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Movie Review: Desecrated

desecrated poster

@dinsmorality reviews...

Director: Rob Garcia
Writer: Cecil Chambers
Stars: Haylie Duff, Michael Ironside, Gonzalo Menendez

Review

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. I’m going to burn it: Desecrated is a terrible movie. As I have written before, I really do not like to pick on a low-budget movie, for I and my colleagues have praised many titles with modest budgets that use creativity in lieu of resources. (See our reviews of Demonic Attachment, Road Games, Everlasting, and Stomping Ground for proof.) What makes Desecrated so infuriatingly bland and stupid is its desire to poorly emulate successful, cliché-driven horror tropes seen in movies such as Friday the 13th ; the ones with better effects, stronger acting and directing, and, dare I say, money. It is not to say that horror fans could forgive, or even enjoy, the familiar setup of college kids going on spring break, only to be attacked by some murderous psychopath. And it is not that we are expecting something entirely nuanced like the mesmerizing Cabin in the Woods. We simple want creativity in the confines of the indie space, not cheap derivatives of other cheap derivatives.

If you stopped reading, I don’t blame you. But if you want to understand my thesis a bit more, here it goes. First, as noted above, the movie is about 6 friends on their way to a vacation house for some R&R. The 6 are the familiar stereotypes: The main boyfriend and girlfriend, who fit the mold of the “it” couple. You know, white, the blonde chick (played quite poorly by Haley Duff) and her overprotective boyfriend. Then there’s the nerdy black guy who conforms to the ridiculous notion that black people hate danger. “I ain’t going out there. I’ll just stay here and protect the house.” Then there’s the ditzy white girl who secretly wants the nerdy black guy. There’s the douchebag/stoner played by a lovely Latino stereotype who only cares about having sex with his Russian girlfriend (she’s also a moron) who doesn’t understand how to conjugate verbs. The last two are supposed to provide comic relief, but boy the writing and acting are so bad that any intentional humor is lost to this meta-ironic fact.

desecrated image

If you are hoping that maybe the killer is at least somewhat inspiring, then let me squash that hope right now. I can’t even begin to tell you how the convoluted sub-plot weaves into the framework of the terribly-derived spring-break outing. It involves a traumatized ex-Marine in cahoots with Haley Duff’s character’s dad, played for absolutely no reason by the great Michael Ironside (Scanners, Starship Troopers). Once this sub-plot unfolds by the end of this incoherent movie, you’ll discover a plot hole the size of Barringer Crater (Google it; it’s quite large and far more fascinating). Even the death scenes are contrived, adding nothing new or exciting for the torture porn addict in us all. And if you are familiar with this type of plot I explained above, then you already know the order of deaths. It’s hard to spoil a spoiled story.

One final thought: As I have stated before, indie horror movies should feel as if they have the opportunity to present fresh ideas even to a plot that is all too familiar. The brilliance of Stomping Ground and Everlasting is not necessarily rooted in their familiar plots but in their respective executions. They are culturally significant for our times, adding complexities, excellent direction, and genuine acting regardless of their budgets. It is why Shakespeare plays are essentially reconfigured for new contexts and paradigms, even if we know Hamlet will die by the sword or a predator drone (still waiting for the latter). Movies like Desecrated are cheap carbon copies of Hollywood movies with nothing new to add but a line on the production team’s resume. Why go this route, I can’t say. But the best Indie movies use budget restraints to their benefit, not using every cent for some derived gory scene that we could easily get from an affluent studio. It is an insult to audiences hoping that the much needed support indie filmmakers ask for is reciprocated with a product mainstream Hollywood already provides. We’ll vote with our dollars elsewhere.

Eric Dinsmore

Twitter: @dinsmorality

Images: IMDb & Crypticrock.com

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