1 April 2018 | VinnieRattolle
Interesting premise, wobbly execution
A group of teenagers are randomly assembled outside of a hotel for a school function when they witness a man inside being attacked by twin thugs and bludgeoned with a candlestick. With no evidence to support their claim of murder, the police think they're pulling a prank - so they're suspended from school(?!!) and they use their newfound free time to follow a trail of clues that lead to a web of intrigue and espionage revolving around the mysterious mad genius inventor Nikola Tesla.
First things first, this ain't your parents "Clue," a 1985 movie which was faithfully (albeit comically) based on the classic board game - which is now owned by Habro, who produced this version. Here the connections to the game feel flimsy and forced, with conveniently-placed weapons and the game's character names representing various secret societies.
The cast of teens and special effects are both surprisingly good, but the shortcomings are all in the scripts. You really have to suspend disbelief to buy that the kids are putting the clues together so quickly, and that each of them is not-so-randomly connected to the conspiracy (which isn't particularly a spoiler since it's never explained - clearly this was all a setup for a weekly series that never happened). Some of the twists were surprising, but the biggest two I could see coming from a mile away, and the climactic payoff was an enormous letdown. And the less said about idiotically cliched villains, the better.
This overwhelmingly reminded me of Fox's consistently-frustrating "Sleepy Hollow" and as I was composing this review, I discovered why: The same writer went on to work on that series. There was true potential if this had been an actual mini-series rather than essentially a feature-length movie, but the pace was too swift and there were too many elements that were hard to digest. Younger, less jaded viewers would probably find plenty to rave about, but as an adult familiar with all of the Hitchcockian tropes that were utilized, it was only a modestly entertaining time-waster. I gave it an additional star for the cast because there really wasn't a weak link in the chain of young actors.