It's graduation weekend, and Sandy Channing, the popular class president of her small-town high school, should be enjoying the time of her life. But when her friends start disappearing, Sandy discovers they have unwittingly awakened the vengeful spirit of a girl they wronged long ago. Fighting for her sanity, Sandy must unlock a dark secret from her own past before it's too late.
American teen horror. Anyone who knows me knows that it takes a lot to get me sitting in front of one of these damn films. Theres something inherently infuriating about watching a bunch of chiseled ass clowns taking drugs that never seem to get them high, and laying plastic broads who couldn't tell there asshole from their elbow. These films point, for me, to the shallowness inherent in the upcoming generation. Now, this may be me heading into 'miserable old bastard' territory, as I LOVE many of the teen slashers of old. The 70's and 80's produced a multitude of gems that are hard to overlook.
Hell, even the ones that sucked had a certain charm to them, (a little cheese can help any damn meal go down smooth), but the recent crop seem to have lost all charm and all sense if what makes a teen slasher work. I have no time for ANY TV, especially reality shows or MTV bullshit, so it figures I have no time to watch fictionalised versions of these shallow spoiled brats in my movies.
I had no idea FORGET ME NOT was set in the world of vacuous douche bags in which so many American horrors are set, and it alarmed me when the film kicked off with a twenty minute long party in which we're introduced to a bunch of soulless cretins who you'd sooner punch than party with. I came very close to turning it off by minute twenty. I knew it had a decent concept, but I was so wholly repulsed by the unending parade of robots onscreen that I figured I'd been beaten before the film had a chance to get going. But, being the brave trooper that I am, I swallowed my sieving rage and charged ahead. There is more to the film, but I'll get to that later.
Now, before I continue with this review, I have a valid question to ask. As a Scotsman with an American girlfriend and a baby on the way, I may soon be moving to the states, so you'll understand my concern with all these films. In America, do they REALLY have parties like you see in these slashers, where they drink gallons of booze ,yet no one ever gets pissed except some fat kid in a Hawaiian shirt? DO girls really wander around in bikini's, rubbing their crotches against beach blond jocks? Are all groups of teens America all over the age of 25? And lastly, do their friend circles always consist of one stoned guy, one slut, one nice guy, one nice girl, one black guy, one nerdy virgin and one sex pest jock?
|This girl fucks a random shopkeeper while her pals steal beer. I shit you not!|
FORGET ME NOT isn't really a slasher. It follows all the tropes of a slasher, (sadly, including the above), but leans more toward the 'ghost story' style of American horror, in terms of plot. And the plot is really good. The idea that a vengeful ghost is wiping people out, not only by slaughtering them, but by eradicating any memory or trace of them, is a pretty tight one. In the right hands this concept could make for a really great story.Its unfortunate that its mostly squandered here in favor of stalk and slash scenes and more tit shots than Sasha Grey's last internet outing. Theres nothing wrong with those things, but in a ghost story, and one with such a thought provoking and promising concept, its a little much. They don't push the more surreal psychological aspects of the tale anywhere NEAR where they could have. This doesn't make it a terrible film, just a fairly disappointing and mediocre one. Instead of breaking new ground it settles into the familiar grooves we all know so well. Past mistakes coming back to haunt the teens, flashbacks explaining the haunting and a last act rush to end the curse; they're all here. And they're all fighting for dominance with the slasher elements. Theres little room left to explore a world where death means a complete overturn in everyone ELSE'S reality. Shame.
On the positive side, there are some great moments in here. One in particular actually gave me the creeps. It involves a girl, (don't ask who, they almost all look and act alike although I think it may be the one in the photo above), being chased through the woods in broad daylight by three very fast moving spectres. It belongs in a better film. One of those moments that leaves you asking, 'what if?'.
Also, a few, (and I do mean a few), of the characters actually grow on you as things progress. Some decent performances help. Some of the less dispicable characters even come within shouting distance of being human. Yet even as I started to empathise with them, the sane part of my brain would jump in and whisper, 'But Kyle, how nice can they be? They hang around with total fuckheads'. It limited my compassion a great deal. The flashbacks don't help either. They're among the most accomplished directorial moments in the movie, but the actions of the kids make you want to stab and behead them all yourself. I don't care if your only ten years old, don't treat people that way you little shits! Thankfully, the end sort of puts this right, and leaves you with a few thoughts running round your head about who the good guys really are. Its not I SAW THE DEVIL, man, so don't get me wrong. This wont win any awards for transcendental thinking, but it lightens the load a little.
I enjoyed FORGET ME NOT for what it was, as soon as I was able to grasp that its mile high concept was not being taken where it should. I settled back into its few charms and allowed my brain to switch off, and I found a few things to like. Some good kills, and a few suspenseful shock scenes got me through the more unpalatable stuff. And after the opening twenty minutes it sort of found its groove and showed me a fun, if frivolous, time. Don't bother seeking it out, but if you catch it on Netflix or late night TV, and your partner is asleep or has a headache, give it a look.
5 MTV Knob-heads out of 10