When radio talk show psychiatrist, Dr. Sonny Blake, moves back to her hometown, she takes notice of her neighbourhood paper boy's unusual behaviour. She soon comes to realise the little bastard could be very dangerous, as he launches a campaign of terror against her...
I liked some of Victor Salva's output. I really did.....
I thought that CLOWNHOUSE was a really well made and genuinely frightening look at childhood fears, and I enjoyed JEEPERS CREEPERS' approach to old school monster-movie making. The guy was a good thing to have around in the genre. Sure JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 left a lot to be desired, but it was watchable, and its flaws weren't enough to quell my thirst for a third film.
Then I learnt all about Salva's unfortunate past...
Now, I understand that art and its creator often need to be separated, especially in my line of work, but Salva's abuse of young boys left a particularly sour taste in my mouth, especially as his more 'unsavoury' compulsions seem to infuse his films more often than not. For one thing, the young star of CLOWNHOUSE was being systematically abused during filming, and its impossible to watch it now and not feel heartbroken for the suffering that poor kid went through. Not to mention the fact that half the fucking film has half naked preteen boys running around. And how about JEEPERS CREEPERS? A predator that wants a part of a young boy, even going so far as to sniff his goddamn underwear. Or how about its sequel, in which we have to suffer through high-school boys having pissing contests while scantily dressed. I'm sorry kids, but that shit just doesn't sit right with me. How it sits with you, is your own issue.
All that said, I went into ROSEWOOD LANE with an open mind. I knew that Salva was capable of achieving good things in the Horror genre, despite wrecking lives in reality, and had hoped that since his arrest and incarceration, he'd be less inclined to have his camera linger on young boys like a drooling one-eyed cyborg. I was right on that part. There are zero young boys in this film, but stunningly, that's one of its biggest problems. Believe me, it has many, but that's a pretty goddamn big one. Seems like Salva's past may have killed his career after all. Let me explain...
See, the antagonist in this film is a paperboy. Now, I don't live in the states, but I'm pretty sure 30 year old men don't fuck around on BMX's throwing papers on peoples porches. Yet that's what happens here. When I first clapped eyes on this guy, I thought he was meant to be a sad-sack thirty-something who was perhaps a little handicapped or what have ya. Not so. Throughout the film, hes constantly referred to as a 'minor', a 'kid', and a 'boy'. He's none of the fucking above. What I suspect may have occurred here, is that Salva was forced to cast the paperboy character as way older than the required age, because he ain't allowed within two states of a young boy anymore. Its the only reasonable explanation for this crazy-as-fuck casting, and while it may not be the only thing that kills this nonsense stone-dead, it certainly doesn't help watching a grown-ass man wearing a skip cap backwards, and almost buckling his BMX under his weight. Fucking stupid, is what it is.
But as I mentioned, its far from the only stupid thing going on here. Each character, from top to bottom, make the most dumb-fuck choices possible at every turn. From cops who don't give a fuck about breaking and entering or attempted murder, even when there are witnesses, to some asshole with a broken arm and a broken leg, proclaiming he's gonna kick the guys ass who caused his injuries in the first place, and he was in perfect condition during round one! Dipshit. These sort of moments are legion.
As for the 'scare scenes', they're even dumber. We get such heart-pumping classics as 'pooddles chasing a BMX', 'kid pissing in a guys eye', (admittedly very funny, that one), and 'game of chicken between a car and a BMX'. You get the picture...this is not MARTYRS we're dealing with here. It doesn't help that our middle-aged psycho paperboy looks exactly like the character from the 80's arcade classic, PAPERBOY. Nope, it doesn't help at all.
The only good thing here is Rose McGowan. I've always dug that gal, way back from her scene-stealing in the original SCREAM. She's a competent actress, and a very likable girl. I do personally feel that she hurt her career with the plastic surgery, as it appears she has a harder time emoting with all that shit in her face, but that's her own personal choice, and she still deserves some love. She does what she can here, but the poor girl is rolling uphill.
Something else that grinds my gears is that, somehow, alongside McGowan, Salva managed to secure the awesome Lin Shaye and Ray Wise, (you may have seen them knock it out the park together, in DEAD END), and then completely underused them. Silly, man. Just silly.
This film has precisely zero scares, no tension, ridiculous plot-holes and a ninety minute run-time that feels twice as long. Salva's fallen a long way from his early, effective works, but the simpleton script and the laughable premise don't really help matters either, (although he also wrote it, so its his own damn fault). It scores some points for Rose's ample 'gifts' and the eye-pissing scene that had me rolling with laughter, but this is a dodgy TV-Movie at best. Victor Salva may still have a solid genre film in him, but on the basis of ROSEWOOD LANE, I ain't holding my breath. Not that I was, anyway. I got better things to do, and so do you.
2 Well Aimed Pisses out of 10