I’ve claimed to be a big fan of writer/director Ti West for a little while now, despite having only seen three of his movies. Granted, he’s only done five feature-length films, but if you make something like The House of the Devil, it doesn’t matter how many Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever‘s he makes for me to still be a big fan of his. Granted, he’s disowned Cabin Fever 2 because of all of the studio involvement, but I think you get the point. In case you DON’T get the point, it’s that if you make just one movie that I can absolutely love, you will get a pass for how lackluster any of your other films are (cough cough Dario Argento cough Suspiria cough cough). I did quite enjoy West’s follow-up to House of the Devil, which was The Innkeepers. Considering we’ll probably be waiting a while to see his Innkeepers follow-up, I decided I’d catch up on his previous films, and since Trigger Man was on Netflix Instant, it made the decision of which movie to watch first that much easier.
I kept thinking this guy was going to turn into Ray Wise. Google Ray Wise and it’ll make sense.
Three dudes/bros/friends that live in a city are heading out into the woods to go hunting. While the dudes are hunting, they wander through the woods to discover a big warehouse, which makes them think they aren’t as isolated in the woods as they had thought. While taking a piss near the warehouse, one of the friends gets shot in the head. The other two friends run and hide, not sure who has shot them or if the shooter can still see them. After adequate amounts of running and hiding, one friend feels confident enough to step out from his hiding spot to get closer to his friend, only to get shot in the process. The remaining friend decides to try to track down who is doing this, and while approaching the warehouse, encounters a jogger, who is also shot and killed by the unseen gunman. The remaining friend eventually gets into the warehouse and uses the scope on his rifle to look for the bad guy, and when he sees someone with a gun, he shoots him in the head. That’s when a second shooter starts chasing the friend, but the friend gets the upper hand and wounds the second gunman. Before the injured gunman has the opportunity to attack, the friend shoots the second gunman and the credits roll.
Writer, director, editor, special effects-er, producer, and actors all in one picture!
Considering I was able to describe almost every notable event in this film in one paragraph, and the running time of an hour and twenty minutes, makes me think the script for this movie must have been about 20 pages long. I’ve heard complaints about both House of the Devil and The Innkeepers regarding the slow pacing, which some people would say is “boring”. I enjoy the pacing of both films and feel as though the more time we spend with the characters, the more we’re invested in them. Unfortunately, the slow pacing of this movie doesn’t have the same result. I might be jumping to conclusions here, but considering I spoke to Ti a few months ago about Bad Brains and the fact that one of the characters had tattoos, wore Levi 514s, and had a fashion mullet, I don’t think I’m too far off in thinking that the three actors were West’s friends. And considering the executive producer played one of the gunman, I don’t think there was much time or money put into casting, and none of the characters were as engaging to watch as in some of West’s previous films. The story was fine, with the idea of being hunted by some unknown and unseen person, and I liked that they never explained who they were or why they were doing it, but even with a short running time, there wasn’t really enough going on. I think this movie could have worked a lot better as a 30-40 minute short film, rather than being dragged out as long as it did. You can see glimpses of West’s integrity to not force tension or scares, something prevalent in future movies, but I wasn’t really entertained enough to say I enjoyed it.
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