Friday, October 7, 2011

Strep Sucks and Megan is Missing, Apparently (Movie Review)

Strep sucks.

I think almost everyone knows that, but I thought I'd just get that out there, for the curious. I couldn't eat for a good portion of last week, swallowing was so painful that it was a struggle to get water down. I lacked the ability to worry about food in any context.

Anyway, that's why I missed the beginning of one of my favorite months of the year. Ah, well, life happens. Last year Halloween fell of my radar. I don't know why, a variety of reasons I'm sure, but I'm determined to enjoy my favorite holiday this year. If you follow my twitter, you know I have a tumblr and I've been on Halloween overkill mode. I love fall, and I love Halloween.

In honer of the season, I decided I'd pick a couple of movies off the "New Movie Arrivals" Netflix list that looked vaguely horror-ish (based on the cover) and watch them, just for funzies.

I started with Megan is Missing, a movie that is supposed to be a found footage film about missing teenage girls. It's about a pair of girls, Megan and her best friend Amy. Megan falls in lust with a mysterious internet personality known as "Josh" and agrees to meet him at a diner she frequents, and then goes missing. Amy looks into Megan's disappearance, and then is kidnapped 3 weeks later.

Guess how much of this shows up in the first, oh, 30 minutes of the movie? If you guessed "Almost None", there's a kewpie doll waiting for you by the exit. The film is bloated with excessive material. You could easily hack off the first 30 minutes or so and lose nothing. Worse, the first 30 minutes highlights exactly how much Amy and Megan, who are supposed to be best friends, don't have in common. It leaves you wondering how on earth they're friends, which is a shame because the actresses playing them have really wonderful chemistry when they're on film together, and genuinely seem to be pals. The film should have concentrated on the bond between the two girls instead of needlessly inserting conflict that, in the end, doesn't make a difference.

The main conflict of the film- Megan disappearing, doesn't happen until LITERALLY halfway through the film. At this point we get several scenes that are unnecessary, and just add to the length of the film. One of the scenes serves to introduce cctv clips, but as the film itself is supposed to be a culmination of different clips all that the introduction really requires is a subtitle announcing it. It then repeats the clip three times, outside of the news broadcast. Thanks, saw it the first time.

Probably the most obvious film flaw is that all of the 'found footage' is clearly from the same HD camera, including the cctv clip. While I understand they were under time and budget constraints, the 'found footage' premise hurts the film more than anything else, because it's clearly false. It makes sense that Amy has an expensive camera as a gift from her absent father, but why should Megan's webcam be equally good? It kinda ruins the feel I think they were aiming for.

That being said, there are a few legitimate scares. At one point Amy is talking to her video diary and a shadowy figure steps into the back ground and is clearly watching her. Definitely creepy. In the end, "Josh" brings Amy into the other room and pulls the lid off a blue bucket that's been there the whole time, to reveal Megan's body. The glimpse is brief enough and the makeup creepy enough that it's genuinely freaky.

In other kudos, the makeup towards the end is pretty well done. The last scene, with "Josh" digging a grave while Amy begs him to crack the top of the bucket so she can get some air is pretty fucked up. And it shows the whole thing, him diggin the hole, pushing the bucket in and burying it, as Amy's cries get weaker and weaker.

I don't know if I can recommend the film, but the last 20 minutes of the film are pretty disturbing, which is clearly the intent. There is a rape scene which may trigger some, so this definitely is not a film for everyone.  The film definitely had potential, and a little editing could carry it over the 'potential' threshold.

Edit: this just occurred to me to add, because I forgot, but I pay for my Netflix subscription and have for years. This article was not intended to be an endorsement of Netflix, and was rather about utilizing a service that many people already have.

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