The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles (2012)
This is another of the films that Kevin at MTI Video gave me, and I was very curious to check it out after I saw the trailer. It looked like a cool, low-budget horror flick, which I love getting the word out about here at the DTVC. Also, it listed John de Lancie in the credits. How do you not love John de Lancie?
Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles follows three teens who go out to a small island in upstate New York to go camping. There's a nice house on the island too, and when a thunderstorm hits, the kids run to it for shelter. When the couple who live there come home, it's trouble; but even more trouble comes when three clones of the three kids appear on the scene. What do they want? How did they get here? Can they trust them?
This wasn't bad. It's a horror film, but not in a true slasher sense, or even in a horror comedy like Evil Dead sense either. It's more like a Stephen King short story turned into a movie kind of horror film, or an extended Tales from the Crypt episode. One thing I liked was that it managed to keep an element of tension and suspense, even when we didn't have any overt action going on. The device of the kids staying in the couple's house when they aren't there worked really well in that endeavor, as did the construct of the kids and their clones interacting in the house together, especially when the two that were a couple switched partners. Speaking of that, the film never overspent that mistaken identity nickel that would've been so easy for the writer to use as a crutch with a plot like this, which I found really refreshing. All in all, not a bad deal.
Now, this movie isn't perfect, but it does do one thing well that so many movies don't do, and that's keep things interesting. Whether it's adding tension in the right places or using cinematographic elements to add suspenseful and foreboding tones, and then hitting us with some action before those things get stale. It seems simple, but so few films pull it off well. And what happens then, when I'm not bored by a long stretch of blah, is that any warts the film might have are less egregious, because the overall film is entertaining. Yes, all movies have a story in it that needs telling, but tell us in a way that keeps us on the edge of our seats because we think anything might happen. We spend all day at work or whatever listening to boring stories, the last thing we need is the same thing from our movies, and I'm glad this movie isn't like that.
I mentioned to my friend that John de Lancie was in this, and he asked if I did a fist pump when I saw his name in the credits. You know it! Frickin' Q man. For my money, one of the best characters in TV history-- at least in syndicated TV history. In that sense, seeing him in anything is fantastic. He doesn't have a big role, playing the husband in the couple that owns the house, but when he's there he's great. His character is also not doing too bad for himself either, both owning a great house on the lake, and married to a beautiful woman 25 years his junior. Maybe he's more omnipotent than we thought.
The three kids all had an interesting task each playing two different characters that were technically the same people, but not. Again, the movie never used that mistaken identity nickel, at least not until the very end, and not in the way you'd expect, so there was no pretending to be the other character for these actors, they had to be distinct, often in the same scene. I think the toughest might have been Stella Maeve's, because her two were the most similar, so the most subtly different. I don't know how old she is-- or Alexander Nifong and J. Mallory McCree, the other two actors, either--, because it's not listed on their imdb bios, but I can't imagine she's that old, meaning she probably didn't have kids in school yelling "Stella! Stella!" to her.
This film was shot in the Adirondacks, an area of the country that isn't too far away from me, but one I haven't had the opportunity to hike in. It looks great though. It's funny, when I'm out hiking, you'd think all these horror movies would come to mind, but I'm usually so tired I only think of getting back to the car. I think if I camped more I'd probably have more opportunity to think about all the horror movies I saw set in the woods-- think about Jason taking me in my sleeping bag and smashing me against a tree. I know with some of our car camping/bivouacking out in Colorado, there were some sketchy situations where I couldn't get to sleep. The question is: are we scared because we've seen so many horror movies set in remote, wooded locations, or are so many horror moves set in remote, wooded locations because they're scary places?
I'll leave you to ponder that while I wrap this up. This is available on Netflix and RedBox for DVD rental. I'd like it better for a recommendation if it were available on Netflix Instant, but still, it's not bad for a RedBox rental or something to dump in your Netflix queue. It's a little different from your usual horror fare, but if you like things like the old Tales from the Crypt episodes, you might like this. Plus, it has John de Lancie.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1540005/