24 March 2008 | gavin6942
William Butler Does Not a Great Director Make
Inmates at the local prison are dying horribly. The local police detective is drawn in to the case after one of the security guards dies (shoots himself) upon going home. Can he, with the help of the prison psychologist, find out what is causing these nasty deaths? And what is in the furnace? I was a bit excited to receive this film. Tom Sizemore? Disposable but fun. Danny Trejo? I'll take him (even though his role here is small and forgettable). I was even more interested because of the involvement of director William Butler, whom I had previously interviewed. To put it lightly, we didn't get along as well as I would have liked. And I really wanted to like his film... but it's not good. I can sum it up in one word: bland. It's the visual equivalent of munching on cardboard. It's slow, the characters are uninteresting and Michael Pare is such a boring lead that I couldn't care about him (and cared even less when he gave his clichéd speech about his lost family).
The film also suffers from a serious woman problem. Let's be frank: when you set a film up with some gorgeous women, throw in a sex scene and label the movie "unrated", people expect to see some skin. Don't get your hopes up. The sex scene has a strategically-placed candle, so you get nothing. And then, one is left to wonder if the main character is blind: he keeps blowing off the smoking hot redhead CSI woman who is interested in him and instead pursues the mediocre psychologist. I speak for every red-blooded male: more screen time for hot women, less screen time for average women. Thank you.
There's a "bad twist" later on. Actually, I don't know if it's a twist or not, but we're given information we should already have known. So, it's either a bad twist or they are insulting our memories and intelligence. As well as our patience, since I suspect many people didn't make it to the end.
The best part of this movie was the special effect used to show the "ghosts". Now, I don't really understand what the deal is with the ghosts... they seem to be unlimited in their travel ability rather than attached to the prison. But nevermind that. The visuals were really cool. They could have been the same old CGI that every other movie uses and frustrates me, but it was something new: a black and white "television static" effect. It was legitimately creepy. So, effects department, my hat's off to you.
This film is avoidable. It's slow, not well-acted (aside from Ja Rule, surprisingly) and adds nothing new to the history of horror. Perhaps with a second viewing I could appreciate it better, but it seems that they took a weak story and stretched it out into a weaker film. You're better off renting just about anything else.