Sunday, September 11, 2011

Horror Film Review

The Task (2010):  Haunted house flick!  Sort of.  Yeah...there are creepy-ass clowns as the poster suggests but not quite as you'd expect.  The whole film isn't quite what you'd expect.  That, as it turns out, is not necessarily a good thing. 

A disparate group of young men and women are kidnapped, handcuffed to each other, forced to wear pig masks, and driven to an abandoned prison in the middle of nowhere.  Turns out they'd all applied to participate in a reality show called "The Task" which reminded me of that MTV show Fear (that show was awesome).  In order to win $20,0000, each person must spend the night in the supposedly haunted penitentiary and also complete a series of "tasks." The joint's rigged with cameras but also with some surprises for the contestants.  It soon becomes apparent, however, that they're not alone and that it might be the spirit of the sadistic warden.  Sadistic is too kind a word.  Twisted, evil bastard is probably more on the mark.  The guy makes Jeffrey Dahmer look like Mr. Rogers.  Problem is, everyone thinks he's part of the game.  And maybe he is.  Or maybe not. 

That's what's wrong with The Task.  It's manipulative and ultimately can't make up its mind how to tell the story.  In the end, you feel like you've been played, which is shame since there was potential here.  Well...a small amount of potential.  The characters were garden-variety stereotypes:  the gay guy, the black guy, the blond cheerleader type, the brainy one, etc.  And the whole prison/sanitarium/hospital setting has been done to death in horror movies (pun very much intended).  They should have focused more on the warden's victims and gone with a revenge angle.  As it is, this film will remind you of dozens of horror flicks you've seen before.

The Breakdown

Acting:  No complaints. 
Story:  Ah.  Many complaints.  Maybe the thinking was that by combining two separate plot ideas, the movie would be twice as good.  Um, no.  Doesn't work that way.  Pick a plot and stick with it, otherwise you end up with a mess. 
Direction:  I don't know...boring?  The pace is reminiscent of a game of golf played by an elderly foursome. 
Production Values:  The movie looks pretty good.  It's shot on film and the prison sets are creepy enough. 
Gore/FX:  Some blood but nothing to make you upchuck your popcorn. 
Scares:  There's a thing with a clown...
The Ending:  It started out promising but deteriorated into stupid. 

The Verdict:  Should you see The Task?   I can't recommend it but then again, it's not god-awful either.  If you're on the fence, watch it just for the clown scene.  I'll admit, it got me good.  Freaking clowns, man....

My Rating:  2 out of 5 stars. 

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