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4/7/08

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Is there anything worse than a horror movie that isn't scary? Or in the case of Crazy Eights, doesn't even want to try? Maybe that's not what the filmmakers were going for, maybe they were trying to create some sort of psychological drama? Which is what it felt like at times, but which in that case, doesn't work either. But silly me, when I watch a movie from the horror series Eight Movies to Die For, I expect to at least have some attempts at horror. And honestly, there are a few moments that have some horror elements, but the filmmakers seem to be trying to create the opposite of suspense. Any time anything even remotely dark or freaky started to happen, they get it over with as quick as possible and cut to the next scene. I'm sorry, but that's not how horror films work.


When I originally heard about the Eight Movies to Die For concept, I was excited. Here were some folks really trying to scare us, or at least that's what they promised. Their intention was to bring us eight films, that we hadn't yet had a chance to see, eight films that supposedly lived on the edge. If they had had their first festival anywhere near me, I would have gone. Luckily, I had to wait till DVD. I believe I watched seven out of eight from the first series. One, The Abandoned, was actually good and somewhat creepy, two or three were okay, like Reincarnation, the rest sucked badly. So it was with trepidation that I went again to the well for their 2007 series, hopefully I started off with the worst one of the bunch, because if they get any worse than Crazy Eights, my confidence has been completely destroyed.

Crazy Eights, is about a group of people brought together for a funeral of a friend. It comes out that they all spent time in a mental institution together when they were children. There's a mystery surrounding their friend's death, so the alive seven make the trek back to the institution to find out what really happened. Their first stop is a time capsule they left for themselves to find, inside they find the bones of a little girl, who was at the institution with them. Being too stupid to call the police, they investigate further. And before you know it they find themselves locked in the basement of this long abandoned institution, with what appears to be the ghost of the little girl stalking them.


They continue to make the stupidest, most cliche´d horror mistakes possible. With each character insisting on setting off on their own, no matter how many of them get knocked off. They're constantly saying things like, "Oh no, that's our 4th friend to die in the last fifteen minutes, I'm going to explore this creepy hallway where I just saw something ghost like moving about in. You guys stay here." These are literally about the dumbest characters you could find in a modern horror film. So you can't possibly care when the obvious happens and they get killed.


The set-up isn't that bad, I can go along with them trying to figure out their past in this crumbling shell of a hospital. The set design is moody, the lighting appropriately dim, they even do a decent job of setting up the ghost. Unfortunately past that, they seem completely clueless on how to scare anyone. As soon as anything creepy starts to happen, they try to get it over with as quickly as possible, a hand jumps out of the dark, they cut to another room and we hear a muffled scream. That's how nearly everyone dies in this sorry excuse for a horror film. There's no drawn out suspense, there aren't even any good deaths. Everyone dies by editing.


By the end I'd lost all interest in the film, I honestly don't remember how it ended, I just didn't care. The acting is all pretty bad. Dina Meyer and Traci Lords are the lead actresses, neither has ever turned in a convincing performance, the filmmakers were simply going for some recognizable faces. They also got Gabrielle Anwar, who has made some decent films in the past, but she's pretty much wasted here, one of the first to die. Frank Whaley does his typical whiny role, he's phoning it in, and still creates the most realistic character. They try to create some drama about the horrible past these friends have gone through, but the writing and acting aren't good enough to pull it off. The little creepiness they have going for them, they almost deliberately avoid. A real waste of a film. - Grade: D-


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