off with our main hero, cigarette butt:

This movie's fetish for extreme close-ups is disorienting enough, but this has got to be the silliest one in the whole movie. Why do we need a close-up on the cigarette? Is it going on a great adventure? If so, I'm sure it will be a more interesting one than what we're going to see in this movie...

And one of our other minor-ish characters, Tyler, played by close-up camera shot #3 out of about five billion and twenty-seven. We also see some great stock shots of people surfing on waves, probably lifted off a commercial for sunscreen or something. I'm sure if you look closely, you'll see the airbrushed-out logos for whatever company this movie stole these shots from. At night, Tyler and his girlfriend maybe have sex, or they could be just looking for their lost car keys; I don’t know, it’s too hard to see anything really.

CAR KEYS! Without them how will we drive away from this movie after we're done moving around in a tent and vaguely touching each other sometimes?!

Then they get killed off by poor lighting and shaky camera effects in the dark. Yes, that is literally what kills them. No, I am not exaggerating for the comedic purposes of a review. Or am I?!

Also I’m so glad we can’t see anything during any of the action scenes in this movie. I think seeing things in films is overrated. It just smacks of mainstream pandering and commercialism. True films rely on atmosphere and the implication of things happening for the viewer’s mind to process, rather than spelling it out for them like they’re two year olds, and showing them actual action. And that's why Trespassers is a good movie!

So anyway, we then get introduced to our real main characters, Colin, who wears a white cowboy hat that I think the makers of [Insert Generic Cowboy Porno Here] forgot to get back from him:

There’s Ashley and Rose, who are about as generic as female characters can get and talk about almost nothing but guys the entire movie:

And then there’s this guy, who they only call Lucky, and who I think is half raccoon:

Lose the eyeliner, you retard. You look like the vomited-out spawn of a thousand emo kids circa 2004. But then again this was a 2006 movie...if it was 2012, he'd probably just have a plaid shirt and skinny jeans and big thick glasses even though he doesn't really need them!

They’re getting ready to go when they run into the Generic Best Friend character Javier, who likes to run out in front of cars apparently, even when he could just have stood on the side of the road and waved. This character I am pretty sure was one of the director’s friends, because otherwise I don’t see a purpose having him in the movie…

So the team is off and they drive and drive for a long time, without establishing anything that would make them likable. Lucky continuously flirts with Rose even though she doesn’t reciprocate or give any indication that she’s ever going to. Lucky really has no character aside from just being a weird pervert – isn’t that just great? He’s like Pepe Le Pew. Hell, he even kind of looks like him!

They keep on driving and bickering and what not, and honestly, I have to wonder after watching some of these scenes: how long until they get killed off? I mean, most movies at least try to have SOME form of humor or something to make the characters at least watchable, but this? This has nothing so far! Just endless whining and bickering from these people who you’d be embarrassed to be seen with in public if they weren’t so good looking!

Like take this one scene – the girls get back from a two-second detour into a bar for shots (yeah, THEY know how to have fun!) and find out that their car is gone and Lucky with it. Two seconds later, they find him getting beat up by some guys because he tried to heckle one of their girlfriends, thinking she was a prostitute. Did he think he was going to get laid in the five minutes before they got back on the road again? Jesus Christ, dude. Keep it in your pants a little longer at least! And is it bad that I was really rooting for the guys heckling him to kill him?

Then they see a chicken on the side of the road:

See? A CHICKEN! I'm pointing this out to you because, apparently, the film couldn't have survived without this close-up shot...which establishes that yes, a chicken is indeed a chicken. Unless the movie is actually trying to tell us something...like, perhaps, that this chicken is actually the evil mastermind behind everything!

...and after a silly and pointless scene where Lucky jump-scares the girls in the bathroom, they see some guy eating the chicken…or rather we hear them say  that’s what happened, because it’s too dark to see what actually went on, probably because that’s just how good this movie is! Afterwards, though, the film ruins that brilliantly suspenseful scene with some dialogue that I think a fourth grader could have written better.

JAVIER: Now, now, you can’t understand [eating a live chicken] until you’ve been in their shoes…
ROSE: No, if I was starving, I’d just grow some vegetables!

You’d grow some vegetables. Right. Because that just happens instantaneously and totally is a short-term solution for starvation…can somebody please just kill this girl? We do get this gem of a line from Lucky, though: “I’ve heard of sucking cock, but this is something else!” That’s actually a little bit funny.

