WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As a fun little fact before I dive into the review, this movie was originally meant to be a part of the Urban Legend franchise. Under the working title Urban Legends: Goldfield Murders, this was meant to follow on from Urban Legends: Bloody Mary before Sony bought back the rights to the franchise. It’s just as well really; while Bloody Mary at least tried to cling in there, amateur doesn’t begin to describe this movie. Maybe it’s because the guys behind it chose to go with a less universally known urban legend (I’d never heard of Goldfield or its supposed ghosts until I watched this movie. Some useful information can be found by clicking here), but all this movie really boils down to is 88 minutes of every clichéd ghost trick in the b-movie book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a laugh a minute to watch, but when Kellan Lutz is your biggest draw card you really aren’t giving the audience much to work with.
After some thumping techno beats from the production companies responsible for this little cheese fest we’re thrown into a car full of horribly clichéd college students. Julie’s your typical ghost-hunting psychology major who’s deadly serious and in touch with the voices from the spirit realm. To balance out her intense blandness she chose Mike to be her jackass boyfriend. Mike’s just your standard scuzball college character who keeps pulling pranks and flirting with other females. In this case said female is Keri, the whiny spoiled girl bedecked in pink and who can’t understand why this ghost hunt can’t be a kick-ass party. She’s here with Dean, who there really isn’t much to say about since he just kinda hovers in the background and grunts disapprovingly when she flirts back with Mike. The group’s fifth wheel is Chad, the intelligent, sensitive beef cake who tries to look out for Julie and protect her from Mike’s general douchebaggery.
Julie and co. land up staying in the haunted hotel when it turns out that the motel she booked them into doesn’t exist. How this happened is never explained, so we just plow on with the story. Julie’s trying to make contact with Elizabeth, a prostitute who lived in the Goldfield hotel during the town’s gold rush. Elizabeth was supposedly murdered by the hotel’s owner and her 2-week-old child dumped down a mine shaft under the building. Julie wants to confirm the specter’s existence to see why she’s trapped and unable to move on to the other side. I never knew that ghost psychology was such a big subject in American universities, but you learn something new every day. How the group struggles for nearly an hour of the movie’s runtime to find Elizabeth is baffling since you can hear her whining ‘where’s my baby?’ in the background every five minutes, but who am I to question the director’s vision?
Suddenly, without apparent cause and only 20 minutes of movie left to go, Elizabeth decides to go balls to the wall and haunt the crap out of these kids. It starts out with some innocent possession to give Julie some flashbacks of what happened to her, but not long after the possessions lead to Mike and Keri making the beast with two backs on a dusty couch. Not content with a supernatural orgasm, Elizabeth decides that the next step is to kill all of the kids as quickly and brutally as possible, all supposedly in the name of finding her baby. How this ties in with the baby is another of the movie’s great unanswered questions, but I didn’t feel like dwelling on it. Julie has some mysterious connection to the old hotel and to Elizabeth’s ghost, and she’s the only one that can end the bygone hooker’s reign of transcendental terror. The question, however, is whether or not Elizabeth is the only ghost in the hotel and whether putting her to rest will really solve all of Julie’s problems.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Girl-on-girl action is cheaper than trying to get a man involved.
- The sound of the car engine exploding doesn’t usually herald good news.
- Bartenders in ghost towns don’t serve up fancy cocktails.
- It’s rude to speak ill of the slutty dead.
- One woman’s brutal torture and murder is another woman’s cheesy, torch-lit ghost story.
- A man must be very well endowed if he can have sex with you through his jeans and yours.
- It’s very inconvenient when your boyfriend’s penis accidentally slips inside your best friend.
- Some guys won’t screw dead chicks; even douchebags have standards.
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Unlike most trilogies in the horror genre, You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry must come to an end after its 3rd instalment. It was fun, and I learned a lot of things from this little experiment, not least the importance of continuity within a franchise 🙂 In case you missed any of it, the case studies were:
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Welcome to the second instalment of You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry. Today we’ll be looking at the third movie in the Urban Legends franchise, Bloody Mary. I chose this movie because it fit many of the same criteria as I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer in that, while the first two Urban Legends movies were not directly linked, this movie takes the story down a completely different track and completely abandons its predecessors’ slasher elements in favour of being a ghost story. I would also like to state from the get-go that, despite the title, the Bloody Mary myth is used very loosely and only as a means of justifying adding this movie to the franchise.
