Monday, November 5, 2012
The Cinema File #17: "Recreator" Review
Ah, straight to DVD horror movies. I just can't quit you.
After the somewhat overrated but still generally enjoyable Safety Not Guaranteed, I really needed to cleanse my pallet with some low budget monstery goodness. Enter Recreator, the tale of three teens in a cabin in the woods (because like every group of teenagers in horror movies, they have never seen any horror movies), who stumble across a long dead experiment given new life by a freak lightening storm, summoning a cadre of evil naked clones. I had no expectations for this movie whatsoever, that is until I saw John DeLancie was in it and knew at least his part would be awesome. Coming away from it, I think I have to say that overall, I'm provisionally satisfied with the results.
The first thing I have to mention, because I'm me and I'm gross, is the method of cloning. I could go on for a whole paragraph, being coy about it and trying to tease it out with double entendres, but fuck it, it's shit. I don't mean it's bad, I mean the method of cloning human beings in this movie is literally shit. The exit to the secret lab where the clones apparently come into being is the local cesspool, and not only do they spring to life from a font of shit, covered in feces from head to toe, but we find out later in the film that the process requires an injection of DNA via the plumbing. The movie starts with one of the characters unwilling to take a shit in the woods, and it ends with the realization that had they all just been a little more outdoorsy, their long weekend of horror would have never happened. I fucking love this little touch. Call it crass, but when have you seen anything like that before? Okay, yes, technically Monsturd, but come on! I thought it was novel anyway.
This off kilter sensibility and sense of humor pervades the film, but also doesn't overwhelm it or turn it into farce. The moments that are meant to play for laughs are played for laughs, and the moments that are supposed to be suspenseful or eerie do their job as well. The clones of the teenagers show up fairly quickly, at first rescuing their real counterparts from two other clones who had previously replaced the owners of the cabin, and right away the movie establishes a mystery about them. You know they are gonna be evil, but they are so menacingly polite and accommodating that you have to think there's more going on. It's like they're studying their real selves, testing their reactions and competing with them to prove their already assumed superiority, like some personal threshold they feel they have to meet before they can fully justify replacing the original.
The reveal of the exact nature of the experiment is a bit muddled and isn't really important to the plot. Best I can tell, they throw out the idea that the owner of the lab was an A Bomb scientist, so you have to assume it was some sort of project to repopulate in the event of nuclear fallout, abandoned but not disposed of properly. The clones don't even really know why or how they exist, which I liked. It's implied in the scientist's notes that this cycle of competition and replacement is inevitable and a function of human nature, and the rest of the film is a fairly clever set up of human against clone that explores the differences and similarities between them, that in many ways the humans have the same negative impulses as their clones, which are only magnified, not created by them.
As for the downside, the ending is great on a visceral level, but doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. It's a great character moment, but without giving too much away, it places one of the characters in what needs to be permanent danger for the twist to work, but since it is a situation they could easily get out of eventually, it makes no sense why it should be shocking. Also there's this weird moment that would seem to imply the cloning process has spread in the past, but it never comes to anything, and as a result it just makes one of the main characters look like an idiot in retrospect. And there's this weird thing with the clones and their reflections in mirrors that is never quite explained, and I can't quite be sure if its the same reason one of the clones wants to make out with himself, or a whole separate thing. Oh, yeah, one of the clones is apparently so self centered, he wants to fuck his original self, and then kill him. That's not a downside by the way, I actually think that's fucking awesome, I just had no other place to put it.
Overall, Recreator is another straight to DVD horror gem that I have no problem recommending. I'm starting to feel like an ass for shitting all over Hollywood movies and always recommending these DVD releases that the vast majority of people dismiss as automatic garbage. I mentioned before that the standard has to be lower, in this case, the bare minimum, story and character. That's not to say that this movie doesn't look good as well. I'm just saying its amazing how many movies spend all their money on special effects and visuals and forget to tell a good story. This story doesn't have any great effects, and doesn't need them. It has a few more twists and turns than I was expecting, and I think if you give it a chance, you won't regret it.
Or I'm just saying that because I'm the evil clone of myself and want you to watch a bad movie.
Nah, just fucking with you. If you hear me recommend Hirokin, then be worried. Anyway, I gotta go drop off some clone DNA down at the pool, so I'll see you next time on The Cinema File