STUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: Martin Kemp | CAST: Jane March, Colin Salmon, Anna Brecon, Danny Young, Billy Murray
DVD RELEASE DATE: 10/15/2013 | PRICE: DVD $24.98
SPECS: NR | 77 min. | Horror thriller | 1.77:1 widescreen | stereo
Umm… er… yeah. The first feature from musician-turned-actor-turned-writer/director Martin Kemp, Stalker (not to be confused with the brilliant Tarkovsky film of the same name- don’t worry, it won’t be) is a low-budget, British remake of 1976’s House on Straw Hill. The plot is ridiculous, the scenes predictable, the “horror” factor laughable. But then, what else would you expect?
If you have a predisposition for the horror genre, then you probably won’t mind the all-too-familiar-plot: up-and-coming writer Paula Martin (Anna Brecon) has scored a hit with her debut novel, but success then led to a nervous breakdown and a severe case of writer’s block. Naturally, her agent sends her off to the countryside, where she can relax and rediscover her muse within the confines of a super-creepy old Victorian-era house… of course. With the unexplained (and unquestioned) arrival of a new assistant, Linda (Jane March), things get a little crazy, especially when we find out she’s a crazed psychopath with no qualms about killing everyone who gets in the way of her work. Which is everyone, including our heroine. Blood ensues.
The film is too silly to get sucked into in a serious way, yet not ridiculous enough to enjoy ironically. It’s not “so bad it’s good”- it’s just kinda dumb. Paula keeps seeing AC/DC’s Angus Young stare at her every time she looks out the window (at least, I think it’s him), a classic horror device with the inadvertent result of making you laugh when you’re supposed to be getting chills. Oh, and there’s this sleazy journalist that finds his way to the reclusive author, only to have his neck sliced. I don’t think I’m causing any great disservice to our culture by revealing the secret ending: Paula and Linda are actually the same person, the result of Paula’s traumatized-as-a-schoolgirl psyche. Oh, right- there’s a backstory and a psychiatrist pal in there, as well. Guess what happens to him.
There are a lot of horror fans whose approach to the genre is much like porn: they’re in it for one obvious reason, and they’re not going to let details like story structure and character development get in the way of their objective. For them, this movie might do the trick, though the gore is minimal and unimaginative, so if that’s your poison, you will be disappointed. On a positive note, the acting is surprisingly good throughout, so one can only hope this film is a pit stop in some future star’s illustrious career… but other than that, I’m not sure who would want to watch this. No gratuitous sex, not a ton of gore, and a dumb story to boot.
Buy or Rent Stalker