December 20, 2005

One Step Closer (2005)

(AKA The Final Patient)

"Retired physician Daniel Green has uncovered the key to eternal youth. But when two curious med students try to unravel the enigma behind his bizarre secret, they soon discover that Dr. Green's 'miracle' comes with a horrifying price... and a fate far worse than growing old."

The third of my trilogy of Friday night DVD rentals was a low budget ($482,000!!!!) offering called "One Step Closer" which was supposedly in the tradition of "The Green Mile" according to the DVD sleeve.

It starts off with a Casper Van Dien lookalike in bandages in a hospital talking to two doctors about how "Mrs Green is here" and how she leaves candy wrappers everywhere. He has one in his hand. They tell him that Dr and Mrs Green are dead and that nobody can get in as they have security. The scene then cuts to presumably what happened earlier.

Little kids playing round an old black doctor's house knock a tractor off its blocks and one of them gets his leg squished underneath. The others run and get the doctor who is an old feller but big and tall (like the guy in "The Green Mile"?) and has enormous strength which he uses to lift the tractor and pull the kid out. True enough Bill Cobbs does look a bit like an older version of Michael Clarke Duncan mixed with Bill Cosby then stretched but it is an even bigger stretch to see this as being anything like "The Green Mile". The ambulance and sheriff turn up and that's seems to be that... a miraculous lifting and rescue... so what else could there be to this story?

The sheriff tells the story in a bar and the locals join in with weird tales of Dr Green and his enormous strength. Dr Green, hmmm. "The Green Mile", hmmm. Oh I get the connection now!

Anyway, two "medical students" overhear the conversation and pay a visit on the doctor to find out if the tales are true. He invites them to "supper" later of chilli and they bring some beer.

Now, the doctor has three secrets. 1) He has a secret strength enhancing formula, 2) His wife is some kind of deformed psycho monster who likes sweets, 3) He has a dead son whose ghost visits his wife and eats butterscotch in the middle of the night. Yup, we're talking complete nutter here. Add the fact that he is going a bit senile and wears his pajamas shirt all the time and you get the picture.

The students eventually get the doctor drunk enough to tell them the secret of his formula made from rattlesnake venom and then while the doctor snoozes (and during a power outtage just for sppoky effect!) they look for a sample of the formula.

But Mrs Green is having a particularly bad night and comes out and runs amok and once those five minutes are over we are back to the hospital where she is hiding under the floorboards of the nasty one of the students who has survived. And that's it!

It's a pile of slow moving cack. I was willing to allow the pace as it sort of matched the slowness of the old feller. But it was a lot of talk for nothing. There were so many good ideas in the film but too many were not realised and it was ultimately pointless. What was the point of the dead son? Was it just to show that the woman was mental? We'd guessed that anyway!

Was the magic potion supposed to have side effects? Apart from causing a bleeding nose, was it supposed to deform you like Mrs Green? Was that why the doctor was reminiscent about how the drugs didn't work on his son? What was the moral of this tale? Don't play with tractors that are up on blocks? Perhaps it was don't have a Casper Van Dien lookalike as a friend if you want to live? I'm sure Alex Feldman will love me for that!

Honestly, don't waste your money on this rubbish. Paint a wall and watch it dry instead. It'll be much more beneficial and you will have the added satisfaction of having a nice new colour in your living room.

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