A surprisingly intelligent suspense/horror film. Notice the dual title I gave to it? Yeah, that's because it takes elements from both to make a much better movie. I'm really surprised they canceled the critics' screenings for this because I honestly think it would get good reviews from quite a few critics. Maybe I'm wrong. Either way, it starts off in post-Scream slasher mode before kicking things into gear. It quickly takes on the trappings of the urban legend/parable/whatever that the title is derived from, with a group of spoiled rich kids deciding to trick their private school into thinking there's a killer on campus. Trouble is...there actually might be. The two leads, Julian Morris and Lindy Booth are both actually very good. Booth, who did almost nothing in the Dawn of the Dead remake, shines brightest, mixing girl-next-door charm with a lying, manipulative alter-ego. And it makes sense because her character uses the former so she can accomplish the latter. Another surprising stand-out is...Jon Bon Jovi? Yeah, the guy can actually act. He skirts the line a few times but he's definitely believable as an English teacher. His story arc is also kind of funny when you consider his career, and what that likely entailed during the '80s. So once again, not a stretch. The only flaw I could see with the movie is that it seems a little calculating. At points, it seems like it's intentionally trying to avoid teen horror clichés. For example, a victim is being chased and instead of running out a door, he tries to trick the killer into thinking he has. Smart. Probably too smart for a high school student, but at least it's a change from the same run, scream, hide, run again, knife to the throat routine. Speaking of that tired old routine and the rating it usually causes, this is probably the first time in years where I actually felt a PG-13 rating was warranted. Making this an R horror movie would've killed any semblance of logic. Here the violence isn't necessarily what's supposed to frighten you. Human nature is. Their lies are what bring about the conclusion, which is infinitely darker than anything Jason Vorhees has ever done.
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Eight unsuspecting high school seniors at a posh boarding school, who delight themselves on playing games of lies, come face-to-face with terror and learn that nobody believes a liar - even when they're telling the truth.
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April 4, 2019