Monday, January 11, 2010

But first:

Yeees, I figured after talking about a really good movie that made me want to die a little, it would be better to write about a bad movie that made me want a lot of other people to die, just as a change of pace. In other words, no Paranormal Activity today folks, today I'm taking on I Know Who Killed Me. This rant is spoileriffic.

I had heard about this film, mostly about how horrendously bad it is, and when the stars aligned and I finally got my hand on a Voddler invite with my name on it, and Voddler had the movie available, I decided to check it out. That was, in short, a mistake. I spent an entire afternoon, just methodically going through this film and writing down all that was wrong and bad about it, and still I felt like I didn't get to cover everything in appropriate detail. This, however, is more the condensed version of that.

So, the movie is about Aubrey Fleming, a high-school girl and alleged talented writer who gets kidnapped by a serial killer, only to be found again, insisting that her name is Dakota Moss. Are there really two almost identical, yet very different, girls, or is Dakota just fooling herself. The answers, in short is: Yes and Only into thinking she can act. So, this movie stars Lindsay Lohan as both Aubrey and Dakota, and her performance does not lift the movie to any mentionable heights. If something, she's the ballast on an U-boat in that respect. You see, as mind-numbingly poor as Ms. Lohan's performance is, the negative impact she has on the quality of the movie is far overshadowed by several other elements, most noticeably the story. Yes, the story is bad enough to outdo Lindsay Lohan in the failing department, you should be very very afraid.

You see, this story clearly has an idea or two that the author would love to show to the world. No wait, it has exactly one idea, the idea of non-religious stigmata involving some supernatural bond between twins. The entirety of the main plot revolves around this in its entirety. This'd be very boring, hadn't it been for the subplots. Oh dear merciful abominations against nature, the subplots. You see, the movie seems to do pretty much the same thing as M. Night Shyamalan more or less insists on doing every movie he makes, that is halting the main plot in favor of character development and character development-subplots. You know what, I'm not overly fond of this approach, but I'm going to go over Shyamalan's career and my two cents on him later, so I'll leave that alone for now.

My point, though, is that at least Shyamalan does what he does well. I Know Who Killed Me well... doesn't. I remember one particular instant where our intrepid heroine Dakota searches through the room of the killer's previous victims and spots a trophy. We're not told what the trophy is, but the way the cinematography and characters work it let us know that this is important in one way or another. So, Dakota reaches out for it, and for a brief moment, it looks like we might actually get some progress on the main plot, seconds later she's hauled out of her house by her parents. At this point, I had to pause the movie and just let the rage pass. You see, it's not that the main plot is very good, it's just that up until that point, we hadn't gotten a single clue about the killer, and except for the reveal in the last part of the movie, we wouldn't get another. The whole "killer" part seems like it had been cut, trimmed and then cut again before it was thrown into a wood chipper, we never learn why the killer kills and we never learn why we should care.

Another thing about the movie, both of the main characters, Aubrey and Dakota, are both as likeable as a serial killer dressed entirely in dead babies. To take the one that vexes me less first: Dakota. Stereotypical Bad Girl, so incredibly paint-by-numbers "bad" that it approaches parody. Aubrey, on the other hand, is in the movie all of... what, fifteen minutes total, and I not only dislike her, but also hate several aspects of her more than I've hated any other character. You see, Aubrey is an equally paint-by-numbers Good girl, approaching Mary Sue-levels at lightspeed, and only to make it better, or worse, you be the judge, she's a writer. Great, can you say "author avatar," much? The fact that everyone seems to be deeply fascinated by her crappy writing doesn't exactly help. Oh, and to top it of, Aubrey does what every fucking author does according to fictionland, she writes about herself, except not quite, as she writes about the life and times of her lost identical twin, except she seems to be clarvoyant... somehow. I'd rather not dwell on that aspect of it, but let me just ask one thing, why on earth does all author write solely about themselves in the most transparent way possible in fiction? I mean, the people who makes them do this are all writers, why do it? I'm not sure, but I'm convinced a writer has a duty to write about something else than his own problems and beliefs. One of my first books on scriptwriting told me "Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting to others." and from this, I've always assumed that it's a rather basic writer thing to not gab on endlessly about you and yours. Then again, it'd be unrealistic for a writer to write a writer who writes better than the writer who writes him (that sentence kind of got away from me,) but come on, at least a little effort, please?

Well, if that wasn't enough, the director seems to be convinced he's destined for greatness. There's a very Lynch-esque feel over the movie, or at least a very "Wishes it was Lynch"-esque vibe, heavy use of colors, a vague attempt at mixing reality that seems surreal with surreality that seems real, the whole package. The thing is, of course, that the general feel of the movie is more like something an over-eager film student would put together if given the funds. Every time I say that, I feel bad for the over-eager film students of the world, after all, they have potential to become better, potential to surprise, potential to lead the way in a new and exciting branch of cinema, heck, I am one of those young hopefuls, but I have at least reached the point where I recognize our most common mistake, and I Know Who Killed Me plays as an itemized list of them.

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