Thursday, March 20, 2014

DVD Review: Tom Holland's TWISTED TALES (2013) [Image Entertainment]

Tom Holland's Twisted Tales (2013)

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The Movie

Oh, anthology films... I have a love-hate relationship with you. Sometimes, you make me very happy (TALES FROM THE HOOD), but sometimes you just piss me off (ABCs OF DEATH). I think it has something to do with both quality and consistency. A great anthology film needs high marks in both areas; any unevenness throws the whole venture off-course. As much as I love Tom Holland, his short film compilation, TWISTED TALES, misses the mark very widely.
The official synopsis from Image/RLJ is as follows:
Horror Legend Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Fright Night, Psycho II, HBO’s Tales from the Crypt) dares you to join him for nine nerve-shredding, totally Twisted Tales. Serving up a mind-bending assortment of the macabre, it’s an anthology of darkness and dread fine-tuned to keep you on the edge of your seat. A new drug offers users a glimpse of the future… with beastly consequences. A murderous husband is stalked by his own cell phone. A jilted lover wreaks satanic vengeance. The nightmarish action then leads to worlds haunted by dark magic, demonic possession, vampires, witches and more in this seriously freaky festival of fear.
While I could go into dissecting each short within the movie, I honestly don't think that would help lend TWISTED TALES any more credence because pretty much every segment here is lackluster. There wasn't a single story in the film that kept my attention, and with a running time of almost two-and-a-half hours, that's a major issue.

The other big issue at hand is that pretty much all of the performances in film range from sub-par to flat out bad. There are a lot of names that are very recognizable to genre fans here: Danielle Harris, A.J. Bowen, Ray Wise, William Forsythe, etc, and while they usually entertain in their roles, I don't think a single one of them has a memorable turn in TWISTED TALES. I don't blame the actors, though. I just really think that they were hampered by the material they had to work with.

Honestly, the biggest issue is that TWISTED TALES wasn't meant to be an anthology feature. It was a web series that Holland created for FearNet that was later compiled into one giant feature. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn't feel like a coherent feature. Instead, things jump drastically all over the place, with no real connective tissue or bookends; just quick, dull, intros to each segment by Holland, who really isn't much of a horror host. John Carpenter Presents BODY BAGS was kind of the same scenario, but at least Carpenter's "host" character was goofy and ridiculous enough to make us laugh. Holland's appearances just seem odd, and in one short (VAMPIRE CLUB), he's even distracting.

I'm not usually one to just lay on the negativity, but I really found almost nothing to like about TWISTED TALES. I constantly found myself wanting to get up from my couch and go do other things. Hell, there were a few times I even considered turning it off, and I never "walk out" on a movie; regardless of how much I dislike it. 

The real kicker here that almost made me do it was an oddity of a "segment" that was actually told in several shorts. It was called PIZZA GUY, and honestly, it was just about long enough that it could have been it's own feature. Unfortunately, I think it's also the worst segment of the bunch.

This was tough for me because, on one hand, I love a lot of Tom Holland's previous work. CHILD'S PLAY and FRIGHT NIGHT are two of my favorite horror films and have been go-to watches for me since I was a kid. I also think it's great that FearNet is trying to branch out and give us new, original horror content (their sitcom, HOLLISTON, with Adam Green and Joe Lynch is much more entertaining, for what that's worth). However, TWISTED TALES is just not good, and it's not something that I ever can see myself sitting through again. As such, I can't recommend it, which is sad because I really was hoping I'd like it.

Maybe there is an audience out there that will embrace the collection, but I am certainly not part of it. 

Movie Score


Special Features:

  • "Making Of" Featurettes For Selected Segments

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