Curt’s Crappy Movie & T.V. Reviews: XX (2017)

By Curtis Suthard – 6/18/2017

 

XX

(2017)

Hey, here we are, back again for yet another crappily written review for a possibly, equally crappy movie! This time around we are looking at something a bit more recent than my previous reviews, the anthology, horror flick, XX! Was it any good? Read on to find out! Of course, Spoiler Warning and all that jazz!

I loves me a good, old fashioned horror anthology. Creepshow, The Twilight Zone movie, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and even newer stuff like The ABC’s of Death and even parts of the VHS series have been anywhere from good to great! So, I was more than happy to plop my butt down for some short-format horror stories. Unfortunately, there was nothing really scary or even anything of much substance here. The overall movie is made up of four short vignettes that fill the bulk of the film, with chapter breaks being filled with stop motion animation-style bits about a creepy, doll-faced dollhouse crawling about an even creepier, decrepit home picking up bits and pieces of stuff along the way. Those moments were fine, a bit pointless, but fine. I kept waiting for a Tool song to start blaring during these segments, which definitely would have helped things out.

The first story we get is called “The Box”, which oddly enough only features, brace yourself, a box for one scene. Here’s the gist of it: Mother, daughter and son are travelling home on the subway some time before Christmas. The son notices an odd chap holding a box (bum, bum, BUM!) in his lap and seems to be curious to take a look inside. The creepy dude then asks the son if he would like to take a peek and the Mother, displaying terrible judgement, says, “Sure, little Billy! Go ahead and take a peek inside the box resting upon a stranger’s lap!” Okay, the mom doesn’t actually say exactly that, but still…c’mon. What parent wouldn’t instantly think that they are just signing their kid up for some good fun pedo-nonsense by allowing such a thing? Anyway, the son takes a peek in and is visibly shaken by whatever it is he sees. So, it more than likely was the stranger’s ween or some other strange, unnamable horror. But, we’ll never know because (Hey, I warned you! Spoilers!) we, the audience, never find out.

Anyway, from this point on the son begins to lose his appetite and flat out refuses to eat anything. The Mother and Father grow concerned, but are really unable to do anything about it.  I mean, in reality, they could have done something about it probably, like force-feeding the kid or something else, but instead they’d rather just sit around and feel bad about the situation. Eventually, the son tells the daughter what it was that he saw and she too stops eating. Pops is next to get the “bug” as he too gets brought into the loop and the son shares the details about the stranger’s horrible wiener or whatever it was that he saw with dear, old dad. So everyone, but the mom, stops eating and begin to waste away. The only real scare here is when Mom’s has a nightmare that her family is cutting her up and devouring her. Which is less scary and more just gory than anything else. Anyway, the whole thing wraps up rather depressingly with no real punch. Everyone wastes away and dies, one after the other, leaving mom all alone and trying to find the creepy dude with his box on the subway. It just sort of leaves you going, “Well…okay, I guess?”

Next up, things begin to pick up a bit with the second tale titled “The Birthday Party”. A humorous little ditty about a well-to-do housewife struggling to prepare for her daughter’s birthday party on the morning of, all while trying to conceal the fact that her husband seems to have overdosed and is now dead from everyone. Is it scary? No. Is it at least funny? Sort of, but nothing we haven’t seen before really. The mom comically drags her husband around the house, hiding herself and the body in the closet from the nanny, having a bunch of near misses and moments where she is almost spotted by everyone as she frantically covers the body up. Eventually, a singing telegram or whatever shows up in the form of a dude in a panda suit which the mom then purchases from the perfectly coifed, young man and stuffs her husband’s body into. She then has the fantastic idea to prop up the panda-clad corpse at the table to oversee the kid’s party. Which, of course, in predictable fashion, ends up backfiring on her spectacularly.

This whole segment is maybe the stronger of the bunch, but is, again, not really scary in any way, shape or form. This one is more slightly dark humor with a heaping dose of slapstick. The humor isn’t bad though, so I sort of enjoyed this entry!

Now we finally come to something with some teeth (pun intended) in the next story entitled “Don’t Fall”, which is kind of a lame name for this short. Anyway, four friends go out hiking, off the beaten path and camp out there, in the wilderness, for the night. Only to have one of the young ladies seem to get infected with some ancient, Native American evil or something. Anyway, she quickly becomes a kinda scary looking monster and starts tearing into her friends. This one should have been called “Don’t Blink” because it seems to fly by and be over before I could even really care about any of these characters. You only get quick glimpses into each one of them and their personalities, so there really isn’t any time to relate to anyone or care about them. Other than that, this is a nice, tight run of the mill horror story.

Finally, we get the last entry called “Her Only Living Son”. A frazzled, single mom is dealing with her super-dicky teen son as he nears his eighteenth birthday. I dare you to have any sympathy for the teen son at all, as the first time you really get introduced to him he seems to be beating the family dog. I mean, the mom seems like an asshole as well, as she seems to know that her son is a piece of crap, but doesn’t really do anything about it. Though, maybe, she is really unable to do anything about her son’s behavior. As the story unravels we find out that his father is supposed to be a big-time movie star, but it doesn’t take long for that to really unravel. The mother gets called into a meeting at her son’s school because he rips the fingernails out of some poor girl’s fingers. Funny thing though, the principal seems to not see this as any real big deal, as the faculty there consider her son to be something “special”. Y’know, kids these days? Am I right? It’s at this moment mom snoops around her darling son’s room only to get caught and forced to confront all of the changes that have been happening with him. It’s at this moment that it becomes pretty evident that dad may not be Brad Pitt, but, instead, may in fact be…SATAN!

Now let’s just take a moment here to acknowledge that mom may not be as innocent in this whole thing, as she had to have gotten all freaky deaky with the Lord of Hell at some point. Unless, it was some Rosemary Baby –type thing where she didn’t have much say in the matter. Anyway, just as big daddy seems to come a-callin’, mother and son proclaim their love for each other and embrace so hard that they seem to crush one another. Or, Satan kills them, maybe? At least, that’s what I thought for a moment, but I’m fairly certain that they hold onto each other so hard that they kill each other. Symbolism or whatever? I don’t know. I’ll just stick with: A lame way to wrap everything up.

All in all this wasn’t the worst horror anthology I have ever seen, it was just incredibly disappointing. There was no hook to anything nor was there anything really even borderline scary. Each story was a bit too short and the characters were flat. Each entry was a bit predictable, as well with no real twists or surprises. Overall, it just wasn’t good. Because of those reasons, I am giving it a 1 out of 5 on the Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

Feel the need to tell me I’m an idiot and don’t understand the art of filmmaking or the nuanced, subtlety of story and well-crafted characters? Well then, by all means, give it to me good at jack@nerdnationradio.com! And let me have it!

For all other questions, inquiries, suggestions for something crappy that I can watch and maybe review next or just to tell me how great I am, you can do so at curt@nerdnationradio.com!

Until, next time, Keep It Crappy!