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Saturday, April 16, 2016

THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS (Review)

Yes, The Girl in the Photographs, a new Horror picture from Vertical Entertainment, is clever. It has a novel concept that feels fresh and unseen. For the most part it is shot well and the actors do a fine job of conveying their characters, but there is a flaw. This flaw kept me from enjoying the movie even in the face of novelty and ingenuity. It’s too smart for its own good, and the brave concept creates unlikable characters. As I always say, when the characters are unlikable, you better hope the director took time to create a fun baddie to come and wipe them off this mortal coil. If not that, if the villain is equally blah, then the special effects team better have created some beautiful gore for me to cut my teeth on. The Girl in the Photographs has everything except the central attachment point for any good film or story, and so it fails for me.

What does it have going for it? It’s actually quite funny at times. In all its meta, highbrow attempt to create something artistic and clever it creates a filmmaker who is without scruples and moral fiber. He is the quintessential visionary who would roll over his own mother to create art. He is intentionally unlovable and that does create a bit of humor almost as a parody. It doesn’t save the movie for me, but at least it gave me a few chuckles as we wait for this bastard to get his comeuppance. There are some darker moments that are ordinary, modern maniac killer fair, and the goal of the picture isn’t to go for the gross out or focus in on gratuitous violence.

As I said before the movie is shot well and the story of a filmmaker using the muse of a serial killer as his own muse, stealing the fire from a murderer to fuel his own madness is actually clever. You can see the victim line unfolding early on and you know how it will end, but you hope to be surprised. When it fails to surprise, the originality is wasted on a somewhat uninteresting picture that probably sounded really great on a pile of cocktail napkins. Director Nick Simon worked as a writer on the recent Horror picture The Pyramid, but in the director’s seat he’s only had a few efforts prior to the The Girl in the Photographs. It’s a good first effort in that he made a movie that is quite watchable. It just doesn’t pop. This is a thriller for filmmakers but maybe not for viewers who aren’t filmmakers.

It's also worth noting that filmmakers are looking for sexy new masks for their killers. Everyone has a plain blank face mask with subtle variations in either the scary or sexy direction. This trend isn't working for me. It's as if they walked into Party City and went to the $5 mask section and then doctored the blank mask du jour. The days of Don Post and William Shatner rip offs are over and I am a sadder Horror fan for that fact.

The Girl in the Photographs is available on VOD now.

From Vertical Entertainment:

THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS
Distribution Company: Vertical Entertainment
Theatrical and VOD Release Date: April 1, 2015
Directed by: Nick Simon
Written by: Osgood Perkins, Robert Morast, and Nick Simon
Executive Produced by: Wes Craven, Nawaf Alghanim
Produced by: Thomas Mahoney, Andrew Chung

Starring: Kal Penn, Claudia Lee, Kenny Wormald, Toby Hemingway, Luke Baines, Miranda Rae Mayo, Katharine Isabelle, and Mitch Pileggi

Running Time: 95 minutes

Rating: Not yet rated

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Thegirlinthephotographs

Synopsis:

In Nick Simon’s THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS, Colleen’s life isn’t going anywhere. The small town check out girl with natural beauty is bored with her dead end job and annoyed by her apathetic boyfriend. This isn’t the life she wanted. In the midst of her turmoil, a pair of deranged serial killers begin leaving her photos of their mutilated victims.

Her chance to escape comes in the form of Peter Hemmings, a hipster celebrity photographer who has traveled back to his hometown of Spearfish, South Dakota, with a pack of models, intent on copying the killers’ intense and unapologetic artistry. When he learns Colleen is the killers’ muse, Peter resolves to make her his own and use her as the centerpiece of a photo campaign in Los Angeles.

But before Colleen can leave her old life behind, she must contend with the desires of her murderous stalkers who have chosen her last night in town to execute their most provocative work to date.


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