If I’ve learned anything from watching Bates Motel, it is that if you are a rebellious teen guy, new in town, who has emotional and criminal problems possibly involving death, the hottest girls in town will be all over you. Smoking Marlboros is a bonus. Actually, I think I already mostly knew that.
Teen Neal Hausman is being driven back home by his father after spending a couple of years with his aunt. Seems that Neal had some problems after the death of his mother in a mysterious fire.
Mr. Hausman, who looks distractingly like Zach Galifianakis, is bringing Neal home to meet the new Mrs. Hausman and to reunite with his little brother Paulie. At a party in his honor, he meets new-mother Angela, played MILFtacularly by Musetta Vander, the she-mantis teacher from Buffy. He also sees one of the aforementioned red-hot teen babes, Cara; and her brothers who are the live action versions of Rod & Todd Flanders. Actually, their dad is not far off from Ned, either, so maybe it was intentional
Neal finds Paulie upstairs. After not-Zach yells at them for reasons I still don’t understand, Natalie gives them some cash to go to the local diner. Neal proclaims it to be the coolest place in town which is a pretty sad commentary on this burg. The waitress is hot teen babe #2 who is all over Neal.
That night, Neal and Paulie begin confronting the thing under the bed. Using weapons that range from a mop with flashlights attached to it to a chainsaw, they joust with the reptilian / alien / demon / humanoid creature. The problem is more than a mere portal to hell that can be covered over. During a sleepover at the Flanderses, the monster makes its usual foggy entrance from beneath the neighbor’s bed.
The final 30 minutes ratchets everything up 1000%. There is suddenly more danger, higher stakes, and no shortage of dead bodies. Perhaps most tragically, Angela spends the entire last act in a robe, and the opportunity is squandered.
Pauly is dragged under the bed to “the other side”. This is right out of Insidious, Poltergeist, TZ’s Little Girl Lost and countless others (which is what you say when you can’t think of even one more). Not much time or effort is spent on the hellish other side, but that is fine. It is other-worldly enough and gives Neal a chance to be a hero. Ultimately, they are saved by Mom. Not Angela, but their dead biological Mom.
This Kind of movie movie both excites and pisses me off. Expecting it to be mediocre, I let it tie up one of my Netflix slots for a week. But then when I watched it — gold! I could nitpick the origin, motivation and design of the creature. I could also question why the father was such a jerk. But I’m just looking to be entertained, and it delivered.
I rate this one King-Size
- Also worth checking out is director Steven C. Miller’s previous film The Aggression Scale. Much lower budget and less polish, but a fun ride. I look forward to more work from him.
- Written by Eric Stolze, not Eric Stoltz. I thought Stoltz had dropped off the face of the earth, but he is all over the place — just nowhere I ever see him.