Monday, February 12, 2018

EFFECTS [1980]

The fictional filmmakers in "EFFECTS" make a film called "DUPED"; and that's what must've happened to everyone giving this film a good rating!!!  The entire first hour (of this hour and 24 minute film) consists of a handful of -- I hesitate to call them actors -- meandering aimlessly about reciting inane, bland dialogue.  Apparently, the script to this film WAS actually written but it sounds improvised (NOT a compliment).  It's the misapprehension usually held by filmmakers who have seen too many Cassavettes films that improv is better than a well-crafted script; it's almost never true.  The unbelievably dopey and boring dialogue is spoken by a cast with absolutely no screen presence inhabiting the roles of non-characters who are less developed than your average 30 seconds TV commercial.  Sitting through scene after scene of the dumbest, dullest and most-unrealistic dialogue I've ever heard is seat-squirmingly embarrassing for all involved.  

I've seen "EFFECTS" described as a "slow burn" film; now, I love slow burn films but this is not one of them.  This is a damp squib floating in a pan of used dishwater.  Another comment about this film is that the characters are
meant to be deliberately unlikable.  This is also not true.  In order to dislike a character, one must at least a mile interest in them; none of the characters evoke even the mildest interest on the viewer's part and, even when a character does something which is supposed to be unlikable, they have registered on the viewer's consciousness so little as to only evoke a suppressed yawn.

The greatest sin a movie can commit is to be dull and "EFFECTS" is a film which is mind-numbingly dull for the entire first HOUR of it's short running time.  There is a difference between slow-moving deliberation and a film devoid of all interest.  "EFFECTS" is in the latter category. 
When something finally does happen after the one hour mark, the viewer is long past caring.  The interesting premise of the "twist" in the final reel has been so ineptly set-up that the supposedly anticipated shock effect just isn't there.  For a movie called "EFFECTS" with Tom Savini hanging around, the film has zero effects; except for one where the fictional filmmakers demonstrate a prop razor effect on a prop leg sitting on a table.  And after all is said and done, the final event of the film is just downright silly -- not shocking or disturbing in any way.  I actually laughed out loud (NOT a compliment); my laugh was only a  disdainful scoff at a pretty good film premise so ineptly mishandled.

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