Farley Wilder hasn’t had a great life. His mom supposedly died in a car accident when he was young, and after that his father became like a Hitler in their household, trying to control every bit of Farley’s life and punishing him if he didn’t conform by making him dig a deep hole and then making him fill it back in. This went on for years, and Farley basically became one of the neighborhood characters, known as a creepy but generally harmless peeping tom who couldn’t get or hold a job, and didn’t really want to. He wanted to go to college, but his father wouldn’t let him, instead insisting that he get a regular job.
The town actually has a variety of interesting characters including a guy who thinks he’s a ninja, a girl who thinks she’s a witch, a hobo who everyone thinks is seeing imaginary monsters in the woods and a girl who’s writing a book about them all who befriends Farley. Her and Farley hang out together and go and spy on people together, but they never actually become a couple even though she’s the closest thing Farley’s ever had to a girlfriend and he definitely has feelings for her.
Going into the plot more would just be too involved because of where it goes and what happens and all the different people in the film that I’d have to mention. What I’d like to move on to now is the review in general.
I have to applaud the motivations behind this film, if not the film itself. The film makers went out of their way to produce the film so that it had the look and feel of the 70’s and early 80’s regional horror films, right down to buying an old film camera to duplicate the look of those films. But did they make a film that lives up to what they wanted it to be? Unfortunately, no.
This movie has several very serious problems that kept it from living up to the old horror films that it tried to emulate. I’ll run through them one by one here, and hopefully producer Matt Farley and director Charles Roxburgh will take these criticisms to heart and give it another go. There is potential here, but I think another attempt with a different film is in order.
The first, and one of the biggest problems with this film is that it’s billed as a horror film, yet nothing even remotely horror related happens until 56 minutes into the film. How do I know it was 56 minutes? Because after about the first twenty minutes I was starting to wonder why nothing was happening. After thirty minutes I was really wondering, and after forty…well you get the idea. So when something finally did happen, I felt the need to look at how long it had actually taken. 56 minutes. In an 83 minute movie, waiting 56 minutes for anything horror related to happen is a big mistake and leaves the viewer feeling like the whole thing is just a big waste of time.
The second major problem is related to the first. Basically, Farley’s girl is killed by these forest creatures called Trogs, which looked like some kind of humanoid moss monsters. What the hell??? I thought this was going to be some sort of a slasher flick, and then suddenly there’s this 90 degree blinding turn into some kind of a goofy monster flick. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the end of the film involves Farley being hooked up with the ninja guy and the local witch in some kind of a goofy strike force to go kill these monsters. The witch is worthless and ends up dead. The ninja doesn’t do squat, and Farley ends up doing all the work and tearing them apart with his bare hands. The problem with this whole thing is that it’s so, just…wrong. It’s so unrelated to anything that came before, and unlike the first hour of the film that it feels like that section of the film should have been like a separate short or something.
The third major problem is the acting. There’s bad acting that’s fun, and bad acting that’s bad. The acting in this film was just bad, mostly because of utterly horrible line delivery. The physical part of the acting was ok, but the line delivery ranged from bad to pathetic. The dialogue in the film was dubbed in post, which may have something to do with the unnaturalness of it, but hell, at least we can hear it all because of that. So I guess it’s kind of a double edged sword there.
The fourth and last problem I’ll mention is the general slowness of the film. There were parts of this film that felt like they were just dragging, either because of the line delivery or the lack of action or whatever. The lack of any real action or horror until 56 minutes into the film is a prime example of that.
While I can’t say this was a horrible film, I can say it was a boring film, bordering on tedious at times. As I said, I do applaud the film makers for what they wanted to do. I just think they need to do some re-tooling, start with a whole new script and really study the movies they want to pay homage to before they start a new project.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/freakyfarleymovie.