A lot of buzz surrounded the recent opening of the film Escapee in our local theatre. The local girl-gone-Hollywood, Faith Ford, starred in and produced the film with her husband, Campion Murphy. It was filmed entirely in our small community, and many locals were used as extras or actual roles in the film.
I really had no interest in seeing the movie, because it’s a horror film. Well, it’s supposed to be a horror film. Initial reviews from several friends of mine indicated that it was not scary, but instead, unintentionally funny. That, of course, peaked my interest. Since the blockbuster was only opening at two theatres in Louisiana for an entire two weeks, I had to act fast. This past weekend, I decided to go and see what the ruckus was about. Big E was the perfect date for this movie. So I asked him if he’d consider unplugging himself from his XBox live long enough to go and see it with me.
“What it is about?”
“Well, it’s supposed to be a horror movie, but apparently it’s so awful that it’s hilarious. We would have a great time laughing at how terrible it is. You in?”
“Um. Yeah. I can do that.”
When we arrived, Faith Ford herself was in the theatre signing autographs and taking photos with people, and her husband was talking in a much too loud voice telling everyone in the theatre all the “cool things” about the film. Big E had never heard of Faith Ford, and didn’t recognize any google image results I showed him. As we chose our seats and sat down, and old man in the seat behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “That’s Faith Hill down there!” He was so excited. “Really?!” I responded. It took his wife like 4 times to make him realize his error. Big E said, “See, you are the only person who even knows who she is.”
Okay, enough with the back story, let’s get to the movie. Escapee stars Faith
Hill Ford, who plays a detective in the small town of PiNeville, Louisiana (as evidenced by the electrical tape covering up the P and the I on the Pineville police cars used in the film). The local community (consisting of approximately 8 people, total.) is rocked when Jaxson, played by Dominic Purcell, a convicted murderer escapes from the local mental hospital.
Cast of Characters:
Detective Alison Jensen – Faith Ford is a decent actress. The best acting she did in this film was keeping a straight face when trading lines with the character she interacted with most during the course of the story, Chief Gaines.
Chief Gaines – Apparently, David Jensen is a Louisiana native with nearly 60 movies and/or television jobs under his belt. How the hell that happened I’ll never understand. Watching him try to act was like watching a one armed man try to climb a ladder. It was awkward. It was scary. Maybe that’s where the “horror” movie part came in.
Abby – played by someone you’ve never heard of. And there’s a reason for this. Abby is supposed to be the main character. Maybe. Anyway, the escaped killer was after her. So I guess in the “keyhole essay’ format of horror films, this makes her the main character.
Token Underwear Screamer, aka “Renee” – You get the idea. She’s Abby’s roommate. She is in a bra and panties for the majority of her on-screen time. And she screams a lot.
Lynne Petersen – Abby’s other roommate. I still don’t really understand why this character even existed. I guess she played an important role in that she answered the phone once or twice and made some tea.
Detective Pars – played by Kadeem Hardison – You remember him, right? He played Dwayne Wayne on A Different World in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He doesn’t look like he did before. He’s now a rather plump, middle aged man with graying hair. That didn’t stop the casting director from choosing him to play Detective Pars, who is supposed to be a flirtatious womanizer. This is so subtly alluded to throughout the film it makes you think that the director or the actors themselves realized what a stretch this was, and so they weren’t trying to make you drink the kool-aid. They forgot to tell Kadeem, however, and he continued to wink and nod as though we all knew what the hell he was talking about.
Officer Carter Thomas – played by, oh who cares. It’s not important. He is supposed to play some sort of important role in the plot, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what that important role is. In the end, he is arrested for being related to the escaped killer. What? Oh, yeah, that’s right.
I mentioned a key-hole essay formula for horror movies. Here it is:
Opening scene: Killer committing original crime. It’s creepy, I’ll give you that. But they don’t show his face the entire scene, and the next scene, they catch him, and they show his face. I didn’t get the point of not showing his face during the opening if you’re just gonna give it up like that in the very next scene. Whatever.
Fast forward 5 years, and Killer is in a mental hospital. A group of college students taking a Psych class is touring the hospital, when suddenly they have to face the wall and allow a “high risk patient” to pass. Abby, who has some seemingly important (though never mentioned again) history of having a mentally ill father who committed suicide at age 9, looks up at Killer and he jumps on her, knocking her to the ground and whispers in her ear ‘You’re mine.” The guards take waaaaay to long to get him off of her. And then the main guard throws his arm across the front of his body as if to say, “Man! We suck!” Yes, yes you do.
Next scene, Abby goes home where her roommate, Lynne Petersen is waiting for her to feed her. Lynne appears to be about 19. She also had two arms, but she begged Abby to make her mac and cheese. Abby obliged. It was like mac and cheese soup, but she did it. Then she told Lynne about being attacked at the hospital.
