Cinemasochist’s Dungeon of Horrors: 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon TattooBy Justin Oberholtzer
Posted on February 18, 2013
Craig Moss thinks he’s pretty clever with that long movie title. He knows it’ll catch a person’s eye and possibly convince them to give the film a shot. He also probably is fond of the idea of film critics having to write the title out every time they want to refer to it. To trump him and save myself the time, I’m going to refer to it as “Shitty Horror Spoof” from here on out. Also, when I reference his previous spoof, “The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It”, I’ll call it by it’s new name of “Shitty Comedy Spoof”. As for his Twilight spoof, “Breaking Wind”, I won’t refer to it as I’ve not seen it (thankfully).
Moss seemingly graduated from the Friedberg & Seltzer School of Parody, as all of the elements of their films are present in “Shitty Horror Spoof”. Dozens of pop culture references that’ll be outdated within a few years? Check! Random movie references that don’t fit into the story whatsoever? Check! Unfunny gags that pile onto one another until the viewer is choking? Check! Fart jokes? You bet your ass (no pun intended)!
It’s a shame that I have to refer to Craig Moss as a Friedberg & Seltzer reject, as he did direct the Danny Trejo film, “Bad Ass”, which I enjoyed. While that wasn’t the beacon of cinematic quality, it was an entertaining B-grade action flick and he handled it well. He has promise in that field, but not in the comedy genre. Not only does he direct this garbage, he also wrote it.
Moss wastes no time in making a slapdash of pop culture references, starting with a take on the “Storage Wars” reality show. Two women buy a storage locker and find a tape inside simply titled “Found Footage”. They also find Adele singing a song and stuffing her face with popcorn because she’s fat (yes, they actually made that lame and tasteless joke). They pop it into a television stored in the locker (where it’s plugged into I don’t know) and begin to watch the shoddy “Paranormal Activity” spoof.
Before I continue lambasting the film, I do want to take a break and slightly commend Moss. There are times where he solely focuses his attention on spoofing “Paranormal Activity” and poking fun at the found footage genre. This usually doesn’t last long, as he’ll throw in a random reference that doesn’t work in context (more on that later). During these scenes is also when the film’s few laughs surface. The first prank the ghost plays on the family is by drawing on the father (Flip Schultz) with a sharpie. Juvenile, but funny as it pokes fun at the idea of how ghostly hauntings are sometimes handled in horror.
Now that I’m done with the slight praise, back to the negativity! As I mentioned, any time Moss develops the story and actually pokes fun at the genre, he throws in a random reference for no reason. Once scene has the daughter, Liz Galen (Olivia Alexander), who is a teenage rebel version of Lizbeth Salander from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, engaging in a threesome with Alice from “Resident Evil” and an unnamed woman (maybe another RE character) for no apparent reason. It’s supposed to be a spoof of the “Resident Evil” films because it involves Alice, but that’s only a reference. That’s not poking fun at any clichés of the genre. I thought Moss was going to develop the father working for the Umbrella Corporation, but that turned into a Donald Trump impersonation who actually owns an umbrella corporation and shits his pants. Yeah…
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” gets a shout out as well, with Abe being the neighbor of the Galens. He starts a love affair with Liz, which ends with him being raped by the ghost of Felipe (Arturo del Puerto), the family’s recently deceased walking stereotype manny. Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises” makes an appearance as one of the ghosts and the obvious joke of him being incomprehensible being made. He is played by professional wrestler Christopher Daniels, so I at least marked for that. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the out of nowhere spoof on “Project X”. The baby ends up throwing a crazy party while his sister gets locked out of the house. The end result is him sleeping with two women and a wine cooler acting as his pacifier. Ugh!
Even “The Artist” gets mocked in this film. It turns out that the mother, Dana (Kathryn Fiore), had a crazy father (French Stewart) who got possessed (there’s your “The Devil Inside” spoof) and killed the entire cast of “The Artist” in his basement while being exorcised on. Considering the murders happened many years before the film was even made isn’t an issue, but whatever. It exists solely to make the comment that “The Artist” sucked because it didn’t need to be a silent movie. You know, despite the fact that it was the whole point of the film (what with a silent film star having to transition into the talkies). And before anybody says, “The point being made was that it was a marketing gimmick”, how do you explain this movie?
I can explain the movie very easily for you; it’s a terrible spoof that doesn’t understand what a spoof is! A spoof (or parody, whichever you like) is meant to poke fun at the clichés of a certain genre. It’s okay to stray from time to time and make references to other popular films, but they have to make sense with the plot. Take for example “Airplane!”. There’s a scene where the main couple reflects on how they met which is a spoof on “Saturday Night Fever”. While that film had nothing to do with the genre being made fun of (airplane disaster films), it worked as it fit into the context of their relationship. That and it was funny!
That’s the biggest crime with “Shitty Horror Spoof”! It’s not that funny! I occasionally chuckled at a few minor jokes (such as Aaron being worried about the pool skimmer not being in the pool, as opposed to worrying about Felipe, who was strangled by it), but they don’t hold any weight. The ratio of hits and misses is terrible! For every decent joke, there’s a dozen more terrible ones to follow. Sometimes it’s a lot more than that until we get to another decent one. When you’re making a comedy, it has to be funny. I understand humor is subjective, but this is just weak! Not to mention highly repetitive, as most of these jokes have been made before.
Final Rating: D+