Friday, September 22, 2006

This ain't no Evil Dead

Last night I went to the world premiere of Night Feeders. By world premiere, I actually mean I went with some friends to the apartment of the guy who got third billing in the movie and we all watched the video he rented from Blockbuster.

The guy in the movie isn't dumb enough to think it's his big break or that it's quality film. We made a lot of MST3K style jokes as we watched the film.

But as I watched it I found myself angry at the mistakes the script made. It's a film about four guys who go hunting together and get attacked by aliens who landed in a meteor and for some reason are afraid of light. If you can keep the light going they'll leave you alone until they decided not to and attack you regardless of the light. That made me think of Pitch Black, which is an amazing film done with a very low budget and the same premise. This movie did not even come close to being that clever.

The first half of the film couldn't decide who its protagonist is. Each of the four guys had some face time but none of them had any real back story. At one point the guy we think is the protagonist tells the guy who actually turns out to be the protagonist, "You couldn't hurt a fly. That's why I like you so much." Why not show the guy refusing to shoot a deer? That would be far more effective and make much more emotional impact and would make a lot of sense later when he has to shoot something, which, by the way, he didn't wrestle with at all. So I guess he can hurt a fly.

In act one we meet a girl and then she disappears until act three. Everybody in the room forgot she existed until she showed up again as an integral part of the story. I kept thinking how much better this would all be if they had added her back into the mix sooner and put her in real peril back when people were dropping right and left. Then we could have had more interaction between the protag and the girl instead of just forcing it into the end of the story. Protag, who's afraid to hurt things, would have had to wrestle with his humanity to save the girl he's falling in love with, reinforcing or questioning what it is that makes us human as he fights things that are most definitely not human. That's a damn horror movie.

This film did take one interesting chance. The guy who survives and gets the girl is not your usual plucky hero. But since they didn't set him up as the protag initially I wasn't really rooting for him.

Then again, maybe a lot of that was in the script. Third-billing guy had half his lines cut. Maybe the back story was in those missing lines. But I doubt it.


  1. My friend Jeff directed TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 (the one that gave us Viggo Mortensen) and that film opens with the carload of victims hitting an armadillo. The animal is really messed up, but not dead. The leading lady takes a rock to put it out of its misery... but can't. This is a really good scene - dramatic. Her friends call her a wimp, and we learn a little about each of them. Then one of the guys takes the rock and kills the dying armadillo.

    Later, guess who is the lone survivor who now has to try to kill Leatherface?

    For me, even the stalk & slash scenes need to be about something other than stalk & slash. You kknow, life or death situations are pretty dramatc - so why not make those scenes dramatic?

    - Bill

  2. Ya know, you're so right in the sense that bad movies make you angry because even though it's acknowledged by all that this film will be bad, they could still be smart about making it fun.

    Re: couldn't decide who the protag was. We had a raging debate last week on my blog about multi-protags. I basically said that there's nothing wrong with a multi-protag stories, that even McKee says multi-protag stories have been around since the dawn of time, but when we thought about it... all the multi-protag movies had one character that was the center of emphasis. Geez, that was a long sentence.

    The debate was here:

    Great blog, btw.



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