Rental Review: Chain Letter Simon Fitzjohn April 29, 2011 DVDs & Rentals 1956 A gore-fest starring the likes of genre legends Brad Dourif and Keith David, as well as featuring a creepy killer offing a bunch of teens in inventive ways – this was going to be fun, right? Well, for the first 30 minutes or so it really is, leaving me scratching my head as to why it inspired the vitriol shoveled its way after a brief US cinema release last year. But then we get a soggy mid-section and a mind-boggling ending (or what the makers of this claim is an ‘ending’) and suddenly the backlash made perfect sense. To try and explain the plot itself is confusing enough – a bunch of high-school hotties get a chain letter email/text, telling them to forward it on within 24 hours otherwise someone will lose a life. So far, so simple, but we eventually learn that this is the doing of an anti-technology group (supposedly), who are seeking to put paid to the ‘evils’ of the modern world by……you’ve guessed it, using that same technology. The whole premise is pure tosh, and so much of it is left unexplained that you wonder if there was ever a completed script to begin with. There are plenty of neat death scenes, although even they do not always make sense – in one a gym freak is hauled up by chains, just so the killer can slash his achilles tendons and then let him down – why go to all that bother? The leads are attractive enough (including Nikki Reed of Twilight ‘fame’), but there are so many dead-ends, stupid decisions and redundant twists that this becomes tiresome pretty quickly. Dourif appears as a creepy lecturer (who also hosts the shortest class in film history with one lesson lasting no more than one minute) who may or may not be involved – we never really know. David has an underwritten role as the detective on the case, one of those police types that only exists in the movies – having hunches for no reason and wandering off into abandoned premises without calling for back-up, that sort of thing. For some reason as well the entire thing is filmed in a state of near perpetual darkness and driving rain, making a lot of the scenes hard to follow, and none of the kids seem to have any parents at all – all of the leads are home alone in nearly every scene! Even so, this was still far from the worst film I have seen – and then the thing just ends. No explanation, no conclusion, no nothing – it simply ends and the credits roll. The only thing I can say is in a film chock-full of so many clichés this was the first thing to genuinely catch me by surprise – but I suppose that does not really count as a recommendation.