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STUDIO Phase 4 Films
RUNNING TIME 102 Minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• Photo Gallery
It’s graduation weekend, and Sandy Channing, the popular class president of her small-town high school, should be enjoying the time of her life. But when her friends start disappearing, Sandy discovers they have unwittingly awakened the vengeful spirit of a girl they wronged long ago. Fighting for her sanity and her life, Sandy must unlock a dark secret from her own past before it’s too late.
Tyler Oliver (director), Carly Schroeder, Cody Linley and Brie Gabrielle
Another movie based on a childhood saying or board game or superstition. It reeks of amateur talent both in from of and behind the lense, but winds up making something that almost works.
I’m not going to try to sugar coat it. The beginning of this movie is horrible. It’s a horror film that tries to build an ensemble cast into a group of characters that we are meant to care about. This is normally a good thing to do as long as the characters are likable but these ones aren’t. It may have been better to build a core set of characters and use some of the others more as a definition of the core. The movie spends a good 10 minutes of screen time on a side plot that is completely thrown out with the second death. I understand the director wanted to make us care about the characters, but that was the weakest link. It doesn’t give us reason to care, and no matter how good the rest of the film could have been, that is the thing we are left with.
After Sinister was released, much of what most people said they didn’t like was that Ethan Hawke was essentially a dick. I think very few people would argue with that assessment, regardless about the overall opinion of the film. Even though his character was a dick, he was an intriguing dick. In Forget Me Not there is not one, but 6 jerk characters and only two that come off as watchable. Most the time flawed but genuinely good characters are the ones the audience most connects with. We don’t want to watch them suffer and die. But we don’t care about douchebags. That’s where slashers fell off the deep end. We cared less and less about who survived and started caring more about how they died. Forget Me Not wants to be more than a slasher though.
Add to the large cast an attempt to walk the line between R and PG-13. This wasn’t given a theatrical release, but the studio feel was all there. The first half hour strongly reminded me of Wes Craven’s horrible My Soul To Take, a movie so miserably tame to achieve its PG-13 that it is practically a lullaby. The only difference are the characters here were just supposed to have graduated high school. The amount of sexual innuendo thrown around while while defining the relationships is outrageously Lifetime Channel worthy. There are two scenes of people having sex with clothes on, at least 3 scenes of girls taking off the bra only to have horribly staged set piece be in the way of showing any skin. I’m not saying there needed to be nudity, but there did need to be a better way of doing things. If it is a quickie, clothes may be on, but one of the girls acts like she is more comfortable out of clothes, but retains clothing without a psychological attachment to them.
If the picture has not been painted well enough that the first 30 minutes of the film are poorly done, let me continue to beat on it a little more before saying that there is some cool stuff once you make it there. Whoever cast the sheriff should lose their job. This guy looks as if he just graduated high school and is running around with a rented police costume. He is also the father of two of the kids who happened to graduate together because the stereotypical jock got held back a year. The entire cast is also too pretty to be real. It’s another model agency gave their rolodex to a casting director and they chose them solely to fill a needed look. They also had very little versatility. For the things the film did, this is an integral piece of the puzzle that could have made this so much better.
Concept wise, Forget Me Not introduces a cool little riff on the normal execute the pretty kids theme. As the kids get whacked, all but the main character lose all memory of the newly dead character. It took a moment for the concept to sink in, but when it did it makes the characters somewhat dynamic in their definition, while negating a chunk of the first 30 minutes of setup. One of the guys is setup to be a gigolo so when his girlfriend is removed from existence, he doesn’t view his other squeeze as anything being wrong. Better is a road trip where 2 of the kids ride a motorcycle while 3 are in a Jeep racing with them. When they all get to a store one of the kids gets separated and killed and the others state they were only in one car. In a later scene an entire character is removed from their current location to their residence. This was a very interesting concept, and with a more skilled and bigger budgeted production it may have made this something truly special. As characters die, only one person is able to see the effect on reality it has when the entire life has been erased. Personalities that were built through friendships would get redefined, attitudes would change and economical differences would also change as interests dictate expenditure of one’s budget.
This core concept alone may actually be worth a watch. It’s something unique, and with all the pretty cast twenty something horror films that are out there, there is nothing standout enough to warrant a watch and to get to the story at the center. That doesn’t go without saying there are flaws in the logic, particularly with a key person being removed would the others even be friends? It’s a horror film, and if you want to get that technical then you probably would not have put this in to begin with.
The effects are also nicely done. The digital elongated faces mixed with lost frames and practical makeup effects make the ghosts creepy and somewhat similar to ghosts from many J-horror films. Being lower budget, there aren’t a lot of bloody deaths but the ones that are there have effective gore. Nothing over the top, but nothing over the top of the budget.
They included 3 deleted scenes and an alternate ending to allow you to revisit more stuff that was gladly left on the editing room floor. The alternate ending isn’t radically different, but is more worthwhile than the 3 deleted scenes. Also included are a photo gallery and a trailer.
For a DVD priced under $10, you could do worse. It is also available on Netflix streaming. If you can survive the horrendously boring opening act there is a thought provoking horror film in the center.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars