Petrified (2006)

Petrified reviewStarring Roark Critchlow, Jessica Lancaster, Osman Soykut, Kimberly Pfeffer, Tim Murphy, Katie Adams, Elina Madison

Directed by Charles Band

Charles Band’s newest flick, Petrified, was released this past week with about as little fanfare as humanly possible. This one really flew in under the radar. Heck, I can’t even find it for sale on Full Moon seems to be saving all of its hoopla for the soon-to-be-released Evil Bong – at least that’s the film Band appears to be (forgive me for this bad pun) really high on. I can’t help but wonder if maybe Band has set his sights on cornering the stoner B-movie market because I cannot for the life of me imagine Petrified being intended to be watched by anyone of sound mind. I even find myself wondering just how sound Band’s mind was while making this gibberish.

Seeing the trailer for Petrified a short while back gave me hope that Charles Band might have pulled off another fun little B-movie. Heck, I think I’m the one person on the planet that gave The Gingerdead Man a rave review (and I swear I don’t think I’m ever going to live down that review either). Petrified also marks the first movie Charles Band has done in god knows how long that doesn’t boast some sort of miniaturized puppet-like monstrosity. That right there makes it noteworthy. So, yeah, I went into this one enthusiastically. I walked away prepared to throw up my hands in total frustration.

An undercover federal agent is after some thieves dealing in black market antiquities. In this case the artifacts in question include the mummified remains of an extraterrestrial recovered from an ancient UFO crash site. The deal goes bad, the agent narrowly escapes with a box containing the severed hand from another long dead extraterrestrial, and the alien mummy resurrects.

This alien mummy can petrify victims with a glowy-eyed stare that sort of reminded me of Ghost Rider’s “Penance Stare,” only the victims here are frozen in place, become rock hard, and turn a shade of bluish gray. It begins lumbering about, occasionally turning anyone it comes across to stone. The movie suggests that it may be pursuing the alien hand, or maybe it’s hungry for blood, or it could even be horny. I don’t think the movie ever made up its mind which. I guess when you’ve been dead for eons and suddenly find yourself resurrected on an alien world and saddled with a screenplay that doesn’t give you much of anything to do and no real rhyme or reason as to why you do what you do – suffice to say you’re not going to be happy.

The alien mummy costume is pretty spiffy. It reminded me a little of the alien from Don Dohler’s Night Beast, only a different color, not quite as toothy, and wrapped in mummy rags from the neck down. As for its powers of petrifaction, it’s a one-trick mummy. See it do it once, and you’ve seen its whole bag of tricks.

The agent takes refuge within a building out in the woods that turns out to be a psychiatric clinic for nymphomaniacs populated exclusively by nubile young women. One would think this would be a guarantee of mucho nudity and sex scenes. Charles Band clearly does not think like you and I. One fleeting moment of nudity and some very brief foreplay is all this movie can muster.

The agent spends a good deal of time engaging in trite conversations with a female counselor at the clinic, while others engage in inane banter that’s supposed to be witty. Once the alien arrives, narrowly kills them, and stalks them throughout the clinic, the agent and the counselor all but completely forget about the peril outside the door in favor of another mind-numbing conversation that plants the seeds of romance between the two of them. That scene spoke volumes about how poorly constructed this whole film was.

It also turns out the nymphomania clinic is a cover for a mad scientist conducting eternal youth experiments. His most prize specimen is a 60-year-old Asian woman who looks like a 23-year-old E3 Convention model. This subplot involving the mad scientist and his prize specimen consists of nothing more than extended scenes of the scientist explaining his research and reiterating how crucial it is that nothing happens to this hot Asian chick who neither says nor does much of anything except lay down on an operating table pretty much the entire time. That’s it. That’s all there is to this subplot. There’s nothing else to it. Nada. Zilch. A great big goose egg. Thanks for nothing.

And yet that’s still more than the suddenly introduced and then just as quickly tossed aside sub-subplot involving the severed alien hand coming to life (for no particular reason) and trying to strangle people (also for no particular reason whatsoever).

Worst of all are several long scenes in which two fellow federal agents are shown in the field engaging in extraneous chitchat that often has little to do with the actual plot of the film. Who cares about the backstory of two characters that have no impact on the proceedings? Seriously, these two contribute absolutely nothing to the story; and yet they get about as much – if not more – screen time devoted to them than the mad scientist/fountain of youth subplot.

Petrified has all the ingredients for a fun B-movie. Yeah, it’s B-movie fun for about the first five minutes, but as soon as the old fashioned B-movie style opening credits end, it settles into being 70 minutes of aggravating rubbish. There are four different storylines going on here; none of them are adequately developed and they barely tie in together. Everything that happens feels completely random, and it’s all directed in lackadaisical fashion. Think about my description of this film’s plot and imagine what a company like Troma might have done with it. Charles Band did absolutely nothing with it.

The DVD also includes a 30-minute feature showcasing the Full Moon Road Shows that Charles Band has been putting on around the country for the past year. It’s vastly more entertaining than the movie itself.

I’m giving Petrified a 1 knife rating. The movie is so worthless it only warrants a 1/2 knife score, but I’m going to bump it up to a one just for that Road Show feature.

1 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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