When Gary Oldman rather satisfyingly pummels Christian Slater in "True Romance," he comments to his bodyguard: "He must have thought it was White Boy Day(tm). It ain't White Boy Day(tm), is it?"
Now, Tarantino has finally produced a movie that shows us what happens on White Boy Day(tm). On White Boy Day(tm) it traditional for white boys from all over the globe (including Japanese white boy extraordinaire, Takeshi Miike in a cameo) to converge on their Fatherland and torture unsuspecting college sophomores with a variety of rusty implements.
Which is not as interesting as it might sound.
This movie wins the 2006 Blair Witch 'Please Somebody Kill These Annoying People Already' award.
They did nothing with this premise. Nothing. No interesting predicaments, no memorable characters. A waste of a good premise. This thing made the White Castle burger movie look like Altman.
The gore, what little there actually was of it, was well rendered, but the rest of the production was workmanlike. Not bad, per se, but it totally failed to produce a mood.
I'm not a big believer in method acting, but when you have 20-something unknowns and you want to film them under great stress, the best thing to do is put them under great stress.
'Blair Witch' did that much right...the cast really did sleep out in the woods and really didn't know what was going to happen (though they did cheat one night in a motel.) Whatever you think of the film, the emotions on the screen are at least genuine. A bit forced maybe, but genuine.
The original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" did it right, too, filming out in the torturously hot Texas outback with rotting meat all over the place. When Tobe Hooper couldn't get the blood bladder to work for the scene where they cut Sally Ann's finger, he just had the actor REALLY cut her finger and not tell her. THAT'S the scream you hear in the movie. A Travolta once said, good scream.
Or you can go the 'Saw' route and use mostly actors in their 30s who are one or two notches up the ladder and can actually access the emotions you need.
Also, if you're not going to bother to develop any of the characters, then please don't take up the screen time. Just start torturing them. 'The Passion' went this way and made a mint. The people like a beatdown.
Or develop the characters. Even 'Star Trek' levels of character development would be a good start. It doesn't have to be freakin' Becket. But maybe a defining characteristic for each character: a hobby, a pet, a food allergy, something so we care when they get hamstrung with piano wire.
There was one good, solid effective scare. When White Boy #1 is being tortured to death and begging for his life, he offers his assailant money.
"Money? I'm paying THEM!"
Nothing says "my name is Pitt and your ass ain't talkin' your way outta this shit" like that, Brett.
Two and a half stars. Jason Bob sez watch 'Saw' instead.