Amusement (2008)

Amusement (2008)

It’s Funny… Right?

Three girls who used to be best friends back in school are kidnapped and put through horrific ordeals at the hands of a psychotic ex-classmate.

 

Amusement was originally scheduled to go to theatres and you can see why it was canned at the last minute. It’s so badly made that it’s hard to explain why anyone ever thought it could be a hit on the big screens, let alone the straight-to-DVD market. I don’t usually like calling films stupid but that’s exactly what Amusement is. Featuring one of the most incomprehensible scripts ever, the film stumbles from scene to scene, desperately trying to link everything together. I was lured by the front cover with the evil clown and by the blurb on the back of the DVD cover which talked about a completely different film to the one on display here.

Amusement is like a ‘best of’ horror compilation featuring many derivative plots and scenes lifted out of far superior films. It’s best described as a series of interlinking vignettes along the lines of Creepshow. Or at least that’s the theory because the script is a complete shambles, the logic is out of the window and the editing seems to have been done by a ten year old. One only needs to look at the writer, Jake Wade Wall, to see that his previous writing credits include the remakes of The Hitcher and When a Stranger Calls and you can see the similarities here. The film shifts suddenly from these vignettes without little explanation and continues to pile us with set-ups that get really confusing. The framing plot isn’t revealed until the last ten minutes so for the majority of the film, you’ll be scratching your head just wondering what the heck is going on and who all of these people are.

The eventual reveal about the reason for the guy to kidnap the trio and put them through hell is ridiculously silly. Give me the “you all spurned my advances when I was a dork, now I’m a psycho” spiel, the “you all played a horrible trick on me back at school and it really messed with my head” angle….anything except this absurdly weak excuse for someone to snap and go psycho. He’s got the inevitable horror villain abilities to be in numerous places at once and be able to construct an elaborate lair of traps and nastiness hiding under a tiny cabin. Quite how he managed to afford such high maintenance real estate isn’t explained either.

The creepy-looking clown from the front cover appears in one of the scenes and it’s arguably the best moment of the film both visually and atmospherically as one the girls sleeps in a room full of clown dolls, including a giant 6ft clown doll. If you’re afraid of clowns, then this will really give you the shivers. However the clown doesn’t stick around for long and once he’s managed to capture his next victim, the costume is consigned to the scrap heap and not seen again in the film. It’s a pity because despite the clown scenes being so stuck in slasher lore, they at least manage to keep you entertained for a few minutes. Ironically it’s the part of the film that is the least original.

Amusement does at least look good with top notch production design throughout. There are some kick ass locations and some decent sets which all give off that horror vibe, it’s just a shame that nothing is done with them except waste them. Finally, at least the cast can at least hold their heads up and say they tried as it’s not their fault Rome is tumbling down around them. Katheryn Winnick is hot. In fact she has to be my future wife. I’ve been a fan of hers since Satan’s Little Helper and not only is she stunning but she’s a good actress.

In fact the three main actresses here all do pretty reasonable given the material that they are given and the fact that their characters all make silly decisions on a regular basis. Their individual scenes all probably made sense when they filmed them, it’s just when everything is brought together with a limp story that they fall flat. None of their characters are fleshed out in the slightest and given the confusing nature of the timeline of the film it’s hard to figure out just where they all fit into the grand scheme of things.

 

The trailer for Amusement makes it look like some kick-ass torture porn-style slasher but it’s nothing of the sort. The psycho is called ‘The Laugh’ but I don’t see anyone laughing after shelling out hard-earned cash to watch this. There’s nothing amusing about this almost highlight reel-like collection of horror.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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