Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cries in the Dark

Cries in the Dark is terrible. Just awful. There's never any doubt who the bad guy is. There's never any doubt as to what happened. Some films can use this viewer's knowledge as a strength. The bad guy is revealed within the first minutes of Spoorloos. You have an idea of what happened to the victim. The horror comes from the grim inevitability of it all. Spoorloos made my testicles retract. Cries in the Dark, not so much.

We open at a real estate agency owned by a couple. The wife is very much pregnant. It is immediately revealed to the audience that the husband is a loathsome guy. He cares too much about work, is thoughtless, and his teeth are too white. Seriously. You see their wedding picture and think, "Hey, his smile is too bright. Evil!"

The husband, hilariously named Scott, runs off to a meeting leaving the wife behind to meet with people interested in buying some property. The dude who comes in is a grade-A creepster. He makes untoward comments towards the pregnant real estate agent, Elle. She boots him out, but not before he steals her handkerchief.

Elle heads to a doctor's appointment. There she runs into Rosa. Now, we just learned how refined Elle's creep-dar is. She can sniff out a creep from a mile away. Right? Well, no. Rosa is super-creepy. Like, clearly a sociopath. That doesn't stop Elle from giving Rosa her address.

That night, Elle and her cop sister, Carrie, prepare dinner. Scott, because he's a bad dude, cancels at the last minute because of a mix-up at the office. Elle is hurt. She feels alone. Carrie then pulls the same bullshit but gets a free pass because the night is ruined anyways. Also, she's a cop. I guess her work is more important than selling houses.

Elle disappears that night. Rosa shows up the next morning with a brand new baby. There can be no doubt in the viewer's mind what happened. None. Did I mention that this all happened by 9:20pm? I had to sit through another 100 minutes of this garbage even though the plot was now nothing but a big bag of inevitabilities.

So how to spend that 100 minutes?

About 30 minutes are spent on chasing the creepy dude. Naturally, because this is a Lifetime movie, the creepster is actually a convicted rapist. I don't know what's worse: being a rapist or being an obvious red herring. After a few chase scenes the rapist is caught and exonerated. His alibi was, I swear to God, that he was out trying to rape some other lady. The other lady confirms this.


A motive is discovered when some volunteers find Elle's dead body sans fetus. It's a weirdly compelling scene. The volunteer who finds Elle doesn't scream for help. He finds a bloody corpse, walks up to it, and then kneels over it. He's staring the whole time. He looks excited. It's weird that the creepiest thing about the movie is this detached reaction to this bloody mayhem. The scene should have a place in a better movie.

Carrie and Scott are both wrecks. At one point, Carrie and Elle's mom calls the former a bad cop for not finding her sister's killer. Like, thanks, Mom. The case is finally cracked when it becomes apparent that Scott had an affair with a crazy woman....Rosa! Rose was a dental hygienist. The big joke is that she is obsessed with white teeth. Scott's pearly whites clearly pass her sexxxin' litmus test. What was a one night stand for Scott was a betrayal for Rosa. She is obsessed with Scott and wants to start a family with him. Since she had a hysterectomy eight years ago, Elle's fetus is her only hope.

Rosa, with gun, takes Scott hostage in his house. The baby, mostly healthy although a little jaundiced, is there too. Carrie breaks in through the attic and distracts Rosa. Scott tries to run off with the baby and is shot in the back for his troubles. Carrie tackles Rosa, grabs her gun, and makes the arrest.

Carrie confronts Rosa after the latter makes her confession. Rosa admits to seeing Carrie the day of the abduction. The film then flashes back to Rosa taking Elle at gun point and throwing her in the trunk of a car while she pleads for her life. This tacky additional scene leaves a sour taste in mouth.

Rosa then asks Carrie if she can see her baby. She claims it's her child to the very end.

I know asking for unpredictability in a Lifetime movie is a fool's exercise. But, Christ on the cross, I could have made a 45-minute version of Cries in the Dark that would have been just as effective. Excuse me. "Effective." The scare quotes are necessary.

Actual Awesomeness: 4

The movie sucked. The actors acquitted themselves well. All of them save for Adrian Holmes who was just terrible. The biggest technical problem was the sound mixing. Lots of dialogue was lost to echoes and mumbling. The direction was pedestrian, but not aggressively bad.

Ironic Awesomeness: 4

There aren't enough wacky plot twists or melodramatic scenes to make this one unintentionally hilarious. The weird scene where they find Elle's body and the tacked-on abduction scene were both out of place and made the film more serious than warranted.

Hey! It's That Guy!: 1

Other than Eva La Rue from CSI: Miami, there is no one famous in this movie. Calling Eva La Rue famous is actually stretching it.

Lifetimeness: 8

Out of the three male characters, one's a rapist and the other's a cheat. The movie plays on crazy fears of losing a baby. There are countless scenes of mother-daughter awkwardness. I've said some pretty nasty things about this movie. But don't get me wrong, it screams Lifetime.


There was so much more room for improvement here. Maybe if the rapist attacked Rosa. Or if the acting was worse. Or, Hell, if the husband was the mastermind behind the whole thing. It needed that something extra. As is, I can't recommend it.


MJ said...

Can anyone recall the inscription in the baby book? Something about love and the night...the only warm moment shared between Carrie and the mom.

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Rusty said...

I believe it was "Loves and Likes."

Sharon said...

Lifetime movies aren't always this bad......I think this one was intentionally bad though. Did you notice the chief cop has an American flag patch on his sleeve that is backwards??? Then, in a scene where he has a jacket on, it also has a flag patch that's backward.


Anonymous said...

the flags are supposed to be backwards lol if you knew anything about the military you'd know why

Anonymous said...

I think the movie is AWESOME

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