Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to Make a Monster


Starring: Clea DuVall, Steven Culp, Jason Marsden, Tyler Mane, Karim Prince

Rated R for Violence/Gore, Language and Nudity

"How to Make a Monster" boasts a clever, if not terribly original, concept: a video game character enters the real world and starts killing people.  This sort of thing has been done before, many times in fact, but the coat of paint is different.  Done well, this could have been a lot of fun.  Alas, it's an utter waste of time.

A video game company is in a tough spot: their latest game, called "Eviloution," has been met with ridicule by its target audience.  Desperate to turn the game around, the company hires a ragtag group of "genius" (a term I use with thick sarcasm) developers to revamp it.  While they initially balk at the timeframe, they change their minds when a million dollar check is dangled in front of them.  They decide to use an AI to choreograph the character via a special suit.  Which one, the hero or the villain, is anyone's guess.  I didn't know, and I'm not sure the movie does either.  Of course, an electrical storm fries everything, and soon the suit comes alive and uses people's body parts to look like the character that it thinks it is.

This movie is the pits.  There's no better way to put it.  It looks like it was filmed for the price of a used computer, the acting is some of the worst I've ever seen, the dialogue is banal, and every single character is an annoying moron.  It's not as bad as "Child 44," but that's probably because I watched it from the comfort of my living room.  Had I driven to the local multiplex and spent money, I would have been less kind.

When it comes to horror movie characters, persons of any interest, much less sympathy, are rare.  Here, they're all morons and they're all extremely irritating.  With bad movies like "The Lazarus Project," it takes a while for them to aggravate me to the point where I'm actively wishing for them to die horrible bloody deaths.  Here, it takes about two minutes.  They're that annoying.  I mean, what does it say about a cast's thespian abilities when the best performance is given by the whiny Clea DuVall?  Granted, she's decent here, but that may be because she's on-screen with the likes of Tyler Mane (as the obligatory snarling macho meathead) and the arrogant, token minority Karim Prince.  Jason Marsden is a talented and highly respected voice actor (see "Spirited Away," or virtually any direct-to-video Disney animated movie), but he's out of his element in a live action role.  As the obligatory uber-nerd with a bad skin condition, Bug is so unpleasant that I wanted him to go away lest I catch whatever disease he has.  And as their boss, Steven Culp is just bland.  Skin flick queen Julie Strain shows up to show her gifts, but looks old and tired.  And her acting doesn't impress either.

The film was written and directed by George Huang, who made "Swimming with Sharks" in 1994, which was based on his experiences working with mega producer Joel Silver.  That got good reviews, but I haven't seen it.  He also filmed Elijah Wood's audition tape for "The Lord of the Rings."  He must have some talent, since the former achieved theatrical distribution and the latter netted Wood the lead role in one of the biggest (and best) franchises in film history.  Evidently, he forgot how to write and direct for this piece of crap.

There's really no reason to subject yourself to this movie.  The plot has been done before in other, better movies.  The characters are horribly acted and incredibly obnoxious.  The script is just awful.  The special effects are kind of cool, but like everything else, it was done to better effect in another movie ("Virus," for those of you who are interested).

Just stay away from this one!

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