Despite her better judgment, college freshman Jenny (Christina Brucato) reluctantly agrees to join her new friends in a New York City scavenger hunt. As the group receives mysterious text message clues, they’re sent to dark, dangerous corners of the city. Soon, they realize that this is no innocent game, and winning could mean the difference between life and death. Terrence Mann, Hollis Scarborough and Frankie Shaw co-star in this thriller.
“Red Hook” is yet ANOTHER entry into the slasher genre and it is ANOTHER stinker as well. I am almost beginning to wonder if the well hasn’t dried up. It’s been almost fourteen years since “Scream” breathed life back into the genre and there have been hundreds since. There have been good ones and there have been bad ones, there have been mildly entertaining ones, and there have been ones that are just there, like “Red Hook”. As bad as the movie was, there may be a rising star hiding in the muck, director Elizabeth Lucas has vision, confidence, and an eye for film. So maybe it isn’t a complete waste of time after all.
As a child, Jenny (Christina Brucato) witnesses the murder of her sister. After living a protected life afterwards, she leaves the small town for New York City in order to go to college. She is still struggling with the horrific event and her own agoraphobia when her Resident Advisor pulls together a scavenger hunt for her and her friends to participate in. She finds a kindred spirit and a partner for the scavenger hunt in Gavin (Tate Ellington) who quickly disappears before the game begins. The small group of friends are lead all over New York looking for clues when the game turns deadly and people come up missing. Is it a game or is it real. The clues are being sent to them from Red Hook as text messages on their phones. The only way to solve the mystery is to piece the clues together and to work as a team.
Trust me, I think I just made the film actually sound interesting, when in fact, it is incredibly dull. After the first few minutes, NOTHING HAPPENS for almost an hour. The characters are not characters at all, just annoying stereotypes. We never once feel for anyone other than Jenny, and even she is just barely sympathetic. The film was unrated yet there was barely any blood, barely any swearing, and absolutely no nudity. This unrated banner is getting out of hand. It doesn’t mean anything anymore, not like the old days. Not to mention that there was no mystery and incredibly predictable. The death scenes are weak and uninspired and might as well have not even been in there. I guess the main problem here is the script by Sammy Buck. Though the idea is rather interesting, the execution is way off the mark.
What is good? The actors do a well enough job with the material they are given but no one really stood out. Actually, I will take that back, I was really surprised to see Terrance Mann, who many of you may remember as Ug from the “Critters” series, in a small role. What did surprise me though was how well the film is put together. Director Lucas made a film that could literally be put next to many larger budgeted films and look much better. She uses the city to her advantage and shoots it in an interesting manner. Music is used well and overall the package looks great.
When watching “Red Hook”, I was at first really blown away by how great it looked and it was visually interesting at times, but the story just didn’t work for me. One of my first thoughts was “I will be pissed if ‘bleep’ is the killer.” And sure enough, ‘bleep’ was the freakin killer. That isn’t a good sign and completely ruined it for me. As a horror film, I just can’t recommend “Red Hook” to anyone. Find something else, watch “Scream”, “Terror Train”, or anything really. If you are in to filmmaking in general, or directors with a bit of style, or even enjoy viewing New York in an interesting light, maybe this film is worth a view. If we’re lucky, “Red Hook” is just a stepping stone for Elizabeth Lucas to move on to bigger and better, much better, things.