August 2, 2013

Unlucky Charms (2013)

"Five girls vie for a chance to model diva Deedee DeVille's fashion line, but they're soon competing for their lives against four mythical beings, led by the mischievous Farr Darrig."

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, this typical Full Moon production with a shorter than average running time of 70 minutes (including drawn-out opening titles and end credits) isn't something which I was too eager to watch, but I'm glad I did just so that I could dismiss it as an updated version of "Spellcaster" (1988).

I'm sure that Charles Band is quite familiar with "Spellcaster" since his very own Empire Pictures produced and distributed it (and he is named as Executive Producer at the beginning!), but that's all that really needs to be said about that film. Apart from starring Bunty Bailey (the girl in A-Ha's "Take on Me" video) and having Adam Ant in a small role at the end, it's not exactly memorable. The subject matter of both movies is clearly similar but not identical, and even if it was, nobody cares. It's hardly a crime to clone your own products.

Without such "cloning", we wouldn't have a dozen installments of the "Puppetmaster" series, or the spin-offs which aren't much different. Charles Band is obviously not the only producer/director to do this either. Everyone from Bill Zebub to Roger Corman has frugally rehashed the same plots, dialogue, and ensemble casts in their z-grade "B movies", and I'm not going to condemn any of them for it. Hell, there are no new stories to be told anyway, so all any filmmaker can do is update the actors and locations.

Numbers 1, 3, and 4 please... in that order.

"Unlucky Charms" is only a quick satire which showcases some models/actresses, their boobs, and some cheap-looking effects anyway. It's not a serious horror movie by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it meant to be, but it's what Full Moon fans generally like. I'm still not sure which side of the fence I sit on when it comes to Full Moon. Some Full Moon movies have been very good, but most have been absolutely terrible. If pressed on the matter, I prefer the "Trancers" series, followed by "Subspecies", but I don't really care for any of their most recent titles.

Maybe the new Full Moon has become yet another hipster thing which I'm too old, jaded, and grumpy to buy into. I noticed a lot of people on Twitter talking about "Unlucky Charms" who I would never classify as "horror fans", so Full Moon must be doing something right for them. Ironic comedy will only take you so far though if the overall quality isn't there. Sadly, I've switched more Full Moon movies off through boredom than I've completed, but I did make it all the way through this one. How and why exactly, I don't know. Perhaps it was the boobs.

Although I can say that Seth Peterson is very good as Pirl, Nathan Phillips is competent as the leprechaun Farr Darrig, and beautiful Nikki Leigh is my favourite out of the models, I wasn't so enamoured by the rest of the cast or what they had to work with. It's not that anybody is absolutely horrible in their roles, but they aren't great either. Of course, nobody has to be pitch-perfect in a B movie, but it makes things far more entertaining if the cast can "do a bit" rather than just play dress-up... or take-your-dress-off, as the case may be.

"Unlucky Charms" looks good, has an okay-ish story, and it's quick enough over the ground to not be boring. It's just not very original, and if the moral of the tale is that looks aren't everything, it shoots itself in the foot with its own self-criticism.

Thus, while the plot may be amusing to anyone who loathes TV contest shows such as "America's Next Top Model" and would love to see those narcissistic bimbos destroyed by various creatures from Irish folklore, "Unlucky Charms" didn't do much for me. Give or take some magic, a few supernatural entities, and a sleazy MTV-style VJ, I really have seen it all before.

Only saying...

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