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Movies Eddie McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Red Mist
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RED MIST aka FREAK DOG - 2008
Dreamworks
Ratings: USA: N/A

A silent guy works in a morgue. He looks at the dead bodies and cuts himself. While he cuts himself, he remembers being a kid and watching through a keyhole as his prostitute mother was murdered by her John. She died looking at the door, knowing her son was on the other side. She didn't call out for help, because her child might run out and try to help her.

Yeah, when you see your prostitute Mom silently stare at you, protecting you with her silence as she is murdered, well, you ain't going to Disney World after that.

Now we see a mess o' medical students having a good time. Medical school is hard but, still in the mindset of high school, life is good. It would be better if that creepy morgue attendant, Kenneth (Andrew Lee Potts: THE BUNKER, STRANGE [TV], 1408, RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, PRIMEVAL [TV]) didn't keep hanging around the girls in the group, especially the way he seems to be sweet on Catherine (Arielle Kebbel: REEKER, THE GRUDGE 2, THE UNINVITED). Ew! So gross! But Catherine thinks he's harmless.

Later that night the group of friends are hanging out at their local bar where one of them plays DJ and another works as a waiter/bartender. Creepy Kenneth shows up and, in stutters, asks if he can walk Catherine home. She politely turns him down, but her friends verbally abuse him. Harriet (Katie McGrath) the Goth girl of the group, calls Kenneth a Freakdog. This would seem like a compliment coming from a Goth Girl and the fact that she considers herself and her friends, "Rejects". As he walks away the dysfunctional social misfit Kenneth is hit with one parting shot by the functional social misfit Sean (Martin Compston: DOOMSDAY) as he calls Kenneth a loser.

Kenneth is clearly a loser, but Kenneth also has a cell phone. And Kenneth likes to record videos with his cell phone. He has a video of Sean stealing drugs from the hospital dispensary. Kenneth walks out the door in bitter triumph. Wigged out, Sean begs Catherine to bring Kenneth back to their table. Catherine does and before you know it, Sean and the others have him drunk, doped, and possibly dying.

Sean, who secretly mixed illegal drugs into Kenneth's drink, begs his friends not to turn him in and ruin his life. Then on top of that, he let's them know that if anyone does turn him in, he'll say that they were all in on it. Alarmed and confused, his friends don't know what to think, and Sean delivers the coup de gras: he blackmails them into following him or he'll ruin their burgeoning medical careers forever.

They pack Kenneth up in their car and drop him off in the parking lot in front of the Emergency room.

Personally, I would have called an ambulance for Kenneth and kicked Sean to the curb.

Next thing everyone knows, Kenneth is in a coma.

On the day after the barroom shenanigans with Kenneth, the rest of the friends just want to move on and act like nothing happened. They even want to hang out with Sean. Except for Catherine. She's having misgivings and Sean and her friends bully her into keeping her mouth shut.

Disgusted with herself, Catherine decides to use an experimental drug cocktail to bring Kenneth out of his coma, but he has a brain-wave spasm and nearly dies. Little does Catherine know that she has turned Kenneth into Patrick and he can now mentally take over other people's bodies to wreak his revenge on her friends.

Oddly though, instead of actually taking over the body of one of Catherine's friends and making them kill themselves, Patrick* Kenneth takes over the body of an innocent third party and makes them the murderer. This starts falling apart because, when Kenneth feels like it, he takes over the body of one of the group to kill another friend and at other times he takes over the body of a total innocent. In short, while it makes sense that Kenneth would try and kill the people who tried to kill him (hey, who wouldn't?), it makes no sense that Kenneth, who can clearly control the bodies of the people who did him in, would hurt innocent people. He's seen bad people kill innocent people like his Mom. He's felt bad people attempt to kill him.

As RED MIST crumbles, Director Paddy Breathnach (SHROOMS) puts us through scenes lifted from THE RING, DARK WATER, and WHITE NOISE. If only these effects had been used in some kind of context, they might have worked. But they are thrown in there as if begging the audience to play trivial pursuit to wile away the slow parts of the movie.

Writer Spence Wright has no doubt seen a number of Horror Thriller revenge flicks, but the thing is, while Michael of FRIDAY THE 13th was the victim of homicidal negligence (inadvertent manslaughter), he is evil for killing innocent people who never hurt him. Freddy was evil from the start and raped and murdered children. Even in movies like I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, the killing was a mistake. The friends were wrong for covering it up, but they didn't intentionally kill someone or even leave them for dead when they could have been saved. The group of friends have value to greater and lesser degrees and the audience can find at least one sympathetic person out of the bunch that they want to see live.

But in FREAKDOG aka RED MIST, the whole group are a bunch of self-important scumbags who think their lifestyle and careers are more important than anyone else's life.

They have no value!

Sure, Catherine feels bad AFTER the fact. AFTER they dump Kenneth's body in front of the hospital. AFTER she thinks he's dead. AFTER its too late. But when it counted, she and her friends thought more of their bar-hopping and potential careers than they thought of innocent person's life whose only crime was that he didn't suit them.

Like Kenneth, we want to see them all die, horribly. And the fact that Kenneth uses innocent people to carry out his murders only makes us dislike him too, leaving no one in the movie that we care about. Which means that its a movie that we don't care about.

And not even the presumptive heroine, Catherine, does anything to change our minds about that.

Two Shriek Girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2009 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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*
Why do I call him Patrick? Because the "Young Man in a Coma and using Psychic Powers to Kill People" was first popularized in the Aussie movie, PATRICK (1978).

Check out this imdb.com link for more info.

 

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