I've said before that I'm not the biggest fan of the Slasher genre. Sure there are some exceptions but for the most part I feel that Slashers all too often fall victim to the overarching problem of boredom. The kills are the high point yes, but what comes in between those kills is usually some of the most boring minutes of my life. There's a lot of waiting around, a lot of quietness while we wait for the killer to make his move. There's also a lot of the plot that turns meaningless and starts to taste like filler. They may just be entirely too formulaic for me to handle. Slasher's aren't my cup of tea I guess and ever since I stopped watching crappy Slasher movies with the company of my friends in Middle School, I've come to realize that we just weren't made for each other.
When I saw that The Prowler was released on Instant Watch this morning, I remembered hearing some good things about it. After having watched it I can tell that those good things must have been in reference to Tom Savini's effects and the dangers of night swimming in your underwear. In fact Savini considers the film to be his best work, which makes me wonder if he amended that statement after the release of Day of the Dead. The effects are pretty amazing for a mediocre grade Slasher film--especially the double pitchfork death
and that sword (saber?) through the head during the shower scene.
Really, really great stuff and like I said, easily the highlight of the film.
But what about the rest of it? Well plot wise, it's pretty basic. War veteran receives a Dear John letter from his sweetheart Rosemary, and upon his return kills both Rosemary and her new boyfriend at the Graduation Dance. Flash forward to the present when the first Graduation Dance since the murders in 1945 is happening. Don't worry, the Prowler is back and killing off those dance happy kids but who the hell is he?
I have to admit something that I hope I'm not alone in. I was confused for at least an hour after the film's conclusion about the opening scene in the movie. I really had no idea that that girl was Rosemary. He kept calling her something else, how was I suppose to know her real name was not Rosemary? And apparently the Kingsley guy is the other guy from the beginning, but once again I had to rewind all the way to the beginning to figure this out. This means either that I'm stupid (which is very possible) or that things just weren't explained well enough. Obviously if the letter we get at the beginning is from Rosemary, I was going to expect a Rosemary in the opening. It also wouldn't make sense if some random girl was killed in the beginning and not Rosemary so I understand why admitting my confusion is stupid. Still, what the hell? Questions don't just stop there. Who is the guy in the wheelchair? Rosemary's father? Why was she in the chimney? Did the Dad put her in the chimney? I'm so confused and I realize one of you much smarter people is going to write a page long explanation of the entire movie and make me feel stupid. Whatever, bring it on. The fact is, things were confusing and in the name of Slasher movies everywhere I demand some clarity.
If you put aside the fantastic kills in this movie, what else are we getting excited about? The suspense? You should all know by now that I'm afraid of almost everything, and when things start getting suspenseful, I usually avert my eyes and pretend to focus on something else. This never happened during the entire viewing of The Prowler. After the 10th time that the Mark made Pam jump after searching something, I started to realize that the suspense was pretty minimal. Sure I appreciated the Prowler for his ability to blend in with the bushes and always randomly appear behind someone but I wasn't having a mental breakdown like I did when Michael Myers' ghostly face starts eerily coming into focus behind people (like it did in Halloween 2).
There was simply just too much down time between kills. Making Mark take a good 20 minutes to open a casket does not create suspense--it creates a gigantic yawn and a Facebook newsfeed check. There seemed to be far too much lolly gagging going on and I wasn't happy about it. The same can be said for when we are forced to watch the guy at the cabin place do nothing. I really have never wanted to kill myself more than at that moment.
I will say that there's an interesting parallel drawn between what one suffers during war and what one suffers as a final girl. Trauma, distress, seeing your friends killed--it's all very interesting, but it just wasn't drawn out well enough for my liking. The film's final moment seemed to exist solely to drive that point home yet I found that it was as my good friend Jo-Jo would say, too little too late.
Also, those two should have been much more prunier... Oh, and since when did a pitchfork become such an integral part of a WWII soldiers get up? I mean I love the pitchfork but what is it doing there?
I guess I expected too much or maybe my general antipathy for Slashers prevented me from giving it a chance. I did quite enjoy the beginning however and suddenly wished we had more period Slasher's. All seemed promising with our buxom costars and shower scenes, but what was in between was far too dry and uninteresting. Overall I'd say it's worth a watch to get a load of the extremely eye catching effects and red paint style blood but keep some windows open for Internet surfing during the downtime between kills. I think I will have to remain a rooter for My Bloody Valentine which I feel is much more well rounded. Oh well The Prowler, maybe you'll get em in a remake.