Disclaimer

Disclaimer: My reviews of media here do not mean that I lay any claim to the media in question. All reviews are entirely subjective. I may talk about how well the movie objectively works in my opinion, but it essentially all comes down to what I think of the movie. My liking a movie is not the same as thinking it's a great movie. If I trash a movie that you love, or love a movie you can’t stand, it’s not because I hate you. Also, all reviews are likely to contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen the movies in question and don’t want to know what happens, then you probably shouldn’t be reading about them here. Finally, a blanket trigger warning for people who don't want to read about common horror movie content such as sexism, racism, violence, etc.: I will likely discuss all of the above when they show up in the films I review, so please tread with caution. Check out this post for more on how my reviews are set up.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Horror Movie Review: Forget Me Not (2009)

Overall: C
Acting: C
Writing: C-
Story: C+
Technical aspects: C
Effects: D


Directed by:
Tyler Oliver

Starring:
Carly Schroeder
Cody Linley
Micha Alberti
Brie Gabrielle
Jillian Murray
Zachary Abel
Sean Wing
Chloe Bridges
Brittany Renee Finamore


Passes the Bechdel test? Yes
Particular triggers: nothing I can really think of

In this review, the summary and my reactions and opinions are all lumped together. So spoilers abound through it all.

Forget Me Not jumps right in, showing us our cast of 20-and-30-somethings playing unlikable teens doing unlikable things. This movie suffers incredibly from the problem of having too many characters introduced that are more or less physically and characteristically indistinguishable from each other. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took me almost to the halfway mark to even learn all of their names.
So we have Sandy (Carly Schroeder) the class president, who is dating supposedly bad-boy Jake (Micha Alberti), though he’s never shown to do anything more “bad” than the rest of them. There’s Sandy’s brother Eli (Cody Linley), the valedictorian who just wants to be a pirate. There’s Jake’s sister Lex (Jillian Murray) the supposedly bad-girl who is dating TJ (Sean Wing). There’s Chad (Zachary Abel) who is stringing along two women, cheating on both because he is our Even More Unlikable Douche character. The two women he’s screwing are Layla (Chloe Bridges) and Hannah (Brie Gabrielle). For additional drama, Eli also has a thing for Hannah. And our whole group has just graduated high school, and are planning on going on a vacation together.
The strain on my suspension of disbelief starts in right away. A) None of these people look even remotely like recent high school graduates. That’s not uncommon in horror, or even film in general, but this is pretty egregious. B) None of these people act like high schoolers either, and not just because of the truly endless alcohol, weed, and sex they seem to have available. C) I know this is nit-picky, but how many people do you know that have had the identical large friend group since they were young kids? For that matter, how many friend groups have not one, but two sets of siblings that have the exact same social circle? And how many people do you know that maintain childhood friendships, and then only manage to date within that same circle? One or two of these issues could be pretty easily ignored, but there was just nothing about this batch of people that made me believe they were their characters, or that those characters could be real people.
So our group is hanging out and they decide to go to the local graveyard to play a game they played there as kids. It’s a “ghost in the graveyard” game like hide and seek, where the “ghost” has to find the other players and turns them into ghosts until only one person is left “alive.” As they get ready to play, a mysterious girl shows up and asks if she can play too. This is Angela (Brittany Renee Finamore.) At the end of the game, she jumps off a cliff (who builds a graveyard next to a cliff? Erosion is a real thing, people), claiming that soon Sandy will remember her. The police can’t find a body when they investigate.
As the friend group goes about their business the following day, Sandy remembers her childhood friend Angela, the girl who taught her the ghost in the graveyard game. Then people start getting offed… and Sandy suddenly realizes that she’s the only one who remembers the people who’ve been killed. The others don’t have any memory of them at all. And reality seems to be changing around them, as if they didn’t ever exist. (For instance someone’s tattoo of a now-dead character’s name disappears, their plans to go to the beach have changed to plans to go to the mountains, etc.)
In some ways I liked this. It sort of subverts the usual plotline, where everyone realizes that their group is being killed off, and is aware that they’re in danger, but then acts stupidly anyway. At least this time, they don’t even realize that their friends are missing. If you cared about the characters, it could even be psychologically hard-hitting to realize that they won’t even remember their significant others or siblings. Honestly, I like this as a plot line, and think it could have been really well utilized in a more suspenseful movie, but unfortunately it seemed to be somewhat wasted in this film.
The plot goes on, more of them are offed, everyone assumes Sandy is crazy, blah blah. Sandy tries to find out what Angela has to do with the murders, while no one will help her. The resolution isn’t really surprising… the motivations are pretty standard for this kind of “pick a group off one by one” deal, though that’s usually a slasher trope, and this doesn’t really feel like a slasher. I suppose you could argue that it is one, but without an actual physical slasher-who-does-the-slashing.
I had so many problems with the believability of this movie that I feel kind of bad even giving it a C. In terms of tech it’s okay – the sound and cinematography are nothing special, but they’re fine. The effects are laughable. I DID literally laugh at the ghosts several times. A mix of bad Halloween costume masks and bad CGI. But ugh… the unbelievable characters. Not that badly acted, all things considered, just horribly miscast and poorly written. The plot isn’t outstandingly original, but I mentioned that I liked this take on it, at least to some extent. Sadly, it’s the characters themselves really ruin it for me. One saving grace may be turning it around and viewing the villain as the protagonist, which could reframe the story in an interesting way. I didn’t really want to watch the film again with this in mind just to find out, though. Despite my issues, I did find the movie to be very watchable, and I enjoyed it at times. It just has too many glaring flaws for me to consider it “good.”

3 comments:

  1. I think I've seen this on the Netflix list, but it's never quite caught my attention enough to add it to my queue. I probably will avoid it now. LOL

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    1. It wasn't unwatchable... I think I mentioned, I even enjoyed a couple parts. But I definitely think it's a fine one to skip; there are too many movies out there to waste time on mediocre ones. I really WISH this one had been better, which somehow makes it even more disappointing that it wasn't. There are enough decent ideas there that it could have at least been a grade-B level movie, but it fucked way too much up.

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  2. Wait didnt Angela die from the sizure when she was being pranked by the otherz lids and slammed into a doof
    R?

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