Student Voice


May 21, 2024



Unoriginal films tend to mimic each other, disappoint viewers

September 18, 2009

The gloves are off and my knuckles are singing like the Buffalo Grove Expressions show-choir at Carnegie Hall.

First let me welcome everyone back to our lovely campus—it’s really good to see the weaving veins of campus pulsating with student life again. Summer dragged on an extra week, if you ask me, so I’m more than ready to joust my way through the semester. One thing I count on during the summer time is good entertainment on all fronts: live music, festivals, fairs, contests, and above all, movies. Most live entertainment is great due to the fact that it’s just that: live. You can’t complain about a free concert, even if the band sucks. In the end, if the washed out 80’s metal group sounds about on par with a dying whale, then you can, at the very least, whine “it WAS free…”

But I want to take a look at the movies and how what we can end up watching is a mere reflection of itself. Take the movie “Hostel,” for example. Now I know “Hostel” is the landmark and monument behind all torture porn films, but I want one more crack at it. Paired up with its direct sequel, the “Saw” franchise, the recent, fourth friggin’ sequel in the “Final Destination” abomination, and countless other death movies—they all showcase mostly innocent death in the most far-fetched, unrealistic and psychologically traumatizing ways, but we all pay to see it.

The actual film “Hostel” is somewhat of a mirror on itself: rich folk paying to watch youngsters be strapped to a chair and, in all honestly, be utterly destroyed by evil forces. But that’s exactly what you, the viewer are doing—paying to watch people be killed. The lack of storyline or development whatsoever makes us or anyone who forked over eight bucks to see it just as guilty as the richly powersthatbe in the movie. I don’t understand the draw, and if I did, I might have dished out a wad of cash to check it out in theatres back in ‘06. But I neglected the universal, filmic bloodlust until my new roommate popped the ludicrous piece of junk into our DVD player.

I’ll happily admit that the copy of “Hostel” we watched was pirated. I hope Eli Roth reads that and gets pissed, because that’d be awfully ironic if he threw a hissy-fit over the piracy of his film, but not the heinous films he throws together. A big shot producer in Hollywood demands money, but wants something different, so they hire somewhat experienced Roth to script out some needless mayhem and BOOM—many millions of dollars later, they’ve made a profit. Sweet.

Here’s the interesting thing, though—I can actually appreciate what Roth and some of these other hacks are trying to do. They’re attempting, on every watered down and tasteless level, to make sense of monotonous carnage. Why are characters like The Joker and Anton Chigurh (“No Country for Old Men”) so popular? Why do these actors win awards? Why is freaking Hannibal the Cannibal so goddamn interesting? Depth—that’s why. Roth tries to bring out answers in one of his corpse-cutting, Achilles tendon-tearing surgeons, but it doesn’t go very far, ‘cause just about when he’s about to say something interesting, BAM—a rusty chainsaw gets busted out and limbs start flying everywhere.

There’s nothing there. “The Final Destination” makes no sense to me. How many times can you showcase coincidence as a murder victim? How many different ways can you show people dying of accidents? How many final destinations can there be? All four of these films are the same movie! I have an idea: let’s reinvent the Destination saga by introducing the Grim farkin’ Reaper as a character. Wouldn’t that be badass? I think that that would be a hell of a lot more interesting than watching a pretty, cleavage bearing brunette get sucked into the meat-grinding vacuum of a misguided escalator… then again, that is pretty dramatic… I wonder who thought of that? Tune in next week when I report in hieroglyphic PigLatin

Brad Brookins is a graduate of UW-River Falls.