Reviewbr> "Cousin Hal, the backpacker from hell" - Rachel
Trish Burchall lives with her teenage daughters Lisa and Amy in the small rural community of Riverhead. She has a journalist gig at the local radio station which leads her to a suburban house, the scene of brutal multiple fatalities. The shock for Trish is they dropped by the house earlier in the morning as Lisa wanted to borrow some history notes from the now deceased Rachel but no one was answering the door unsurprisingly.
When another family are slaughtered and Lisa was friends with the daughter Trish begins to wonder if they aren't next on the killer's dance card. The Police, showing general horror movie ineptitude, are blaming either Dirk, the local high school stud who dated two of the murdered girls, or Hal, a backpacker who was staying with the first murdered family but who is now missing. Things come to a head at the Burchall's isolate house, with both Dirk and the enigmatic Robert Player, who has just arrived in town, making the scene. The Sherriff has supplied a Deputy to keep Trish's daughters safe, but a late night phone call sets off the alarm bells and has Trish rushing home where her daughters seem to have a variety of dudes on tap. Will Trish arrive in time or will we have another family massacre on our hands?
"True love never lies"
There's been quite the saga in getting a copy of No One Can Hear You for review. Initially we sourced the DVD from Aro Valley over in Kiwiland, but unfortunately the disc turned out to be pretty much unplayable. A second disc arrived from Mighty Ape and once again wasn't working. The Ape were quite happy to replace the movie and we finally got our hands on a working version as once again third time proved to be charm. The wait was worth it just for some of the credits attached to the movie. The wonderfully named Terri De'ath handled International casting, while the armourer's first name was Gunner, if only they had of employed someone name Voorhees I would have been well on the way to hog heaven. Well okay you want to know about the movie.
Surprisingly there's no boobs and not much in the way of on screen slaughter, what were they thinking!Director John Laing nails the opening scene and final block of the movie as he demonstrates a well develop knowledge of atmosphere and tension. Following the opening credits we hang with Rachel as she heads home on a dark, strangely unpopulated, street. Laing gets Dirk immediately into things as he's introduced as something of a complete tool. We then head home with Rachel who finds her house in complete darkness, the main lights not working, and a new obstacle in what we learn is her kitchen. Surprisingly a lamp works, say what! - and Rachel finds her family tied up and gagged with duct tape. Naturally we then get one of those chicks being chased by a Psycho situations with the resulting carnage happening off screen. Apparently our Norman Bates likes to take people's heads off. Great stuff, gripping solid introduction that should have you pumped for the rest of the movie.
Leaving aside the rather low key middle section for the moment, the final unveiling of our resident killer comes as a surprised for some, I didn't pick it, and we have some serious fun times as things get desperate for Lisa and Amy. Laing simply nails the killer coming up a stairway, with the lights out and the illumination provided by a lighting storm raging outside. About the only thing missing are boobs, which might explain the low level of acceptance of No One Can Hear You State side. Twin danger signals kids, no T&A of the gratuitous kind, and not much in the way of the red stuff hitting the screen. And people say we only watch trash around these here parts.
"True love never dies".
It's during the middle sections of the movie that Director Laing loses the plot, no pun intended. We get some background on a similar murder that happened fifteen years previously. Some Psychotic nut job named Billy herded a family together and slaughtered them, leaving only the young son, Charles Henry James, alive to tell the tale. In typical horror fashion, hello Rob Zombie, this flimsy shoot from the hip phycology leads Trish to deduce our current Psycho is non-other than Charles! When you get the actual reason for the murderous rampage it's even more outrageous, guess you don't have to be a rocket scientist to write psycho scripts.
The other notable thing during the middle section of the movie is just how wooden the cast are, with the notable exception of the always reliable Emily Barclay. Both Kelly McGillis and Kate Elliot throw on more ham then a small goods factory could hope to produce in the Christmas period. Tom Huntington and Keiren Hutchison go at it like deer caught in the headlights of Dirk's "compensating for something" truck. It was to be honest painful to watch at stages. I'm giving Kate Elliot an exception card as her character Lisa was so badly written that I just felt sorry for the blonde Actress.
What Director Laing and his fearless crew do get right is transforming parts of Auckland into middle America. Since the movie is clearly aimed more at a Yank audience than a local one, New Zealand not noted for psychos, this was probably the correct path to take, though at stages it was mirthful as locals with broad kiwi accents tried to get their mouths around U.S twang. Emily Barclay once again kicked a goal in this area. About the only thing letting down the home side was some of the vehicles and a few of the streets that looked decidedly kiwi. Still great achievement in pretty much pulling it off, the filming locations must have presented someone with a logistical nightmare in terms of coordination.
"Ever closer in the night".
Okay what else do I want to say about this flick before passing back to the keeper? For the sharp eyed there's a clear homage to John Carpenter's Halloween, Amy in the closet. The scene actually gave me some hope we might see Barclay in more dark genre outings, here she channels scream queen great Jamie Lee Curtis, but thus far Emily has been notably by her absence from anything dark and scary. Still I appreciated the wink at the Audience, wonder if Laing is aware Carpenter's movie plays off the original Black Christmas?
So it took a while to get a viewing of No One Can Hear You, the poem doing the rounds of the intended victims was a cool touch, and I kind of grooved to the movie end of day. Sure it has some difficulties, Director Laing joins Uwe Boll in not getting his night/day transitions working during the final scenes for example, but overall I got about what I expecting from a viewing. While there are clearly some superior Psycho movies out there, Laing's effort for sure doesn't rank down there with the woefully inept attempts that bubble to the surface of the swamp of ineptitude with frightening regularity. While I certainly grooved along to Trish being the worse driver in the County, the horror tropes of mobiles being out of service range and a lightning storm hitting right on cue, and of course who doesn't love watching an inept Deputy adding the comic touches, I have to say that the general lack of T&A was a disappointment. Still guarded recommendation on No One Can Hear You, another example of Kiwi movie makers trying their best to con North Americans. If you like slashers or the like then you are probably going to have a reasonable time here, dial in but don't blame me if you don't dig the flick.
I scored my copy of the movie from Mighty Ape, but most Kiwi movie stockists should have it in stock. You should pay around the $18 AUD mark for the privilege of owning the DVD, not sure about hire options.
"Precious flame burning bright".