The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (2001)
You may or may not have known that my Patriots lost in the Super Bowl this year. Yes, it hurt immensely. You also may or may not have known that prior to the game, I made a friendly wager with Fred Young, aka Fred the Wolf, proprietor of the great site Full Moon Reviews, and fan of the New York Football Giants. The bet: the fan of the winning team gets to pick a movie for the loser to review, and Fred gave me this one, a low-budget slasher flick with Teen Star Chad Allen and Joey "Joseph" Lawrence. Let the pain commence.
Do You Wanna Know a Secret? is about a group of affluent kids who attend a small Connecticut liberal arts college, and go to Florida for Spring Break to party it up. Haunting one of the girls in the group is the grisly murder of her boyfriend however many years before, and when a kid that's giving her a hard time at a rave is murdered, FBI detective Jeff Conaway thinks there's a connection. Then when the rest of her friends are offed, he realized he's probably right, it's just a matter of whether he can put things together in time to save at least a couple of them.
Whoa! If this didn't have like an hour of dead space to start us off, it could've been a lot of fun; but it did, and it wasted that space in a most annoying way. This group of friends have this thing where they like to sneak up on and startle each other. That's what the bulk of the first hour is, the idea that someone might die, but instead it's not the killer, just another friend trying to freak out the other. Once or twice is cool, but ten times, you've more than spent that nickel. That's kind of too bad, because this could've been a lot of fun, especially with Teen Star Chad Allen, Joey "Joseph" Lawrence, Jeff Conaway, and veteran character actor Jack McGee (trying and failing to affect a Southern accent). The kills, when they were there, were fun too in a bad-teen-slasher kind of way. The problem is, you can't create a pile of one-dimensional bad slasher film stereotypes, then expect us to enjoy watching them startle each other for an hour.
I loved seeing Teen Star Chad Allen here. You might be wondering why I'm adding the "Teen Star" to his name. Long story short, I bumped into a buddy at the mall about 15 years ago, we sat in the food court to catch up, and somehow our conversation devolved into us pointing people out and saying who they looked like, and I saw someone who looked like Chad Allen. For some reason, I needed to call him "Teen Star Chad Allen", and the name has stuck. I get so few opportunities to use it, so I'm going for it here. Also, if you're wondering, my pointing out the Teen Star Chad Allen look-a-like did lead to my buddy and I discussing the TV movie Camp Cucamonga. (Look that movie up and see how many big names are in it. Amazing flick.)
Whoa! Joey "Joseph" Lawrence is in this as the girlfriend's new boyfriend. I love that he went the Joseph route, a la Rick Schroeder. People that are new to this blog may not realize that when I started the DTVC, back in 2007, I went by the name "Matty", meaning I get what Lawrence is going through here. After a few years, I just felt like I needed to shake that teen blogger image, so I went back and changed everything to "Matthew", just to give things a more mature feel. People don't realize that I also had a pop song out in the mid 90s, and used to appear regularly in Tiger Beat magazine. Alas, I've since realized that I can't escape my boyish good looks, even in my early 30s, so I've decided to go back and embrace my Matty past. Whoa!
The Final Girl was played by someone who was exceedingly Reese Witherspoon-esque. I mean, I don't know if she could've been more Reese Witherspoon-y if she'd been caught in a love triangle between Teen Star Chad Allen and Joey "Joseph" Lawrence, and approached the whole thing with an "awe shucks, I'm just a down-to-Earth down-home girl that just wants to go to the fair and eat some funnel cake, and instead I got these two dreamy hunks fighting over me!" Unfortunately, our Final Girl fell short of the precociousness that made Witherspoon Witherspoon, and thus makes her only Witherspoon-ish. A Romantic Comedy/Teen Slasher flick starring Teen Star Chad Allen, Joey "Joseph" Lawrence, and a Reese Witherspoon-ian lead actress would've been fantastic. Throw in Jaleel White, Ben Savage, and Melissa Joan Hart, and this could be the best thing ever.
Unfortunately, one actor that wouldn't make it into this remake I'm proposing is the late Jeff Conaway. In '01 he was probably having a tough time, probably fighting his demons and his addictions, which were all well documented. That's probably why he wasn't in the movie more-- and maybe why so much of the first hour was so boring, because Conaway was absent throughout that-- which is too bad, because he was pretty sweet as the hard boiled detective trying to crack this old case that's haunted him for years. I love Conaway, and I love seeing him in anything, so he was a welcomed addition here. Rest in peace Jeff Conaway, you were one of the good ones.
This is currently available on Watch Instantly. I don't know, it depends on how much 90s nostalgia you have a hankering for, because this is a bit of a painfest. I could only amuse myself so much with a Whoa! every time Joey "Joseph" Lawrence spoke, before I was bored to tears in that action-less first hour or so. Could've been fun, seems like it should be fun, but isn't fun. Go dig up Camp Cucamonga if it's nostalgia you're after. As for me and my future betting, well, my Boston teams aren't looking so hot right now, so I may put that on the shelf.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0267440/