Red Canyon (2008) is quite possibly the worst film I have ever seen. Not even Norman can redeem this steaming pile of utter garbarge. He’s barely in it and when he is he has nothing to do, he serves no real purpose besides being a bad guy. I don’t even know if I can be bothered to waste my time writing a review about it. Seriously, it made Messengers 2 look like Oscar winning material. The plot was so flawed and full of holes, all the characters were underdeveloped and plain stupid. Noone had any discernible motive for anything, the whole thing was painfully boring and stupid. The half of the film I wasn’t feeling motion sick for I was simply watching dumbfounded that anything could actually be this awful. The “shocking” and “controversial” ending was unusual and might have been interesting if the rest of the film hadn’t been such an utter shambolic disgrace.
Messengers 2 – The Scarecrow (2009), sounds like a sequel and I was concerned I would need to watch another trashy horror first in order for this to make sense. Fortunately thanks to the wealth of knowledge that exists on the internet I was able to determine it is actually a prequel and could be watched without any knowledge of what happens in the other film.
Owing to the online reasearch I did my expectations for this film were as high as they could be knowing it was a straight to DVD horror with poor reviews. To be fair the film started rather well, subscribing nicely to the narrative of a horror one would expects. Farmer John Rollins (Reedus) is a good man struggling with his farm as the crops are failing. That is until he finds an unbelieavbly creepy scarecrow in the barn and erects it in the field against his young son’s protestations. Rather unsurprisingly the fortunes of the farm suddenly take a turn for the better at the same time that local people start dying. People who were making John’s life difficult. Shock, horrow it turns out the scarecrow is cursed and will protect the land it oversees against all threats, at any costs. For John the threat is his family and the cost is their lives which leads to the downfall of the film. Up until this point I was enjoying the tension, finding the film just the right kind of creepy and interesting. Then the scarercrow came to life in the most disappointing, anti climatic and frustrating face off ever. Any potential the film had shown flatlined and kept sinking.
If you are a Norman Reedus fan, particaularly a fan appreciative of his visual aesthic, then this film is defnitely worth a watch as he is the main character with plenty of screen time. He also gives the best performance of anyone in the film. In fact Norman is the best thing in this film full stop. He does a good job with the character John Rollins but there’s only so much an actor can do with a poor writing and directing.
The second most reccommended film starring Norman Reedus to me was Gossip (2000) which follows a group of student friends who decide to test the power of hearsay and rumour on campus for a class project. There are many layers to this story all equally fascinating and it was very interesting watching them unfold. For me the best part of the film was trying to work out the truth. Everytime I was sure I had figured out what was actually going on something happend that made me question it all casuing me to rethink everything seen and heard up until that point.
The nature of the film is very intriguing and something I find very interesting, the notion of people watching and pyschology. I found myself immersed in thoughts of what I’d do in a similar situation, who i’d believe, what action i’d take which quite possibly distracted me from the film as I had no complaints or issues with what I watched although I have since read quite a few negative reviews that particularly comment on the pace and performance. If it’s not a subject matter you enjoy you might find the film quite dull and scrutinise the actors performances more. Mostly I found myself wishing I had watched this film at school or university where there would have been the forum for debate on the issues raised within the film such as the larger consequences of small actions, conscience and moral grey areas as what impact the difference in characters has on interpreting their actions and credibility. In fact in light of recent news stories such as the Stanford rapist more schools could do with watching this film and discussing the themes within it with their students.
Overall I would reccommend watching it, maybe not rushing out and buying it specially but if it’s on TV or you see it in passing (I found it in a second hand DVD store for 50p) it’s definitely worth seeing. Norman is brilliant as the shy, artsy Travis and his performance is matched by those in the film with him (yes that’s the woman who plays Cersei Lannister and the guy who was in Dawson’s Creek). It is a film with a very different feel to it compared to Six Ways to Sunday and Dark Harbour, they seemed edgier and more out there compared to Gossip which feels realtively safe and more mainstream Hollywood. I got the sense it was a film primairly aimed at teens, the sort of thing I would have watched at a friend’s sleepover when at school.