20 Horror Films for $7.50 — Part XX of XX. After ramping up to a great climax with a few good movies, they end with a let-down that is not even worthy of the $5.00 collection. This makes the season 1 finale of Heroes look like the season 1 finale of 24.
“It is the end of the world, but not the end we imagined,” begins an interminable narration which tells us the end is not from fire or earthquakes, but the titular wind — an idea so good that M. Night Shyamalan used it 7 years later in The Happening. And to a similar reception.
The narration goes on for 4 minutes during which we are told how a single act was carried by the wind around the world, eventually leading to its destruction. It concludes, “Some believe the wind is nothing more than a cautionary tale told to the children of a dying time.” Yeah, the time when they made good movies.
The “single act” begins immediately with contradictions — a POV tracking shot through the woods, interrupted with static shots. Presumably, it is the POV of the wind, but why the motionless inserts? And why is it sticking mostly to the paths? It blows past Clair, sitting in a field, and she seems to sense something passing, but turns her attention back to an inappropriate card she has received from platonic friend Bob.
She calls her pals John, Billy and Mic who meet her in the field. She tells them the mildly disturbing story of a “date” with Bob and shows them the card. Clair cries through the relating the story, but smiles as they go off to kick Bob’s ass. They are riled up enough, presumably by the wind, to go teach Bob a lesson. Bob learns the lesson that being beaten up by your 3 best friends and clubbed in the head with a log will kill you. To be fair, he probably already knew that.
Mic goes to Clair’s house, but no one is home. As in every movie in this blog, that doesn’t stop him from going in. He finds evidence that Clair created the lame card that she showed the boys after her mildly uncomfortable outing with Bob. This is like Oliver Stone making a $100 million movie if Oswald had just given JFK a wedgie in Dallas.
We learn that the stranger who finished Bob off was his brother Earl . He also gets an ass-kicking from Mic, though non-lethal, after suggesting that he knows what happened and wants to be be Bob’s replacement in the gang (i.e. the Shemp). When he regains consciousness, he walks out of the woods talking out loud to himself about about what a bully Bob was. Yeah, nothing like the guys he desperately wants to buddy-up to now.
Eventually the gang turns on each other and John, Billy and Clair perform the ritual blood-brother cutting and obligatory MMF 3-way. Wait, what? This came out of nowhere, and frankly didn’t need the gratuitous MM shots — there was enough F to go around. In fact, the act ought to called MFM just to keep some distance in there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Billy kills a rabbit and shows it to Mic, John hits on Mic’s semi-MILFy mother, Clair calls and invites him to the scene of the crime. As Clair placidly stands by, the 3 of them duke it out. And then — WTF — did Earl pop back into the picture? He somehow snuck up on the group despite them being in a clearing the size the Bonneville Salt Flats. Kudos for this though — the last 2 seconds make it worth sitting through the previous 30 seconds.
The last shot really is kind of awesome. In fact, there is some good camerawork throughout. The director really loves circling his small cast, and comes up with several imaginative shots throughout the movie.
In fact, I can imagine a good movie being made on this premise. It’s too bad the concept of the evil wind was dropped. This incident was supposed to be the spark that launched the apocalypse. It was heard and seen blowing a few times, and that subtly was wise; it didn’t need to be hammered-home to the viewer. But there needed to be a callback at the end for the title to make sense.
Sadly, the concept and decent camerawork couldn’t save this one — it was brought down by almost every other phase of the production. The dialogue was weak, and at times, just too much. For example, when John started seducing Mic’s Mom, I thought the scene was pretty well done as it went from uncomfortable to more aggressive. John’s dialogue and performance really stood out. But then he yakked on and on and on (and on); and on — ruining the scene .
The acting was pretty spotty. Luckily the main offender Bob was not around for long. The others had their good and bad moments, but it’s not always easy to tell if the budget constraints or equipment cause some of this.
Due to the casting, I was confused throughout much of the movie by who was who. I could spot John because he is blonde and Claire because she is shorter, but Mic, Billy and Earl were entirely interchangeable to me. Clair probably gave the best performance. She was consistently interesting to watch, kind of a mix of Bridget Fonda and Amanda Plummer.
So not a total disaster thanks to Clair and the director, but I’m not recommending it to anyone. Or even admitting to anyone that I watched it (almost literally true on this blog)
- No relation to The Wind except in their awfulness.
-  OK, maybe I have a little face-blindness, but this whole time I had thought it was Billy who had finished Bob off.
-  The scene was almost saved by the director. The shot of Vanessa laying on the table beside the sandwich was just masterful.
- After the murder, the guys are hanging out at Mic’s house playing Resident Evil. One of them submerges his face in the icy water of a large Igloo Cooler for a several seconds ruminating on how they killed Bob. This looks like a perfectly nice home which would have a refrigerator — why would they be keeping beer in a big-ass cooler? Oh yeah, so he could stick his face in it.
- He raises his head and says, “we’re out of beer.” It was established that Mic’s mother was home and the other guys (and Clair) live with their parents. Are they still in high school? Is she just a cool mom (i.e. the kind the fascist city government would love to lock up for such corruption)?
- Strangely, the only place I have seen any of the cast — Vanessa and Billy both had minor roles in The Sopranos as “Hysterical Woman” and “Caller #3”. Respectively, in an example of good casting.