I am frequently asked by friends and family about the scoring here at BTG, specifically the differentiation between a ‘two-stars’ horror and a ‘three-stars’ horror. Now whilst our quality assurance is mainly dictated by myself and Chris’ experience of working together all these years, much of it comes down to a feeling; was the movie enjoyable or not.
Both scores would be indicative of a film which had flaws, but were those flaws enough to ruin the experience or form part of its charm?
That right there is the distinction, and Deon Taylor’s 2009 slasher ‘Chain Letter’ is a textbook ‘two stars’ night and day!
Man, where to begin on this one.
First off, the plot, and this is taken straight from IMDB: “A maniac murders teens when they refuse to forward chain mail” is essentially what the 80 minutes is comprised of. There is a meagre attempt at adding in a subtext which critiques technology as an invasion of privacy, but by and large this film is just a montage of brutal kills interrupted by 15-20 minutes of teen angst, bad acting and even worse dialogue. Shame really, because I honestly thought this would go down the ‘Final Destination’ supernatural route of affairs as opposed to the least-feasible-killer-ever-route*.
*Actually, having said that, the killer, a hulking great nutter with a passion for chains and torture, is feasible, but his apparent access to everywhere, despite carrying said chains, hooks and blades without being noticed is complete bollocks even by slasher horror standards; especially as the main character is a decorated police officer put in charge of catching the guy.
It’s true… the film is a mess, so much so in fact that I was intrigued to find out if there was a back story as to why it ended up so shite, especially considering the talent present on the roster. Sadly, there wasn’t, no excuses, just a little fact that this movie was a box office flop losing a whopping $2.5million. I cannot believe it even cost that much to make!
I suppose I could go on ripping this movie for another 300 words but really there is no point, I would not recommend you watch it, there are many far better examples of teen-slashers out there, and I don’t feel as if I need to convince you further. This is just a poor film in every way, tedious and boring… really boring.
Indeed, there is a whole ranked category on BTG dedicated to slasher films just one click away – feel free to choose one from there if you are so inclined.
The only thing, and I mean the only thing, saving this movie from even less than 2 stars is that the deaths are actually really gruesome, and the effects are surprisingly good. There is one scene where a lad gets his jaw ripped off by a chain themed torture device which got the rewind treatment from me, and there are some others scattered throughout if you have the patience for it. Indeed you can save yourself the torment of watching the whole thing, some-ones put the aforementioned jaw scene on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zuFxQHjg0o
Overall, ‘Chain Letter’, ironically one I would gladly ‘pass on’ – get it? Hahahahaha! (God this movie sucked)