When five college pals head into the wilderness for a little rest and relaxation, they run headlong into Simon and Stanley (both played by Crispin Glover), backwoods twin brothers with a fondness for booby traps rigged with flying pickaxes. Now, the teens must claw their way out of the woods without springing one of the brothers’ ingeniously lethal snares. William Dear directs this gleefully gore-drenched film; Blake Lively co-stars.
Steamy, roaring water cascaded down to the ceramic tile floor. That was the welcoming sound of a hot shower. At approximately 48 minutes into William Dear’s SIMON SAYS, I paused the film so I could wash off the stink. Did it work? Maybe, it did. The second half of the film actually does improve as a maniacal Crispin Glover embarks on a (perhaps intentionally funny) rampage with a slew of self-made bOOby traps and more pickaxes than you can find at all the Home Depots in all of the western United States.
SIMON SAYS is your typical no-budget slasher. Except for one thing, they had a budget—approximately 3 million dollars, according to IMDB. Sure, this is low budget by today’s standards, but it is certainly more than enough to make a good horror movie. Besides, all those pickaxes cost money. Especially since many of them appeared to be CGI. And, I’ll refrain from dumping all over the hokey special effects since that was one element that actually worked.
The plot follows a group of ridiculously stereotypical teenagers who drive a hippy van, right out of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and the devil only knows how many others, up to camp by the river in the old prospecting country. Of course, there is a local legend of a psychotic killer who roams the woods in the surrounding area. But, does that deter these future Mensa members?
No, of course not. They cross paths with the eccentric twin brothers Stanley and Simon, both portrayed by Glover—well, sort of. Since you can smell this one coming a mile away, I’ll spill the beans. Simon and Stanley are the same person. The story goes that back when they were kids, Stanley (the evil twin), jealous of his retarded brother Simon, murders his brother and the rest of his family in the woods. Missing their close connection, Stanley develops a split personality and lives as both Simon and Stanley. And in agonizingly typical slasher fashion, Stanley kills off the obnoxious teens one by one.
For the life of me, I could not tell if these young actors were just working with bad material or were just plain bad. So unlike Stanley, I will spare them. However, one huge mistake that veteran writer/director (Dear) makes is that the obnoxious teens actually get less obnoxious as the movie goes on. You really only have two choices with these types of films, either you like the characters and root for them to defeat the killer or you hate them and cheer the killer on each time he delivers a fresh kill. With SIMON SAYS, I did not know whom to root for and ultimately it made me lose interest in both.
If the film has anything going for it, it is the death scenes. Stanley is apparently very handy and has scattered a variety of elaborate killing machines throughout the woods. This includes a pickaxe slinger that sends pickaxes through the air like automatic weapon fire. Yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds but I found it mildly amusing. The second half of the film basically becomes a gore-fest and Stanley does manage to find some interesting and humorous ways of killing folks. He even kills random people in the woods for no apparent reason other than to boost the film’s body count. Perhaps, this movie could have even worked as a short with nothing but Stanley killing campers in creative and comical ways.
Much like a flying pickaxe racing toward your head, I advise you to steer clear of SIMON SAYS. You need to be as drunk and stoned as the ill-fated teens in this movie to get anything out of it other than a headache. I do appreciate Crispin Glover but frankly this film is just awful. So unless you are in the bushes outside of Mr. Glover’s house right now reading this review on your cell phone and planning on heading toward my house with a pickaxe for defaming your one true love, skip this one. You will thank me later.
Simon Says (2006)