Go back to the hospital, Killer is in a solitary confinement holding cell. He fakes an injury and spits up blood, luring the guard into the cell, where he kills him violently. Then he makes his way down the hallway and kills another guard. Then he goes to the laundry room and strangles a guy with a towel. Then he escapes.
Go back to the house. Token underwear screamer arrives at home. It’s started storming, and so when she comes inside, soaking wet, she immediately strips down to her underwear. She is supposed to get ready for a tailgate party with her boyfriend, Kile.
Cut to the hospital, where Faith
Hill Ford is crouched over a body lying in a puddle of blood, and she says, I kid you not, “So, this is the victim?”
-INSERT FIRST INSTANCE OF BIG E AND I PRACTICALLY ROLLING AROUND ON THE FLOOR HERE.-
Another officer says, “Yes. And we found another body in the laundry room.”
“So, that’s three victims?”
“Yes. That guy was apparently strangled with a towel.”
They both make a face as though the strangled victim is so much more horrid than the stab victim who bled out over whom they are conversing. ??
Anyway, cut back to the house. The girls are making lots of tongue-in-cheek references to how Token Underwear Screamer is going to give it up to her boyfriend. The whole conversation is gross and unrealistic. Girls just don’t talk that way. ‘Cept maybe in horror movies. Abby goes into the storage room, and the door locks itself from the inside. She is scared. The other girls open the door, and they have a long discussion about how disturbing it is to them that the door knob is not working. They decide their best plan of action is the “prop it open” until they can get the handyman out to fix it. (yeah, okay.) Note: foreshadowing.
Cut to the police station. Chief Gaines tells Faith
Hill Ford that they don’t want to scare anyone, so he wants to keep this hush hush. He doesn’t want to “tip this guy off”. (Yeah, God forbid Killer finds out that you guys are looking for him.)
Cut back to the woods, where Killer walks out into the road and lays down in the path of an oncoming truck.
Cut back to the house, where Token Underwear Screamer leaves with her boyfriend. Abby and Lynne decide to make some hot tea. (The first of about 4 cups of tea they drink before the night is over). They talk about dumb stuff, with either no emotion or way too much emotion. I can’t remember which. Then Lynne decides she should call Mack, their handyman, about that doorknob. Because it’s just that important. She gets his voicemail, and leaves him a flirty message to entice him to help them out faster. Gross.
Cut back to the police station, where literally 10 minutes may have just passed, and Chief Gaines has called Faith
Hill Ford to his office and says, “Ya caught ’em yet?”
INSERT HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER HERE.
“Um. No, Chief. But we are working on it.” Again, Faith
Hill Ford manages to keep a straight face. She deserves an Oscar for this role, guys. Seriously.
“Well, you gotta get this guy! I’m losing sleep over this!”
Really? You’re losing sleep? It’s like 2 hours after Killer escaped, and it’s only about 8 p.m. But whatever.
At this point, it’s getting very difficult for Big E and I to contain our hysterical laughing. No one else in the theatre was laughing, and Faith
Hill Ford’s biggest fan is sitting behind us, probably getting very irritated at our acting like total 4th graders in the movie theater. We cared a little. No, no. We really didn’t. But trying to contain our laughter just made it all the more funny. It was painful, really.
Cut back to the woods, where Killer has pulled a truck off the road, dragged the driver’s body into the woods, and is pouring gasoline all over an old yellow, Ford extended cab truck with tool boxes along the sides of the bed. The truck also has a placard on the door, which reads “Mack’s Handyman Service” or something like that. Ooooooohhhhh.
Big E and I immediately turned to each other and in voices that was probably much too loud, said in unison “Let me kill this guy and steal his truck, but I’m not going to GO ANYWHERE IN IT!”
I’m not going to ruin the whole movie for you guys, (hee hee) but I have to tell you this one last thing. In one of the few next scenes, the police are standing around a recently burned, white Chevrolet truck with no metal toolboxes on the bed, with a “Mack’s Handyman Services” placard on the door.
This is pretty much where Big E and I lost it completely. We didn’t even attempt to hide our blatant disdain for the quality of this film.
And the ending. Was. Ridiculous.
When the movie ended, Big E and I raced down the steps, crying and laughing and crying, ran out to the car, where we collapsed in total hysteria.
It the was worst movie I have EVER seen, for more reasons than I’ve said here. And I’ve NEVER had a better time at the theatre. It was awesome.
I’m thinking about seeing it again before it leaves the theatre. I’ll post on Facebook when I plan to go, and if you’d like to come along, you’re welcome to.