WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I know I say this quite often when I start off my reviews, but I feel that this movie warrants me saying it again: running this blog has forced me to come into contact with some very strange films, but S.N.U.B! takes the really bizarre biscuit. And before you think I might be overreacting, I would like you to consider what I believe to be the train of thought that went into making it: take people who look like, act like, and have the social sophistication of the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, tell them to do their best impersonation of the cast from Downton Abbey, and then put them in a situation that is more than just a little reminiscent of the plot from James Herbert’s Domain (minus the giant mutated rats). This, essentially, is what you will be dedicating the next 85 minutes of your life to should you decide to watch this movie. Now, that isn’t to say that it isn’t worth watching just to see how it all pans out, but I do like people to be prepared before they go walking off blindly into something.
We begin our misdirected adventure by following a group of soldiers out on an anti-terrorism assignment who are being hotly pursued by an under-prepared orchestra. The government has received word that someone might have planted a 20-megaton nuclear bomb somewhere in down town London (because it’s dead easy to just carry one of those around on you), and these highly untrained men are going to do their best to save the population, should the threat prove to be real. It turns out the threat is real, and the soldiers discover the bomb hidden inside a tiny metal briefcase. They bring in their most panicky and shaky member of staff to try and diffuse the bomb, but he’s never come across something like this before (again, because people don’t usually just leave nuclear weapons lying around, I imagine training with them is a little bit tricky), so he cuts the wrong wire. KABOOM!!! There goes London, all in one giant mushroom cloud.
Thankfully, while the British government doesn’t appear to have trained soldiers, an emergency plan, or an evacuation plan, they do happen to have a terribly unprepared Secret Underground Nuclear Bunker. All of the equipment in there is still from the Cold War so, while it isn’t tremendously helpful in keeping people alive, I imagine it would appeal to all of the hipster survivors who managed to make it inside. Having managed to get all of 7 people inside when the bomb went off (one of which is a minor government functionary who immediately tries to take control of the situation), these survivors band together with the three soldiers, the one communications director, and the one maintenance man who were already inside and try to figure out how they are going to weather this particular hell storm.
Oh yeah – the other problem with the bunker? It didn’t really come with a maintenance plan, so the life support machinery is REALLY old and gets clogged at the first sign of a human corpse falling into it. So there’s the problem of not being able to breathe when the 11 survivors use up all the oxygen in the labyrinthine bunker in a matter of hours (how heavily are they breathing?). Then there’s the issue of hierarchy, which really teaches us that, in the event of nuclear war, paper pushers with God complexes should be the first to be thrown into the mushroom cloud. Yet another issue is the prison right near by which housed Britain’s most dangerous criminals. They’ve escaped the prison thanks to the blast and have suffered from some minor instantaneous mutations and are now trying to push their way into the bunker through its many, many unsealed openings. But not to worry, if all of this becomes too tense for you to watch, it’s intermittently broken by scenes of two of the survivors indulging in flirtation that’s as subtle as being slapped through the face with a wet trout.
If all of this doesn’t convince you to watch it, then I don’t know what will 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Americans do like their underground bunkers to be up to date with the latest trends in home décor.
- The British Ministry of Defence never thinks to take steps to out-manoeuvre people with laminated pieces of paper getting past security check points.
- Underground government facilities are no place for children or goldfish.
- The easiest way to control the rodent population in an underground bunker is with a military-issued machine gun.
- Bureaucracy dictates that if bunker survivor quotas are surpassed, excess survivors must be jettisoned into the radioactive wasteland.
- Despite spending so much time on their backs, sluts still need plenty of rest.
- During times of crisis it is incredibly important to revert to Victorian-style gender differences.
- If you pedal a bike fast enough you can easily out-ride radiation poisoning.
- There’s absolutely no security risk in letting the country’s most dangerous criminals help set up top-secret underground government facilities.
