Saturday, September 15, 2007

Midnite Madness: The Burning

Once upon a time, I saw a good movie. That movie was not, as it happens, The Burning.

First of all, the villain's name is Cropsy. I swear, Cropsy. If you sit up late at night fearing the terrible wrath of Cropsy, well, I don't even know what to say.

That said, he's oddly one of the most sympathetic characters in the movie, which says less about how rounded he is and more to how goofy the others are. Jason Alexander and Fisher Stevens are both charming and amusing, but once the movie is going, terribly underutilized. The lead, Brian Matthews, who desperately aspires to the awesomeness of Grant Goodeve, inspires little to connect with, especially once the "surprise" revelation comes late in the movie. The much advertised Holly Hunter appearance is frankly not worth mentioning, as I didn't even notice her read an actual line, although I assume she does.

Mind you, after an overly long set-up - always a good idea in principle, but when dialogue is the the weakest point of your script, ultimately a mistake - it catches a little excitment in the scenes involving the brutal deaths of various campers. In fact, they almost seem to be directed by another director, perhaps that's Tom Savini and his famous influence over how his effects are shot.

The movie will continue to be a curio. It's the first Miramax movie, a slasher movie co-written by the Weinsteins, etc.

And it is fun to slip into a deep voice and say "Filmed in glorious Cropsy-Vision!" every time the foggy lensed killer POV shots.

It's not very suspensefully paced, however, and the characters are far too thinly drawn and poorly written to justify calling it anything but an average movie of its sort, and even with that bar being as low as it is, that may be a bit kind.


Jonathan Lapper said...

I'll have you know I have feared the wrath of Cropsy since early childhood. Cropsy... just the name makes me shudder. What fear, what terror, what horror! Cropsy, no, no, Cropsy, NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Neil Sarver said...

I reckon I should keep my mouth shut as I shall be making a rather embarrassing revelation before "Midnite Madness" comes to an end.

Marty McKee said...

I like the name Cropsy myself. As for THE BURNING, yeah, I wish I liked it better than I do. Still, though it doesn't make the upper echelon of slasher flicks, it fits nicely one rung down, thanks to the cast and Savini. Holly Hunter, by the way, does have a couple of lines that are usually easy to pick out because her voice is so recognizable. She doesn't do very much, however.

Neil Sarver said...

I definitely wish I liked it better than I did and it's certainly not without its moments, but ultimately, it did fall short.

And while I think Cropsy is a great name for the creepy old caretaker, once he's actually a killer on the loose, it lacks something for me...

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