To Become One

Year:  2002
Director:  Neil Johnson
Cast:  Emma Grasso, Col Elliot, Spencer Slasberg, David Vallon

To Become One begins much like any of the countless teenage slasher films out there; a young girl named Melinda helplessly watches her mother get brutally murdered by a killer disguised in a gas mask and armed with a sword. Flash forward a year later--this same killer begins picking off this same Melinda's friends one by one on a quest to capture her (why he did not just get her a year earlier after murdering her mother while Melinda was in the same room is the question of the day).  In order to escape the killer, Melinda and her few remaining friends pack up their cars and take off for the isolated countryside.  Predictably, the killer follows, dispatches Melinda's remaining friends, and reveals his identity to her.  Now, this is where the film completely shift gears and ton as the killer is revealed to be her Siamese twin brother who was separated from her when they were infants. He has decided that this procedure robbed him of his "true" life, so, with the help of a crazy-as-a-loon doctor, he plans on being conjoined with Melinda once again. From this point forward, the film takes place in a giant secluded hospital which looks much like a typical suburban hospital. However, the patients are all mentally disturbed and the doctor and nurses are performing what seems to be religious-themed brainwashing ceremonies on them.

On a positive note, the film certainly is ambitious with its screenplay and very few horror films have ever switched plot elements so severely and abruptly.  Somewhere in this amateurish mess of a film lies an actually pretty interesting and unique premise.  It is extremely low budget (said to have been filmed for under $2000), and while this fact is painfully obvious, it does make some of the hospital scenes/procedures much more effective because of the grittiness of the picture quality and awkwardly cheap set pieces. The acting is a mixed bag, but the main girl is serviceable and carries the film pretty well.

However, pretty much everything else about this film is a failure. The decision to switch from slasher movie to psychological drama midway through really does not work here because it makes the first half of the film irrelevant. Why did the brother have to stalk and kill Melinda's friends if his sole goal was to get her to the hospital?  There are other glaring plot holes, but that is the least of this film's problems. The directing is awful, with needless switches from color to black and white indiscriminately and without any real purpose except to make the direction seem innovative. There are several shots, particularly in the beginning, that are so dark that the viewer cannot even make out what is going on. The dialog is clunky and characters do things (again, particularly in the beginning) that are so ridiculous that it is hard to take the film seriously. There is no character development at all and the main character's name is not even revealed until a third into the movie. In fact, it seems like the major issue with this film is the first forty minutes when it attempted to be a slasher film. Nothing works here. However, even when the film switches gears to the hospital scenes, it becomes incredibly dull and contrived that it becomes a test of patience to sit through.

There is an interesting movie to be found somewhere in this mess of a film. Unfortunately, this film was in extremely incompetent hands and ends up being an absurd, boring chore to watch. There are really no redeeming qualities present to recommend this film to anyone--even die-hard horror fans.

Fright Meter Grade:

No comments:

Post a Comment