To begin our story we need to go back in time to the summer of ’69, albeit a far more tragic version than the one Bryan Adams has been describing for all these years. It’s the local high school’s homecoming celebration (admittedly, living in South Africa, I have no clue how homecoming works or what it’s for) and Mary Banner just feels like the most important girl in the whole school. The alpha jock has decided to dump his bitch of a girlfriend Dawn and asks Mary to the dance, proving that every now and then the plain girl can get the guy. He even manages to hook Mary’s 2 best friends Gina and Grace up with two of his buddies so that they can all be a matching set. If only good things like this did happen to the plain girl. Seems like the boys and Dawn aren’t happy about the fact that Mary and Co. don’t worship the ground the walk on so they decide to drug the three girls and play a little prank on them. Mary, not having any of it, runs away and tries to find help. Unfortunately for her she lands up cornered in the basement and, while trying to escape, she trips and knocks her head on the table, killing her. Not wanting to go to jail the alpha jock takes her body and hides it in a trunk, where it has stayed ever since.
Flash forward to 2005 and history’s busy repeating itself, just this time it has the use of modern technology. Samantha works for the school newspaper and recently published an article debating whether footballers should be given good grades simply because they know how to run around a field and throw a ball to one another. The article is accompanied by a very unflattering photograph of three jocks in particular. When homecoming rolls round Sam and her two friends decide that they don’t want to go and instead stage a slumber party. The boys, upset at how their vast levels of intelligence have been insulted by Sam’s article, rock up in the middle of the night, give the girls some chloroform and stick them in a room in the old abandoned paper mill. Unlike the events of the summer of ’69, however, all of the girls make it out alive and, the scare aside, seem none the worse for wear and continue on with their lives. This is when things start to get a little bit strange.
Having shouted out the words ‘Bloody Mary’ three times during the slumber party (although not into a mirror or anything even mildly reflective) Sam and her friends have somehow managed to invoke the spirit of Mary Banner, and she’s pissed. Seeing this turn of events and Sam’s similar situation Mary decides that now is the time to take her revenge and kill those people involved in Sam’s kidnapping. It starts off with a simple homage to Aerobicide where one of the jocks is fried to a crisp in a sun tanning bed but gradually the attacks become more sinister and Mary’s ghost becomes angrier and angrier. What Sam and her twin brother David need to find out is why Mary has come back and why she has chosen this as her method of seeking revenge. With the help of Grace they will seek to uncover the truth about what happened all those years ago, but they will not seek to find out how Grace, a heavy stoner who hasn’t been outside her house in years, manages to get groceries and daily copies of the newspaper.
Some final thoughts on the matter. Like I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer this isn’t a terrible movie and, had it been released as a stand-alone film, would probably have been reasonably entertaining. It suffers from the fact that it tries to force the urban legend angle where it really doesn’t fit into the plot. The reference to Bloody Mary herself is only used so that the movie can in some way try to fit in with its predecessors and the murders using urban legends is in no way justified or explained. The use of newspaper clippings referring to the second Urban Legends movie, as well as a few recycled scenes, also fail to make this in any way a part of a continuous narrative. Whoever’s idea this was should hang their head in shame (just a little bit) for trying to sell a ghost story by piggy backing on two slasher films and hoping that nobody would notice. Because we did.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- To spike a hippie chick’s drink you need A LOT of rohypnol.
- Girls who assert their independence and opinions are doomed to a lonely, single life.
- Pillow fights are a great way for friends to sort out their issues.
- Some people just don’t see the funny side of being drugged and locked in a room.
- Alpha jocks can convince lesser jocks to do anything.
- Anyone who uses dial-up internet is high on crack.
- Ghosts always start out with a plan but God help you they devise a new one later on.
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