Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Creepy Tales: Girls Night Out' disappoints

Creepy Tales: Girls Night Out (2003)
Starring: Joe Heffernan, Samantha Turk, Bianca Joy Chavers, Kimberly Hiss, Scott Shiaffo, and Francine Civelle
Director: Micheal Russin
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

"Creepy Tales: Girls Night Out" is an ultra-lowbudget horror anthology film that features three stories which are introduced by a Crypt Keeper-like wise-cracking host, The Professor (Heffernan). The three tales that in the film share the same old school vibe as The Professor, in that they are twist-ending shockers.

The first tale, titled "Girls Night Out" sees two friends (Turk and Chavers) driving along a lonely stretch of road on their way to a friend's house for a party. They encounter an axe-wielding lunatic recently escaped from an insane asylum... and their night only goes down hill from there.

The second tale, "The Creep", sees a small-time attorney (Hiss) whose sanity starts coming unraveled when she comes to believe she is being stalked by a man who has lunch in the same restaurant as she does every day.

Finally, "Blood Moon Rising" is about an ailing businessman (Shiaffo) who falls in love with his private nurse (Civelle). However, both the businessman and the nurse harbor dark secrets, and their hidden natures collide with deadly results.

This is another one of those movies that could have done with a little more time spent on the script.

Only one of the three took a direction that surprised me ("Blood Moon Rising"), but all three kept me mildly entertained, so I didn't mind terribly. I can also forgive the fact that the film wasn't particularly scary, because I did find it amusing. What I did mind was the near-total absence of likable characters anywhere in any of the stories. In at least one case, I'm pretty sure the viewer is supposed to have sympathy with the main characters in "Girls Night Out", but one of them is such a bitch and the other such a dish-rag that I found myself wanting them to get chopped to bits by the axe murderer. I think that if a little more time had been spent on polishing some of the characters, all three stories would have been much stronger, because the viewer would have had someone to relate to on the screen.

I also think the filmmakers should have stayed away from putting monsters in the picture, espcially werewolves. That is one creature that is very hard to do right when you have a tiny budget. Blurry images, double-exposures, and other effects that I could create on my Macintosh couldn't hide the really bad costume. (Although the "fang-cam" shot was hilarious.)

Obviously, since I only rated the film with Four Stars, I'm not giving it a strong recommendation. However, the film still ranks above a number of horror movies of recent vintage that had one hundred times the budget as "Girls Night Out", because I got the sense with this film that the people involved actually put their hearts into making the best film they could with the means at their disposal. I think they set out to make a fun, unpretentious little horror movie, and I think they succeeded at that.

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