Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mine Games (2012)

In the oversaturated realm of movies about haunted mines, there are many ways you can draw the audience's attention. And in terms of THAT, Mine Games is a failure. Why? Because it's called Mine Games, and as we all know, mines are no game. Mines are serious business. They're the most serious thing. So serious, you can go crazy inside them.

Or so says this movie.

Director: Richard Gray
Starring: Alex Meraz, Briana Evigan

This movie starts us off on a high note with a bunch of annoying characters exchanging horrible dialogue while driving to a soundtrack of shitty 2000s pop music. Oh, did I say high note? I meant incredibly lowest common denominator possible.

Their story is, they're on a trip to somebody's house in the woods. They stop in a field to re-enact their favorite scenes from The Room before they pile back in the car like a few minutes later to keep on going.

I guess he must weigh like 75 pounds if that football bowled him over like that. He should definitely get really fat so it never happens again. Or just hang out with Tommy Wiseau more.

I guess the one slight sliver of plot we get here is that one of the guys, Michael, has stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication. Even though the film doesn't seem to understand that not taking medications like that is a pretty serious deal, we get the storyline foraging ahead anyway, like a dumb explorer stumbling onto a minefield – suffice to say, no, taking anti-psychotic meds DOESN'T mean you're suppressing your inner killer which will emerge and lead you to slaughter your friends the second you stop.

"Please don't look at my creepy face and assume I'm the killer!" 

They almost crash into a guy in the middle of the road and end up breaking down not too long after. It's OK, though, as they can just walk right from that to the house they were looking for – it's confusing, as it seems a bit like they're lost at first, but then they find the place they wanted in a few minutes or so. It's really just an example of the movie feeling unfinished – several parts of the script just taper off unfocused, like an unfinished suicide note, so then you're just kinda left wondering, forever gazing into that starry black void.

It's cool, though. We got partying and sex scenes out the ass!

Smiling and holding a glass = having fun.
I'm glad we get to see the director's attempt at a porno shoved awkwardly into this horror movie. That really rounds it out and makes it a solid film!

Alright! Now that's how you develop character. Glad somebody's still doing it right!

The next day they do what most kids their age do – go hang out in the old abandoned mine conveniently right down the road from them. I'll give the movie credit for not spending an ass-load of time in there, and also for not having them get stuck for the rest of the movie. But I also take away credit for a scene where they lock Michael up in a room where he almost gets stuck.

Ah yes...the old 'lock him in a mine' trick. It's a gut buster and a great story to tell at parties...if you have no brain.

And also for the scene where these two idiots think they're running in a circle after eating mushrooms, then get lost...fortunately they don't get TOO lost, but even so, the one guy trying to get the chick to make out with him is a bit out of place. “Hey, don't you get turned on by creepy old abandoned mines we might die in?!”

"But this is where I take all my girlfriends!"

I'm really just waiting for them to run into the actual miners who were just on break. They'd be goofing off in here, then the actual miners would show up and be like “hey, what are you assholes doing in here?” And that would be that. Maybe add in some misdemeanor criminal charges, a little bit of fines and disappointing glares from their parents and relatives that would have been there anyway given how these characters acted beforehand. But that's wishful thinking I suppose.

That one girl, Rose, is apparently a psychic – because the movie didn't know how else to convey its plot. She spends the rest of the film after this sick and in bed because of some scratches on her foot. 

It ain't her fault she ran into Wolverine in that damn mine...

All I can say is, either you gave this chick some bad 'shrooms, or she maybe shouldn't ever be in the same hemisphere as drugs again if THIS is how she reacts! Goddamn, right?

The others are truly broken up about this, as we see them working through their grief with a game of pool – but it's okay; it's existential, deep pool used to work through their own stress and insanity. That's the best kind of thing to do after having a strange experience.

"Next we can play Mario Kart!"

I dunno, all these shots of them sitting around in bathing suits on bright sunny days just kinda clashes with the mounting dread we're supposed to be feeling. Is that supposed to set the mood? 'Cause it really doesn't – instead it just seems out of place.

The true essence of horror.

