AMERICAN NIGHTMARE

1 Stars
Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 91 minutes
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Is Wolfman Jack still alive? If he is, then the filmmakers should’ve gotten that guy to play the part of the sinister radio DJ who hosts an all night radio show on Halloween in this sorry excuse for a soul-shredding slasher film. Yes sir, the Wolfman would’ve made this snoozer at least a little entertaining.
Boozing it up in the woods on Halloween night, four college students encounter a psycho bitch from hell, played by Debbie Rochon, who snuffs them out one by one. Then we travel exactly one year into the future where a one night only radio show called “American Nightmare” is taking place to commemorate the murders that occurred in the year prior. The show’s DJ asks that his listeners call in with confessions of their worst fears.
Sitting around in a coffeehouse, a group of pop-culture savvy friends play a little game of “guess the movie line.” Groaning yet? One person in the group is the sister of one of the college students that got killed the year before. The game grinds to a stop when the radio show comes on and the friends all decide to place a call to the station to relay their greatest fears over the air. It seems like harmless fun, but these chuckleheads don’t realize that the college student killer is listening in, taking notes.
So, the friends disband and go on about their Halloween festivities as the killer hunts them down one by one, slaying them with that one special thing they fear the most.
What’s a good slasher film without some gory killings? Gruesome killings have saved many old slasher flicks from becoming boring turds. Well, this film is just that — a boring turd. Not only are the characters irritatingly stupid and the story dull, but the blood level is kept to an absolute minimum. Many of the killings are simply implied. In this case, less isn’t more.
This murderous psycho bitch, who I think we see too much of, pales in comparison to the Jason Voorheeses, Michæl Myers and Freddy Kruegers of yesteryear. Unmasked and actually mingling out in the open with her victims before killing them, she isn’t compelling at all. Other than the fact that she’s a cold-blooded killer, there’s nothing creepy about her — unless you count her freaking out whenever anybody asks why she’s doing what she’s doing creepy. I need some horror in my horror. Is that so wrong?
If things weren’t lame enough, the movie culminates in the filmmakers’ sloppy attempt at pulling off a “Se7en”-type ending — the kind of ending where everyone’s screwed and souls are left burning. The only people that really get burned are the ones that sat through this entire thing to find out that, besides being a nut, the killer has no real motive for meticulously murdering these people. It’s never explained, but I guess that’s the point that the filmmakers were trying to put forth with the spaz attacks the killer has after anyone asks her the question “why?”. Is that the American nightmare in question — the fact that no one really needs a reason to kill and none of us are safe? Boo.
I was surprised to dislike this film as much as I did, as I’ve read some pretty favorable word-of-mouth about “American Nightmare” before receiving my screener copy. Being that this is the case, it’s no doubt that I will receive a good thrashing by a bunch of whiny geeks who have nothing better to do than bitch and moan on internet message boards. These people can’t stand it when someone’s opinion doesn’t jive with theirs. Oh well, let the comedy ensue.



Posted on April 17, 2002 in Reviews by
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