PLOT: While clearing out their missing father’s defunct video store, two brothers come across a VHS board game that opens a gateway to evil.
If you were born in the 1980s, you’re probably going to get more out of this film than anyone else. VHS video nasties, board games with video tape components, and a decent synth score makes this one tug a couple of the right nostalgia chords.
I played Nightmare as a kid, and it was awesome. We used to spend hours in friends’ basements in the dark, yelling back at the Gatekeeper on our television; we made jokes to mask the fact that we were all pretty terrified. This film relies on the idea that you’re familiar with this concept and then takes it to the natural progression of a Jumanji-style adventure set in a horror landscape. It’s a fine concept, but the execution in this one lacks just enough to be disappointing.
The problem is the narrative’s insistence that there is anything in this film more interesting than the video board game. There isn’t, but we’re only given gameplay for minutes at a time before someone swears off playing it and resigns to their bedroom. This happens more than twice, which is far too many times.
This one surprising has some fleeting moments of well-done campy gore. The first death scene has the guy’s intestines flying around all over the place and we even get to see some guys head explode. It’s quite impressive when you consider the obvious limited resources. These even seem like they tried to stay the practical route and I can definitely appreciate that. You’re not swimming in blood and guts by any means, but I appreciate the effort out of this little film.
Gore Rating: 3 out of 5
Barbara Crampton is kid of creepy in this movie. She’s most effective when she does nothing but stare. I half-expected her to lunge at the camera with some sort of distorted CGI face at times (sort of like the end of the original Paranormal Activity), but the filmmakers showed restraint in that aspect; or maybe the CGI would have been out of the budget.
Scare Rating: 1 out of 5
Nothing. The main actress can look like a mix between Elisha Cuthbert and Kristen Bell in the right light, but this is a pretty asexual film. All three main characters are scene in bed multiple times and they are all fully-clothed and sleep flat on their back. It’s kind of odd.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 0 out of 5
This movie has a pretty good concept, but fails to completely deliver; I assume it has something to do with a small budget. The film repetitively jumps from playing the game to one of the characters storming off to a scene with one of the characters waking up in bed to going back to playing the game. Once they started playing the game, that’s all I wanted them to do; it seemed like it teased us with it much more than we actually got to see any of it. And when they play the game, the film more or less delivers; I just needed more.