Keepsake (2008)

keepsake0220 horror movies for $5; what could possibly go wrong?  Part XVIII of XX — home stretch.

Well this was unexpected.  Keepsake is actually a pretty good movie.  Had the run time been cut by tightening up the last half, the film’s other assets would have made this a solid film.

Sunny La Rose as Janine is pretty in a non-Hollywood way and is able to carry the movie.  The score is worked to great effect in several scenes.  The director mostly stays out of the way, but that’s not a bad thing.  There might have been one too many plot points which bogged the movie down along the way.  Ultimately, it is a torture / revenge movie and the baggage did not add anything.  It was well intentioned, though, and I found myself appreciating the effort.

Janine Burns is picking out a CD, and it is not clear what happens.  You can’t really see anything, but the windshield looks like a bird hit it — hardly her fault.  If it was a bird, why show the CDs?  Startled, she drives the car off the side of the road.  She is calling a tow truck, so something else must have been damaged.

She calls for a tow, although it is not clear where she got the number.  A couple of nice southern gentlemen in a pickup stop by and gallantly offer their services to a lady in distress.  OK, they were pretty scuzzy.  I can imagine that would be a threatening situation for a woman, but she handles it well, edging back to her truck, but not showing fear.

keepsake03The tow truck shows up soon driven by a mute man with no tongue.  He can’t speak, but his uniform says, “Earl.”  He is credited as TTD which I assume is Tow Truck Driver, or possibly Tongueless Towtruck Driver.  He puts her car on his rig and they leave.  She asks him a few questions, but he has a pad with a pre-written message that says to only ask him yes-or-no questions; a tactic I plan on adopting.

She looks for a pen to sign the bill, and in the glove compartment finds a drivers license with Earl’s picture, but he is a black man.  Realizing this couldn’t be the driver even in a DMV photo, she tries to get out of the truck and he slugs her.  When he stops at a gas station, she bolts from the truck.  He catches her and roughs her up

He throws her in the restroom, and handcuffs her to a urinal as a police car pulls into the station.  Somehow taking off her shirt enables her to disconnect the pipes.  I’m no plumber, but I’m not sure what happened there.  Mind you, I’m not complaining either.  Maybe if she took off the bra, she could have used the pipes as a radio.

TTD jumps the cop, takes his gun, shoot him, and just wails on him.  just as Janine escapes, TTD catches her and injects her with something to knock her out.

keepsake05Title card:  DAY 1

Janine wakes up and TTD puts a metal collar around her neck that he can use to send electrical shocks through her via a remote.  TTD finds something interesting in a notebook in her car which she tries to trade for her freedom, but we don’t learn more for another hour.  He throws her in a pit below the floor of the barn.

Now the hallucinations begin.  They start out promising, on a beach with a topless girl that seems to be Janine’s lover, but turns out to be her sister Alice.  Now to really make this interesting . . . er, but I digress.

She awakens to see dismembered and rotting corpses in the pit.  TTD goes down to check on her and she brains him with a 2 X 4 and tries to run.  He zaps her electric collar ring.

While unconscious, Alice tells her that everything they went through as kids was preparing Janine for this moment.

He gives her a note that says: “30 days.  Show me.”  Thus starts the 2nd series of hallucinations, this set featuring the rotting corpses reanimating.  Frankly, they could have cut out this recurring plot point (or at least have had better looking zombies).

DAY 3

He makes her strip, hoses her down naked.

DAY 15

Another hosing down.  He gives her an extended shock, and then a new dress.  She has another hallucination of the animated bodie, and another hallucination of her sister.  Apparently their father abused them as kids.

He takes her in the house where there is another girl.  they eat, she starts, he slaps her from not waiting for the prayer.  She says she won’t go back in the box, calls him a freak.  He beats her unconscious so she sees her sister again.  Alice is hitchihing and despite Janine’s protests, leaves Janine alone to face her ordeal.

TTD brings home another girl.  We now enter the torture porn portion of the show as he de-tongues her and slices her Achilles tendons.  Presumably so she won’t be running her mouth.  TTD kills her, launching Janine into another hallucination but at least she didn’t have to get knocked out for this one.

Of course, tables are turned, there is a twist, and not everyone lives happily ever after. They could have easily lost the zombie hallucinations and kept this in the real world; and closer to 90 minutes.  Otherwise, I have no complaints.  It looks good, it sounds good, the heroine is a real woman (not gorgeous or performing kung fu).  Easily the best of this collection.  I could imagine it being a hit on the festival circuit.

Post-Post:

  • The title doesn’t really work.  I assume the titular keepsake is the photo Janine takes at the end.  But it is really introduced way too late for that to be used for the title.  Maybe the plural Keepsakes to refer to the entire photo album.
  • Not really sure what happens at the end.  Is that her own car she drives off in? Didn’t it require a tow 30 days earlier?  Did TTD thoughtfully fix it?  The tow truck uniform was stolen, so I am baffled by this.

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