Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unholy Mess

I couldn’t resist the title. I’ll be brief, because Unholy isn’t worth the time.

Unholy stars two genre veterans, Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Escape From New York) and Nicholas Brendon (Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who have had better parts. Barbeau plays a mother who comes home from shopping at the local creepy florist to find her daughter in the locked cellar, suicidal and with a shotgun. A weak attempt to coax her out fails, and daughter pulls the trigger. Actually, she pulls it twice, as she only receives a flesh wound from the first blast (I don’t want to be overly critical, but if you can’t hit yourself on the first try when you’re holding a shotgun an inch from your face, you really need to work on your marksmanship. Although I guess the second shot rendered that moot.) Just before the second shot, daughter tells mother “Beware the experiment.” (This is another case where a hell of a lot of grief could be avoided if a character took the time to tell another character what they wanted them to know)

Barbeau isn’t going to let this go, so she enlists her son (Brendon) in getting to the bottom of things. As son has been lying on a coach hitting a bong, he has time, if not motivation. There is an exchange that indicates the writer may have been going for humor in the script. An army recruiter, behind on his quota of mid-30s potheads, calls Brendon to recruit him. Brendon tells the recruiter he’s gay, and hangs up the phone. It rings again. Brendon picks it up and says, “I fuck guys.” Then “Hi, Mom.” What subtle and original humor.

The mother-son team soon uncover/leap to wild conclusions that daughter’s death was due to secret government experiments run by Nazis to unlock the secrets of the trinity: Time travel, invisibility, and mind control. They also find that everyone with speaking parts is involved in the plot, including themselves. Everything ranges from implausible to incomprehensible. My favorite part is where Barbeau demonstrates the “third trinity”, mind control, by controlling…herself. Isn’t that the easy one?

I think the movie was going the Donnie Darko mindfuck route, but without flair or talent. The only reason not to avoid this one is if you are controlling your own mind and force yourself to do so.

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