- Government focus groups indicate that children make excellent decoys when mutated prisoners are invading your underground bunker.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie made me terribly sad. As a reviewer it really breaks my heart to sit through a movie and watch as the director just loses more and more control over his creation. Some movies may miss the mark and some movies may forget to have things happen, but this movie just didn’t know how to end. Poor little creature. My psychic horror senses tell me that the director started off with a great plan, but as the story tried to develop itself the movie just got away from him and when it hit the 90 minute runtime mark he threw his hands up and said, “Right! Stop the cameras, we’re ending the movie here!” There’s no great character development, there’s no real insight into who the killer is or why he’s doing what he’s doing and, because the movie just ends, there’s no kind of solution offered. Plus there’s no real suspense at any point that may have kept this little train on the tracks. That said, it is a fun watch if you like to see the many creative ways that people can be killed with an excessive number of chains!
Being one of those movies that centres around high school kids a number of rules apply: we have jocks, we have sluts, we have one clever brunette and one dorky younger brother. Also, everyone’s well into their 20s. The dorky younger brother just happens to be Zack Young from Desperate Housewives. Whilst playing an intense game of WoW he receives a beautifully put together chain letter that tells him to send it on to 5 people within 24 hours. Since his sister Rachael needs to use the computer she throws him off and, believing in the immense power of chain letters, decides to forward it on but only includes 4 recipients. When Neil (Zack Young’s alter ego in this movie) finally manages to get his computer back he notices her mistake and adds her as the 5th recipient and sends the chain letter along.
Here’s where things start to go bloodshedingly wrong for our semi-group of 20-something highschool kids. You see while Rachael had sent the chain letter onto her friends the e-mail itself was coming from Neil’s account and, since he’s horribly unpopular, none of the friends take it very seriously and delete the e-mail. This is where our first victim Johnny Jones comes into the picture. After enjoying a nice little shot of growth hormones and a 3 minute gym session he goes to get some water. While drinking at the fountain he finds his head being repeatedly rammed into its delicate metal features and loses some teeth in the process. He is then dragged to another corner of the gym where our killer gets to work with his many, many chains. Like cooking, brutal slayings require a decent recipe: first of all you handcuff the victim to the chains. Once done you truss the victim up and lift them off the ground with some more chains to ensure that the arms pop out the sockets. You then slash their Achille’s heel, making it impossible for them to escape. You then take EVEN MORE CHAINS and proceed to grind their face into a smooth, delicate paste before making your escape into the night. In case you missed it: lots of chains. Chain Letter. What a clever little killer we have with us.
In amongst all of this are a few ancillary characters of which the most important is Jessie. She’s good-looking but she’s brunette and occasionally wears glasses so you know she’s the brains of the outfit. As the body count shuffles a little higher she decides to enlist the help of Neil and her friend Michael to try and stop the murders. For backup they have Detective Crenshaw trying to work out what’s going on back at Police HQ. Of course nobody’s better equipped to figure out who a psychopath is than a highschool girl taking a class in the dangers of technology and Jessie, despite already forwarding the chain letter on, tells everyone to send it to her again so that she can do some detective work of her own. With the aid of her glasses and Google she manages to figure out that the chain letter has a virus attached to it that infects cellphones and computers and allows the killer to use them as GPS units. This makes hunting his victims down much easier than in the good old days where killers had to lurk behind bushes for hours in the vague hope of a victim crossing their path. It’s then up to Jessie, Neil and Michael to save the day blah blah blah stop the killer blah blah blah redeem mankind’s belief in the joys of technology blah blah blah.
Chain Letter isn’t good, but it’s the good kind of not good that you can at least cock your head at in confusion and have a good laugh at.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Schools are a combination of socialising and football games. At most students may have 1 class a day.
- Right after water and food a phone is right up there with the basic things needed for a human to survive.
- Men have enormous engines put in their cars in the hopes of enticing gorgeous women.
- Killers who use an excessive amount of chains are helping to keep an entire industry alive.
- High school kids never have parents that live with them.
- The phrase ‘why don’t you come get me?’ should not be thrown around lightly.
- Policemen on the phone sound a lot like telemarketers.
- You don’t put glasses on to read – you put glasses on to think.
CHAIN LETTER TRAILER
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