Crazy Eights (2007)

 After Dark’s Crazy Eights Review (click for larger image)Reviwed by Kryten Syxx

Starring Traci Lords, Dina Meyer, Gabrielle Anwar, George Newbern, Dan DeLuca and Frank Whaley

Directed by James Koya Jones

Distributed by After Dark Films and Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Six people are brought together at the funeral of a childhood friend. While settling the estate, they discover a map, which leads them on a search for a long forgotten time capsule, at the request of their dead friend. What they discover reawakens repressed childhood traumas and leads them on a journey through their long abandoned childhood home: a home with a terrible secret and a mysterious dead girl who will lead them to their strange fates.

If you happened to watch the trailer for Crazy Eights then everything has already been spoiled for you. Hell, reading the synopsis on the After Dark site pretty much ruins all the surprises. So what exactly is there left for the potential viewer if they choose to see this film?

A very Swiss cheesy plot…

Repressed memories in children is nothing new. We’ve all heard about it in the news, especially a few years back during all the outings in the Catholic church. Back then the theory was a little fishy, but thanks to Crazy Eights it takes on a whole new level of absurdity.

The six friends who come together for their 7th friends funeral were known as the Crazy Eights. But … what about that eighth member? They all seem to have forgotten her. Even when #8’s dead body shows up in that time capsule they still cannot put the pieces together. The group’s collective memories are still not jogged when they just happen to stumble across the old experiment facility where they spent their childhoods!

That is what really brings down a movie that hit both the scares and the atmosphere right on the nail. No matter how good your gore is, no matter how creeped out the audience feels and no matter how refreshing the jump scares are there is no better way to break all that down by driving us down the most plot hole filled road imaginable.

How exactly do you forget that you and your seven other friends were kept in a kiddy prison and experimented on? Is it really that easy to push things out of your mind like accidentally killing one of your buds? That sort of trauma is a bit too much for such a tightly knit group to just forget like the way Britney Spears can’t remember she is talentless.

Aside from the memory issues, Crazy Eights features some of the most brainless characters in the horror genre. Not only are each of the six living friends badly stereotyped and underdeveloped through the whole film, but they all have severe memory issues. After the six living members of the group become trapped back in the research facility they do very little to attempt to break out. Each window is covered by a bug screen and that just stops our sleuths dead in their tracks. No one ever tries to break a window, they simply give up after a couple pushes. The Eights also give up on using their cell phones after the first half hour. Good thing the mysterious ghostly killer starts working quickly to off them.

The ghost of the girl they accidentally killed has returned in the form of a 7’ tall rag man with long nails and a skeletal face. Make sense? Fuck, why start now?! Anyway, this is where the movie starts to gain some ground that the plot snatched away. The spirit sticks to the background and never shown in clear view. Thankfully absent here are also the annoying overused twitchy effects we’ve seen in previous spook flicks like The Messengers.

The ghost of revenge gets in a few good kills, one involving ripping the jaw off a hippie. The other was when she/it plucks out Traci Lords’ eyes. Too bad we don’t get to see it graphically. Hmmm, two cool bits of gore followed up by four rather boring ones. OK, Crazy Eights isn’t looking too good at all.

At least it wouldn’t if the atmosphere wasn’t so damn creepy. Here is the star of the film. The research facility is nasty on all levels. It feels so genuine that it breaks my black heart that the filmmakers didn’t just ditch the silly story, shallow characters and ghost but instead just took us on a tour of the location.

Turning the brain off will not stop viewers from asking many questions when watching this flick. The storytelling is just sloppy, but honestly this is genuinely the creepiest and scariest horror movie of the year. All ya gotta do is forget everything about the plot and enjoy the visuals. Bring earplugs.


2 1/2 out of 5

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Mike Phalin

Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.

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