The 251st review!
I got Shudder after debating about it for about a year now, and I’m pretty pumped. For those of you unaware, it’s a Netflix for horror movies. It also has some shows that I’m really looking forward to checking out. I went scrolling through for a movie, and ended up deciding on...
The Last Showing (2014) - Shudder
Let me preface this review by saying I worked at a movie theater for more than seven years. While they’re lively and fun places during business hours, they’re spooky when you’re in there by yourself and the lights are out. I was an usher supervisor for most of my time there, which meant I was the one who closed almost every Friday and Saturday. That means I wouldn’t get out of there until three in the morning. Shadows get creepier and more menacing when you’re in a 16-theater complex by yourself at 2:30 in the AM.
With that said, I will always watch a something set in a movie theater. Not just because of the creepy atmosphere, but so I can smugly look over at whomever I’m watching with and say, “That’s not how it’s done in a theater.” Now that I’ve put the theater life behind me, I’m much more obnoxious when it comes to movies or shows trying to recreate a newsroom atmosphere.
Back to the movie. I couldn’t decide what to pick, but when I came across this, I was intrigued, when I saw it starred Robert Englund, I couldn’t click play fast enough. Much like The Autopsy of Jane Doe, it also has a character from “Game of Thrones”, Finn Jones, who I will only refer to as Loras Tyrell from here on out. There’s two stories playing out at once at first. Robert Englund is a projectionist. He’s been putting together those big reels for the past 25 years but now they’ve gone digital, his expertise is no longer needed (I know some former theater friends that can sympathize). He then gets trained as an usher and concessionist, and he HATES it. There’s a quick montage to drive that point home.
Meanwhile, Loras Tyrell is really thirsty for his girlfriend who isn’t quite there yet. He, not being a fan of horror movies, gets dragged by her to a midnight showing of The Hills Have Eyes 2, assuring him that horror movies can turn people on. That’s when the stories intersect and the movie picks up. See, Englund has had enough, not just of the menial work, but in Hollywood movies in general. They’re all so cliche and predictable, so he’s making his own movie, and Loras, his girl and his young manager are going to play a key role whether they want to or not.
It’s hard to put my finger on how I felt about this movie. If it were anyone other than Englund playing the baddie, I would not like it, at all. But he spends the entire time chewing the scenery and using such a ridiculous English accent, that it’s just wonderful. He’s playing puppet master, watching and recording the whole thing through the surveillance tapes, making sure everyone is where they need to be to make his masterpiece. There’s even parts where he’s editing in noises on his computer because the cameras don’t record sound. It’s actually fun to watch him work and see how excited he is about how his movie is coming together.
As he’s pulling the strings from behind the scenes, there’s a lot you have to ignore in order for the plot to move forward. You can forgive it because Englund seems to be having a lot of fun in his silly role, but man, the protagonists are stupid! Through some shenanigans and luck, and Loras’ and her stupidity, Englund manages to get the girl to not trust him. The two never take a second to breathe and think it through. It also doesn’t help that any time she sees Loras, he is ranting and screaming like a mad man. Englund and the girl spend some time watching him on camera, and he looks like a lunatic the whole time screaming and banging on doors. Basically, the two are really bad at communicating with each other.
It’s fun when Loras and Englund finally get to meet face-to-face because Englund’s character is so into the whole thing. After getting Loras to kill the manager (long story, failure to communicate), he finds his drugged girlfriend and Englund has the nerve to ask him, “How’s it going... You know, for the DVD extras.” There’s not a hint of joking either, he is genuinely curious about how Loras feels about the movie and thinks this is best time to get an interview. Then he gets pissed when Loras storms off. Like I said, any other actor and I don’t think this movie works. But it’s always nice to see Robert Englund, and it’s even better when he’s hamming it up.
The reviews I read on Shudder’s website had a bunch of people upset at the ending. I was as well at first, but the more I let it marinate, I’m OK with it. The final scene before the credits actually made me laugh a bit. My advice, if you watch this, turn off your brain and enjoy the cool premise that doesn’t quite hit the mark.