Wednesday, January 8, 2014

PERKINS' 14 (2009)

Some are despised and rejected in their own time, only to be celebrated by more enlightened future generations. Melville, the Velvet Underground, and now PERKINS' 14 may be added to that list of luminaries.

Let me be clear.  Mistakes were made.  People behave idiotically, as if they were in a penny-pinching horror film.  The plot involves Olympic reaching competition levels of reaching. Shots are as dark as the pillars of some Hindoo shrine.  PERKINS' in the title should be PERKINS'S. 

And yet this leapt right over my low expectations, expectations that were made even lower by the general scorn people on the Internet seem to have for it.  Even Netflix was so dismissive of the film that it got its synopsis this wrong: "Unbalanced by the brutal murder of his parents, Robert Perkins (Richard Brake) kidnaps 14 people from a nearby town and brainwashes them into serving as his band of psychotic bodyguards".  Not exactly.  RONALD Perkins does kidnap children and works on their brains, but they generally emerge more of pseudo-zombies of the 28 DAYS LATER type than bodyguards.

When Perkins gets arrested, a chain of improbable events results in the loosening of said pseudo-zombies.  It's a small town, so, yes, an invasion of 14 people really can do some serious damage.  If you can't handle dumb premises, you shouldn't watch horror movies.  Go back to your scarlet armchair and works of classic literature by the fireplace.

So, granted, there are flaws here. The premise as conceived is pretty rad, but the telling certainly could've been improved.   But there are also things to like!  I dug the hell out of leads Patrick O'Kane (as a policeman whose child disappeared ten years ago) and Mihaela Mihut (as his secretly-cheating wife).  My fave scenes in the film involved an attack on the cuckolding wife and her mister, because the cop saves the day and skips right over any kind of marital spat jealousy thing.  It seemed pretty realistic that he'd prioritize saving her life over freaking out about adultery.  Also, blood happens.

I didn't love the last third or so of the film, since we move into confined-spaces horror at the jail building and there's less time for acting and character stuff.  The plot pretty much ends and we get a lot of stalking and splatter.

Plus a lot of this portion is poorly-lit, even though the film does some cool stuff with shadows and light.

Overall, though, I'd say that PERKINS' 14 is modestly enjoyable.  No games will be changed by this, no lives will be altered, but it seems weird that so many people are so down on a fun little effort.


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