Things

1 out of 5

Directed by: Andrew Jordan

Congratulations: you have hit barrel bottom. I know, I know, you love your schlock cinema, and have done the rounds from early drive-in cash-ins to Troll 2 to modern era camp like The Room; your tolerance is high, and you welcome all outliers of try-and-fail cinema. But you can stop here. You’ve achieved final form; whatever unspecified goal you didn’t know you had has been met. You’ve found your way to Things, and, if you’re pure of heart, you’ve made your way through its 90 minutes.

At the same time, don’t be proud of this. You’ve likely damaged some neural connections in the process, permanently. Argento-styled coloring may now produce PTSD-like symptoms. Half-assed references to Evil Dead might give you a panic attack.

Somewhere in Canada, in 1989: an actual crew of people got together for a “horror” movie and spent (apparently) a few thousand dollars to leave their camera running, canted at odd angles; dedicated a lot of runtime to mopping up various fluids with paper towels, wonderful foley effects crackling out of your speakers; made unsubtle “nods” to the aforementioned Evil Dead, or Last House on the Left, or… Guinea Pig?; they bashed papier-mâché, goop-filled molds of ant creatures (i.e. the titular Things, I think) for about twenty minutes; they watered down their beer; and then they overdubbed the whole project with fart and belch sound effects.

I know you think this sounds great. I, too, thought I was privy to something special, when the opening “dream sequence” of one of the three “leads” has him wandering in his basement, demanding a de-robed lady give him a baby – and I cannot describe how unabashedly un-acted this dialogue delivery is – giving way to the other two “leads” driving up to this same house for some cabin-in-the-woods hang time, which randomly cuts between them finding a Necronomicon, throwing bottle caps at the camera (cool!), admiring paintings, admiring lamps, opening and closing the fridge, opening and closing the cupboard, talking about watching the “bestiality channel” on TV, and then, climactically (no, not at all), one character disappears (i.e. is no longer shown on screen) into a “mouse hole” or possibly the “third, fourth or fifth” dimension.

Yeah, I smiled with a WTF-induced grin, but meanwhile, my brain cells are dying; my body is corroding. At some point, my joy at finding the crappiest of crappy cinema has turned into cosmic terror. My eyes bleed as I check the runtime – I’m only 18 minutes in? Watching this is not a healthy experience. It’s beyond; it is something that can only have been conjured by some ill-meaning entity, or one so confused by humans that it tries its best to mimic our art forms, with Things as the result. It’s not self-aware in its badness, but it’s not earnest in its attempt at being a movie, either.

There are some minimal effects in here, with puppets being stiffly animated to move their jaw or antennae one or two millimeters, and someone loses a hand, which they “melt back” onto his arm, only not at all – they just light a stump on fire. There’s also a woman who has been experimented on to give birth to the ant-things – we’re not shown any of this in action, it just kinda happens – and, during one of the random, unexplained vignettes which I think are meant to be from the weirdo TV channel selections, there’s a torture session where someone gets their eyeball plucked out. The gore there is not convincing, but it is gore, suggesting that the credited special effects / makeup department on the flick actually existed.

Also, every now and then, Amber Lynn shows up as a news reporter, reading cue cards – her eyes are always off to the side of the screen – narrating (I think) that our two leads have gone missing.

I’m not doing a good enough job to warn you away from this. I know you are only further interested by it.

You are wrong to be.