Lover's Lane (1999)
Starring Diedre (Still Doing the Safety Dance) Kilgore, Anna (Scary Movie) Faris, and Erin J. (Lolita) Dean
Directed by Jon Steven Ward
***Editor's Note: This review originally appeared on our old site. Enjoy!***
This example of "stalk the straight white people and watch them die" horror boasts an incredibly complicated premise. Allow me to attempt a summary. Bear with me, folks. This could get sticky.
Lovers Lane opens with a holiday-themed prologue, as all slasher flicks worth their weight in Karo syrup should. Thirteen years ago, on Valentine's Day, a cop named Tom arrives at a grisly crime scene. Somebody has attacked several patrons of the titular location; Tom is shocked to discover his own wife among the victims. Tom's brother Jack (the local shrink) is on-hand to explain that the alleged killer was obsessed with Tom's wife and snuffed her out when he saw her locking lips with another man.
This touching family moment is observed by Mandy, Tom's four-year-old daughter. You see, Daddy thought it good parenting to leave his child in the patrol car, unattended, while he checked out the carnage. Mandy wanders through the mayhem and places a heart-shaped box of chocolates on her mother's bloodied corpse. Ahh...the innocence of youth.
And that concludes the movie's first four minutes. Whew!
The action then picks up in present day. Tom is now the sheriff. Jack runs the local asylum. Mandy is an outcast at her high school. Her classmates include Jack's slutty daughter Chloe, cheerleader Jannelle, and assorted victims-to-be.
And how's this for convoluted? Remember the dude that was killed with Mandy's mom? His widow (Penny) is the school's principal, and their son Michael is also on the student roster. Michael has no idea how his father actually died. But then again, he never seems to notice the really bad wig that the actress playing his mother is forced to wear.
Needless to say, Valentine's Day rolls around and bodies begin to rip apart like so many cheap garbage bags.
Although by no means is this quality cinema, there are several things about it that I enjoyed. I especially admired its desire to hock one up and spit it in the face of the Scream movies (and their countless imitators). Lovers Lane not only avoids a sense of self-referential mockery, it appears to have no idea that it is trotting out every slasher cliché in existence. It embraces them. Lovingly. We are treated to: cars that won't start, lights that don't work, chicks that fall down, flashlights that go dead at crucial moments, and a false scare involving a cat making a well-timed jump through the window. The list goes on and on. It is also refreshing that the characters seem to be genuinely upset that their friends are being slaughtered. They scream, cry, and swear, instead of simply shrugging it off and moving forward with the next plot contrivance. And there are a few intentionally humorous lines to be discovered. Also, it must be noted, the acting is somewhat above average for this sort of thing.
And now for the not so great...the effects are minimal, with several deaths occurring off-screen. The lighting is terrible; you'll spend half your time squinting. And then the climax involves so many people running around with hooks on their hands (did I mention the escaped lunatic?), you'd swear there was an Urban Legend convention in town.
With all apologies to Joe Bob Briggs, let's take a look at the all-important totals:
The Video Box Tagline: "You're Screwed" and "There is no safe sex"
Genuine Suspense: Not a drop to be found.
The Gore Factor: Relatively effective. But way too skimpy.
Gratuitous Nudity (female): Two pairs of breasts. One belongs to a painfully obvious body-double.
Gratuitous Nudity (male): None.
Sex: Only in the "chick takes her shirt off and sits on the fully-clothed guy's lap" variety.
Who will survive and what will be left of their careers: Anna (Scary Movie) Faris plays the "cheerleader". We know she is a cheerleader because she never once changes out of her ready-for-the-big-game outfit. And Richard Sanders ("WKRP"'s own Les Nessman) contributes an uncanny impression of Jeffery Combs.
Most memorable moment: The slutty girl (she has no other defining characteristics) attempts to seduce her ex-boyfriend's best friend. Her technique, you ask? She whips off her shirt, straddles him, and screeches "You're gonna fuck me right now or I'll kill your faggot ass, myself!" Who could resist the charms of such a silver tongued minx?
Final analysis: Down a few cold ones and enjoy a return to simpler times. Back when little things like scripts, budgets, and knowing winks were not required.
"He's back. With revenge in his heart...and a hook!"
2 1/2 out of 5
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