In the car, Colin and Ashley talk about some boring crap about how he doesn’t want to go back to school because he got a new construction job offer instead. What’s this, character development in my shitty slasher/monster/whatever horror film? TAKE IT AWAY! The film apparently listened to me, because none of this is ever mentioned again. Ain’t that just the best kind of character development? The kind where it feels like they just said at the last minute, “Oh, wait, we’re supposed to make people like these characters before we kill them off? OK, throw in a three-second scene with no screaming or tits in it. There we go!” Ha ha ha…I feel my brain melting as we speak.

They finally arrive at the beach and Lucky begs Rose to flash him. She says no but then for some reason gives in, telling him to turn off the camera he has, which he doesn’t – and this is an important plot point, durr hurr hurr, spoilers! Why did she even flash him to begin with? Because…the movie just needed an excuse for tits. Maybe the director had a crush on that girl or something. Lucky goes and jerks off by himself until he sees something strange on the camera. Instead of going straight back to the others, he gets killed off! Yay! Or maybe I was supposed to be sad…

I mean seriously, you come on a trip with these "friends" of yours and then spend the whole time jerking off - WHO DOES THAT? Oh yeah, this guy.

…no, I stand by my first reaction.

Afterwards, we see Rose flirting non-stop with the other guys, because being a catty bitch to one guy for perving on you and then turning around and being a slut to the other guys in the group makes sense, doesn’t it? I guess you’d call this character a total waste of breathing space. If only we could actually see more of her death scene later on…oops, did I spoil that for you? I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.

After that, the movie remembers that it was supposed to have a plot. They split up into groups of two, so Javier and Ashley go one way while Colin and Rose go the other, still bickering about relationship problems the whole time. Friends going missing, mysterious monsters in the wild…and relationship problems. Truly these things are all the same level of importance! In one scene, Rose asks Colin if he wants to skinny dip, right as she’s putting her clothes back on from before. Did anyone even bother telling the writer that he was drunk off his ass while writing this?

In another scene we see Ashley and Javier talking to a local Mexican couple at some diner, where the dialogue is all in Spanish with no subtitles, so suck it, Americans! This movie’s too cultured for you. It’s got other languages in it!

Ashley says she understood part of what they were saying, about the monsters that come out at night, but it turns out the monsters come when called, and they kill off Javier with more shaky-cam dark shots that you can’t see any of. Back at camp, Colin is now on his own and he meets back up with Ashley. She tells him the whole story of the monsters – huh? I thought she only understood PARTS of the story! But now she just recites the whole thing in incredible detail…either she’s the biggest liar in the world, or this movie just blows. Verdict’s still out on that front.

Was it that hard to check this in editing and make sure you could see everything? I just don't get this movie's philosophy of not being able to see the action. Maybe there's some good atmosphere in this! But you'd never know, since this whole thing is about as obscure as a lost 1970s disco record.

Anyway, the story goes that a long time ago, this cult led by a Marilyn Manson-esque figure called El Gringo came to Mexico and tried to “live off the land,” but quickly found that there wasn’t enough to live off of. I guess planning and geographic knowledge wasn’t their strong suit. So the El Gringo guy started secretly kidnapping children from the local villages and feeding them to his followers. They found out and proceeded to do the rational thing – cut El Gringo’s eyelids off and bury him in a hole to face the sun forever. Which…makes them better than him HOW exactly? I really don’t see how that’s a good solution. What kind of justice is that? It’s so oddly specific, too…they don’t just stab him in his sleep. They actually torture him and then leave him for dead in the middle of nowhere to go blind. That's pretty harsh. But hey, it still beats a bunch of idiotic teenagers having sex with his corpse and making a secret cult out of it. That would just be silly...

And…somehow I guess this all means that people can turn into zombies now. Makes sense to me! Let’s have a finale full of more shaky cam too-dark nonsense, followed by a finale where they run into El Gringo and, I guess, get turned into monsters afterwards. But we’ll never see any of that, because the movie is over and sentenced forever to no-budget horror hell!

Mostly this was just kind of a shamble. It had potential, but was ruined by the annoying characters and the fact that you couldn't see anything during the action scenes. But I guess there is something to be said for the fact that the camerawork in this was better than in Silent House. And my biggest disappointment about THIS was that the El Gringo character was behind everything, as opposed to the evil chicken from before. Don't worry, my poultry overlord. I know you survived being eaten somehow. And your army awaits your magisterial return.

Only the lost hero Cigarette Butt can save us now!