WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any horror fan knows a movie whose main ‘star’ is Paris Hilton is probably going to end up hurting you. Following on from this idea, any movie whose main ‘star’ is Paris Hilton and her character is the first to die is probably going to end up hurting you very badly. Nine Lives follows in the tradition of many slashers from the early 2000s where the cast is arranged in a triangle on the DVD cover in that it is largely predictable, the characters uninteresting and the execution boring. These are the reasons I watched it, of course, and why it has found itself a humble little corner on my shelf of movies that no regular person should ever have to watch.
Our tale of the League of Incredibly Average Generic 20-Somethings takes place in the middle of Scotland in the dead of winter. Average Tim is turning 21, and he’s decided to invite all of his average friends up to his stately Scottish manor to celebrate this key milestone in his life. These guys have been friends since their school days, and it isn’t hard to understand why; in addition to being equally vapid and uninteresting, the majority of them all look like alike. Understanding the group’s dynamics is much like playing a game of connect the dots: Tim was roommates with Pete, Pete dated Laura, Emma is Laura’s BFF, Lucy was Emma’s roommate, Jo is Lucy’s friend, Tom is dating Jo and Damien and Andy are just thrown in for good measure. This brings the membership tally of the League of Incredibly Average Generic 20-Somethings to 9 people. See how clever the movie’s title is now?
As luck would have it our group managed to get to Tim’s stately Scottish manor just in time: an enormous snow storm is about to roll in and it will probably knock out the already shaky cellphone reception. With the world outside becoming a blanket of white and all modes of escape cut off, our dear average friends sit down to an evening of light conversation, delicious meals and drinking the contents of an entire pub between them. As the evening wears on everyone but Tim and Tom go to bed and these two retire to the library. While browsing through the collection of books Tom somehow manages to blow a hole through the wall, revealing a secret book behind a wooden panel. The story it contains is horrific: back in 1746 during a Scottish uprising against the English a man named Murray owned this stately manor and he had his eyes ripped out of his head and fed to him for supporting the Scots. The book rewrites itself and says that Murray has returned to the home. Thinking nothing of the book that rewrites itself Tom and Tim carry on with their relaxing evening.
Now our resident ghost is going to take advantage of the fact that nobody would be scared of a spirit named Murray and starts taking the kids out one by one. It’s all a matter of pride really, since most of them are English. Tom is the first to become possessed, and he quickly dispenses with Jo. When Tom is killed, however, the haunting doesn’t stop. It turns out that Murray is a very clever little ghost, and he transfers himself to whoever killed his last host. This means that he can kill off as many of the group without being stopped. Also in his favour is the fact that these kids die very easily; one small stab wound in the shoulder and they’re down. Without Paris Hilton around to drag them down anymore the group must look to Laura for help since she quickly becomes an expert in the paranormal and seems to instinctively know how best to handle the situation and bring Murray’s reign of terror to an end.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Too much exposure to the countryside can be dangerous.
- Manchester Scum is one of the lesser known Scottish clans.
- Road signs confuse blonde women more than they help them.
- Milking cows is not everyone’s idea of a good time.
- Some people suffer from a crippling phobia of stately manor houses.
- Parents warn their daughters about men who hide pairs of dice.
- Belief is a two-way street: even if you don’t believe in the ghost, the ghost might still believe in you.
- Women’s rights include the right to run off blindly, on your own, in a strange house, with a killer on the loose.
- How to help people stabbed by a ghost during a snow storm isn’t covered in the usual medical syllabus.
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