Rites Of Spring (2011)

Love the poster...not the film.
Can a poster make a film? Not really, but it can certainly cause a bored Mister Joshua to watch said film on the Netflix. Of course it doesn't hurt when the film stars the best part of YellowBrickRoad, Annessa Ramsay, and the best part of, well, everything he's in - AJ Bowen. Add in the inference from the poster that the film makes a veiled promise of some Wickerman-ish nefarious goings on, and you can officially color me intrigued.

Rachel (Ramsay) and Alyssa (Hannah Bryan) are bellied up to the bar, in the middle of tying one on. Sarah laments a dastardly move she pulled earlier, causing one of her co-workers to get fired. Thoroughly soused they head out to the car, only to find one of the tires flat. When they ask for help, they are drugged and kidnapped, So far so good...bring on The Wickerman!

But wait! Not so fast there inspector. Instead of Christopher Lee we meet a group of would be burglars. Their plan involves kidnapping the youngest daughter of some rich white dude and ransoming her for two million bucks. Bowen is Ben, he is joined by his girl, Amy, (Katherine Randolph), the brains (supposedly) Paul (Sonny Marinelli) and his brother, Tommy (Andrew Breland) who's function seems to be only to pick up the money after it's delivered. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. First, the kidnapping get's all FUBARed. Someone sees Pauls face, so he kidnaps her. The old white dude's wife gives Paul some shit - so he kills her. Ben and Amy are pretty pissed about this, but at this point, they just have to go with it.

Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, er, some rundown barn, Rachel and Jessica are strung up by their wrists (just like the poster!). The weird, old dude who kidnapped them slices Jessicas wrist and fills a bowl with her blood. He then feeds the blood to some unseen creature in the basement. All while asking the girls if they are clean.

The kidnappers are not having that great of a time either. They call the old dude to let him know where to drop the money. Then, they call Ben's brother to let him know where to pick up the money. See a problem here? As expected, the old dude waits around for Tommy to show up and forces him to take him to the kidnappers.

Rachel has escaped by this time though and after trying to kill the creepy old dude by pushing and (empty) bookcase on him (seriously, when has that ever worked?), she takes off into the night pursued by the thing in the basement. Rather than run down the road from the barn, Sarah ventures into the conversation of dumbest characters in movie history by running straight into a cornfield. The creature thing chases her, but doesn't catch her because just on the other side of that cornfield is the abandoned warehouse the kidnappers are hiding in.

Only by this time, rich old dude has shown up and wants his daughters back. But wait (again), his oldest daughter is in on the crime. TWIST! She shoots her dad. Her and Paul are going to take off with all the cash, when out runs Rachel and her creature trailing behind her. Turns out Ben is the guy Rachel got fired, (DOUBLE TWIST!) and the robbery was a way to get back at rich white dude for firing Ben. From here on out the film is just your basic stalk and slash film, with the old dude (no the bookcase didn't kill him) trying to sacrifice anyone at this point to something to make the fully grown corn grow more I guess. It's pretty stupid.

Ugh. Where to start. There are good some ideas here. But the film as a whole just doesn't come together. The robbery/kidnapping half of the film works really well, becasue it's given a bit more time to develop and the characters motivations are made clear form the get go.  The "creature feature" part of the film is criminally underdeveloped. When everything tries to gel in the third act, the issues with that half of the story really drag it down. Instead of worrying about the characters being stalked by the creature, I'm wondering where the little girl ran off to, or how after 24 years of missing girls, no one seems to care?  And how this guy got 2 million in cash that fast. I work in banking and have worked for various financial institutions, large and small, realistically there is no way to get 2 million dollars in cash without getting the Fed involved. Just saying.

With Rites Of Spring it's almost as if writer/director Padraig Reynolds had two pretty good 30 page treatments and said "shit, I don't know what the fuck to do with these" then someone said "Why don't you just have the one chick from one run into the warehouse of the other?" Brilliant! Not really, integrating the stories leaves a lot of dangling participles. With an 80 minute running time, surely there was some room to flush out certain ideas - especially in regards to the actual "rites of spring." Everything seems rushed though, and that is the ultimate downfall of the film.

Rites of Spring isn't bad per say, but it's not good. It's a whole lot of promise that adds up to essentially nothing and that's the biggest disappointment. Check it out for some good perfrmances and to see what could have been.

Rites of Spring is currently streaming on Netflix.

** stars out of *****

No comments:

Post a Comment