Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

17 April 2008

The Damned Thing, dir. Tobe Hooper (2006)

STEVE says:
Hmm, yes. Another entry from the Masters of Horror collection; this one from Tobe Hooper, written by Richard Christian Matheson and based on a story by Ambrose Bierce.

Not a bad pedigree, and one it almost lives up to. But only almost.

Starts off okay, with young Kevin witnessing his dad go from genial family man to shotgun-toting lunatic in mere seconds. "It found me," he says. "The damned thing." After killing Kevin's mom, dad chases Kevin outside, through a field, and up a tree, and just before he's able to shoot Kevin down, some unseen force tears at his chest, rips him open from nave to chops, and spins him around a bit before we -

Cut to: Present Day. Kevin (as played by Sean Patrick Flanery) is now Sheriff of Cloverdale. When townsfolk start going mad and turning on one another - and in some cases, themselves - Kevin realizes it has to do with the Damned Thing that did his dad in. He learns that the same thing happened a few towns over in 1959. Some of the townsfolk who survived - including his own father - relocated to Clovafield. Now the Thing is back, and it's found them.

There is never any explanation as to what this Damned Thing is, where it came from, or why it's after any of the survivors - and, it seems, their offspring - from the 1959 incident. No matter. Kevin figures the Damned Thing wants him and will go away if it gets him, so he sacrifices himself to save his wife and child - not realizing, I guess, that the Thing would want his child as well. Which is where it ends, Kevin's wife and kid being done in by the Thing as well.

This was very unsatisfying in the end, but I was with it up until then. It was good - not Black Cat good or Homecoming good, not by a long shot, but still not as horrendously bad as this series tends to be. I'm rating it on a special Masters of Horror curve.


NIKKI says:
It started out well. I enjoyed the opening scenes with the dad going slightly mental on his family after the black stuff dripped through the wall. And then I was reasonably interested in why the townsfolk, all those years later, started doing themselves in in mass numbers.

What annoyed me, though, was that old thing of, well, here we are however many years later, and the thing is back and it wants YOU, Sean Patrick Flanery! It was a bit Here We Go Again. But that's the nature of horror and supernatural stories -- so much ground has been tread since the Poe days that not much is going to be shocking and new.

Still, this one perhaps could have upped the ante a bit. Instead, it went exactly where one expected it to go. Flanery's kid was in peril, wife went mental, thing ate Flanery. Ho hum. Man, do I hate the Monster At The End ending. It's lazy, it bores me, it's the main reason why I broke up with Stephen King. Note to horror writers: Big mud monsters are not scary.

I do wish Flanery would get more work. And the scene where the guy kills himself with a hammer has to be seen to be believed -- these shows do not hold back horror-wise. That's a plus.


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