Film Review: Grotesque (1988)

SYNOPSIS:

A gang of annoying punks break into a special effect maker’s house in the middle of nowhere looking for money and/or drugs. After killing everyone in the house (except for the daughter who makes a run for it) the punks accidentally release a grotesque creature the family had locked away in a hidden room that promptly begins killing them off one-by-one.

REVIEW:

I wasn’t very familiar with Grotesque so I went into it not knowing a whole lot about it. I thought it sounded promising enough and once I discovered that Linda Blair was in it (and had actually acted as associate producer on it) I figured it would probably be a decent little time waster to whittle away a boring Sunday afternoon. Did I end up liking it when everything was said and done? I did, but that isn’t to say that the movie doesn’t have a lot of flaws (especially during the second half) that hold it back and prevent it from being as awesome as it could have been. There are parts of it that I really enjoyed, but at the same time there were times that I just wanted the film to hurry up and be over with as it started to bore me a little.

I did like the premise of the movie and dug how it does a From Dusk Till Dawn change of gears at one point out of nowhere. If someone watching it didn’t know what it was about I think that he or she would be very surprised once the mentally retarded, homicidal creature makes his first appearance and starts ripping the gang of punks to pieces. Things go from the punks killing an innocent family and trashing their house to them being slaughtered and the remaining members running for their lives in a matter of minutes, and I thought that it worked. In my opinion the idea of a seemingly normal, loving family having a brutal monster locked up in a hidden room in their house is a very cool idea, and I also really dug the creature’s back story as well. The creature is a brutal son-of-a-bitch as the punks soon discover, and he isn’t very happy that the family he lives with has been senselessly murdered. I had a lot of fun watching him exact his revenge on the group as none of them are likable at all and deserve what they get at his hands due to their actions.

Did I mention that the creature is a tad brutal? He is actually a pretty hardcore bastard and he obviously enjoys tearing into his victims, which made me very happy. He isn’t he most creative of killers out there but he gets the job done. He dispatches his prey in brutal and primitive ways (which are still fun to watch nonetheless) by breaking backs and necks, crushing heads, and slamming people into trees as hard as he can (I can’t help but wonder if this inspired the infamous “sleeping bag death” scene from Friday the 13th Part 7). A lot of painful-looking deaths take place in this film and I enjoyed all of them.

I also thought that what takes place toward the end of the film was well-done as well. We get a little twist during the climax that explains why the family had the creature locked away in a hidden room and it is a pretty awesome explanation. In addition, the fate of the last two punks who managed to escape the monster is revealed and it is very fitting. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that they probably would have been better off if they had just been torn apart by the creature. I think that what happens to them proves that there are some things worse than death (and they both more than deserve what happens to them).

What didn’t I like about the movie, you may be wondering? Well for starters it all goes downhill for the most part after the very awesome first half. After the creature is defeated we still have quite a bit of movie left so it becomes a snooze fest as a relative of the murdered family tries to convince the police that the two punks that are still alive are guilty. We go from awesome scenes of a monster kicking ass and taking names to a series of long, boring scenes involving the police and their investigation (the interrogation scene is painfully boring and could have been a lot shorter). The film crawls along at a snail’s pace for most of the second half, and there were times I came very close to skipping ahead to the next scene due to the fact that I was getting bored to tears with what was going on. Thankfully though, as I have already said the big twist toward the end is worth it, I just wish that the filmmakers could have gotten to it sooner as opposed to subjecting me to a bunch of pointless scenes where pretty much the same thing happens over and over again to pad out the running time.

I enjoyed Grotesque, but it wasn’t perfect. I hated most of the characters (I couldn’t wait for that annoying ass punk who keeps laughing to die and the leader of the gang is lame as hell), the pacing could have been better at times, and what takes place at the very end is ridiculously stupid (why they thought that ending it in such a silly ass way just for cheap laughs was a good idea is beyond me). Still, you could do a lot worse and up until the halfway point or so it really is a good movie. Check it out if you run across a copy of it.

Grotesque (1988)

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