Two of them go back in the mine for some unknown reason and play some games with the mine cars – now THAT'S what I call a “mine game.” Good show, movie! Though the fact that he doesn't get brain damage from tipping over after crashing into a wall is a bit unrealistic, and disappointing at that.

Didn't I see this in a Donkey Kong game once?

Then they find a room where their own dead bodies are lying around on slabs. Which, understandably, is a bit of a mindfuck. I mean they didn't remember being DEAD. How could they? They were having such a good time drinking and partying. Nobody would be able to remember a little thing like that. I guess they'll have to really play some pool NOW to get over this!

"This is worse than that time I saw my previous self getting into a battle to the death with my future self! I needed a looooot of Prozac after that, I'll tell you! But this is just too much."

Back at the house, they decide it was Michael's fault somehow, because apparently the psychic girl Rose has mentioned his name a few times, and he's just been acting weird while off his meds. Because, again, that's just how it works. Most serial killers could be cured by having them take meds. But just don't let them get off, 'cause otherwise whoops, they might go on a killing spree! Then it'd really be your bad on that one.

"Oh yeah, we're the best friends ever! We're instantly suspicious of our friend because he didn't take his meds, to the point where we're ready to tie him up and throw him outside into an old mine!"

Well, I guess they also decided it was Michael's fault because they went back into the mine a third time and came across a future version of one of their friends, who told them Michael killed everybody. Gee. Either they never stopped eating mushrooms, or this is a big old time loop. Since there's no reason it would be a time loop as it hasn't been explained, I'm gonna go ahead and assume it's the other thing. I'm sure I won't be wrong at all.

They tie Michael up and lock him in the mine to prevent him from killing people. But then they go back in and Michael has broken out somehow. They chase him around and eventually die off in strange ways. The weirdest has to be this one girl, who just walks right into a room and lets him lock her in there. Did she just have a death wish? I mean it's kinda common sense - don't go into an enclosed space when you're running from a killer.

You totally get an 'F' at Slasher Movie Victim School, lady.

Then things get really weird as this Benedict Cumberbatch-looking guy apparently was the one who jumped in front of the road at the beginning of the movie, causing the truck to go off the road and crash. I'm just so shocked I was wrong about it just being a product of bad mushrooms! Apparently it really is a time loop! What an utter surprise...

All I'm thinking is: why do people in these fucking movies constantly stand out in the middle of the road? I dunno about you, but I've driven all over the place at all times of the day and that has never happened to me. I mean, what? Do you just drive around looking for people in the road, run them over and then reimagine the situation in your head to be like “THEY WERE STANDING RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD WAVING THEIR ARMS!” In what parallel universe do people just jump out in the road at night to wave their arms and distract other drivers? The DMV needs to put out a PSA about this.

And this is my biggest problem with this scene. And with the movie in general! I guess the fact that it doesn't explain why there's a time loop bothers me a little, too, though. Seriously, it just doesn't explain how this time loop exists!

Most of the last 15 minutes is just stuff explaining WHY all the creepy shit from earlier in the movie went on – i.e. Michael wrote the ominous message they found in the mine early in the movie! The Benedict Cumberbatch lookalike wrote the note they found that invited them into the house! Michael ran into his past self and that made him paranoid at the beginning!

Why did all these things happen? Because the movie needed to have them happen to show us the SUPER COOL TIME LOOP, YO. No other reason. There's really just no logic or reason to how the time loop happened or why Michael is crazy, except that he didn't take anti-psychotic meds. Which totally means you meet your past self in the woods and have a super-cool bonfire party:

I really want this loop to keep going and going, until we just have a fucking frat house full of Michaels hangin' out in the woods. That would be kinda funny. But unfortunately that doesn't happen, because the Mine Games are over, and with them, so is fun in general. Alas, poor fun – we knew ye well.

Eh, on second thought, fun will probably survive.

This whole thing was just nonsense. I mean in real life, we would at least be able to see why the time loop happened. Otherwise, it mostly sticks to realism. I mean, it's good movies are trying to address the real problems of mental illness. Never mind the complex nuances of human interaction – if you take anti-psychotic meds, you're probably just a fuckin' serial killer stuck in a time loop. Case closed!

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