Circumstances beyond my control interrupted my viewing of Nightmare Street. It's too bad, since Nightmare Street was shaping up to be the best Lifetime movie in the history of womankind. Alas, I had to settle for Pavement the next day. Pavement was... well, it was something. It clearly wasn't originally a Lifetime movie. It had some bleeped out swear words and did not match Lifetime's award winning formula. But I double checked and it was never released in theaters. So if it's good enough for the Lifetime Movie Network, it's good enough for me.
Pavement opens in a hospital room. A woman is giving birth and something has gone wrong. A debate breaks out between the doctors. One is arguing that a baby so disabled shouldn't be brought into this world. The other argues that that isn't their decision to make. Surprisingly, the bad doctor is the one who says it's not their place to play God. I didn't know Christian Scientists could become doctors.
The film suddenly shifts to San Francisco. Because the movie is trying to evoke/rip-off Seven, the city is shot through a filter to make everything grimy. We're at an apartment where a no-nonsense female homicide detective is checking out a grisly murder scene. A woman has been found rotting. She also was stuck with over 100 needles. "I love a woman in uniform" is written on the wall in blood. Foul play is suspected.
You can tell that the detective, Buckley Clarke, is serious. She refuses to uses smelling salts and is the first one to move the body to check for maggots. She also drinks coffee so strong that even her most masculine colleagues won't have a sip. All of this is short-hand for "tough broad."
Buckley does find a phone number with an Alaska area code. And just like that the film takes us to the Alaskan tundra. There we meet Samuel Brown. Sam is a professional tracker. He's been hired by some ranchers whose cows are being slaughtered by a "lone alpha wolf" with "brain fever." Sam helpfully reminds the audience, "Alpha means strongest." Thanks, Sam!
Sam hunts down the wolf with his trusty tracking stick and his bare hands. Oh. And a knife. The knife is important. Sam stabs the shit out of the wolf and then looks to the sky and howls.
Ok, the howling didn't really happen. But, dag nab it, it should have.
Sam gets a call telling him his sister in San Francisco has been murdered. After some reflection, Sam decides to go to California and track the killer down himself. The first step is to break into the dead sister's apartment to look for clues. He retrieves some personal belongings, but not before he's spotted by Buckley. Before she can apprehend him, he rappels (seriously) out the bathroom window.
That night, the serial killer shows up at another woman's house. We know it's the same dude because he likes to rip the name of his victims off of their mail box. He's decked out in Buffalo Bill night goggles and a red hoodie. He's a tiny, effeminate little dude. Which doesn't really matter when your prey is asleep. He drugs the woman sleeping in the house. She's found the next day with 50 needles in her.
Buckley notices that the killer must have been in a hurry. Way less needles and nothing written in blood. She also notices Sam at the scene. She pulls him aside and yells at him for disrupting her crime scene. Sam could give a shit and he proves it by corrupting the new crime scene too. The officers at the scene notice that Sam is making the same observations as Buckley. Furthermore, Sam observes that the killer depends on sneakiness. He , or she, must be small. Then Sam does his tracking thing. He notices that the killer has a pronounced limp. In fact, he has a leg brace. This is confirmed by scratch marks found on a tree trunk. The trail ends at a bus stop.
Just as the leads are getting hot, the FBI comes in to help catch the serial killer. In fact, they already have a suspect! A former pedophile who used to work in a hospital. The FBI gets the SWAT team ready and off they go.
After the SWATs buzzsaw through the door (which was locked, bolted, and welded shut), they find the creepiest apartment in San Francisco. There are baby doll heads everywhere. Lots of gimp costumes too. Except one of the costumes has a dude in it! He is pissed and manages to kill three or four FBI dudes with his shotgun. He's about to kill Buckley dead when Sam bursts through a window with his trusty rappelling rope. This, by the way, is at least dozen stories up. But no matter!
Sam and The Gimp fight it out. Sam puts his rope around the Gimp's neck and throws him out the window. His neck snaps. I think the moral of this story (and Pulp Fiction) is that wearing a gimp costume will only end with you being hung.
Anyways, it turns out The Gimp is not the killer. He's just your everyday crazy pedophile who actually welded his door shut to prevent him from diddling little kids. He hadn't seen the light of day in years. How he managed to feed himself is left unanswered.
The actual killer manages to kill off a doctor. A male doctor. No needles, no artwork. Just a shooting. Sam notices the same type of tracks and he and Buckley convince the FBI that the killer isn't actually a serial killer. He's targeting specific people within the medical field. He only pretended to be a serial killer to keep everyone off-base.
After a long day of detecting and tracking, Buckley drives Sam over to his hotel. It's a sleaze pit, so Buckley invites Sam to stay on her couch. When they arrive, Buckley goes upstairs to change into something more comfortable. She reappears wearing an incredibly unsexy outfit. A men's unbuttoned Oxford with boxer briefs and a sports bra. All white. Meanwhile, Sam is shaving. In the living room. He doesn't like to use bathrooms since "there are no bathrooms in the tundra." When Buckley and Sam bone, it's filmed in slow-motion and is mixed with shots of the Alaskan wilderness.
The next day another doctor winds up dead. Like the other dead doctor and the two dead women (who were nurses), they all worked with premature babies. Sam and Buckley decide that the killer must be some kind of premature baby out for revenge. Buckley obtains a list of babies saved by the good doctors and, as luck would have it, the first place they visit happens to house the killer.
The killer's Mom pretends that her son is in a coma. That's clearly not the case. People in a coma usually have someplace to pee. Furthermore, the house is littered with evidence proving the son in neither unconscious nor innocent. When the doctors mention to the mother that the doctors that saved her son's life are dead, the mom panics. You see, she only allowed her son to play dead if he was out killing abortionists.
Buckley and Sam leave to obtain more evidence so they can get a warrant. She asks two of her partners to keep watch over the house. When the preemie murderer shoots his Mom twice in the chest, they rush in. They get shot and killed too.
Sam also decided to stick around, but he is only taken hostage. Of course. The murderer has some monologuing to do. His beef is that he never should have been allowed to live. He's nothing but a walking abortion. He decides to hole up in the abandoned hospital where he was born. Which, naturally, he has completely booby-trapped.
Buckley, using the skills of the Alaskan wilderness, tracks them down. After the preemie kills a good six or seven cops, we have our show down. Sam is hanging by a chain over an elevator shaft. The preemie has a detonator that could blow up the entire hospital with everyone inside. The deal is, kill the preemie and the hospital is spared, but Sam dies too. Otherwise, everyone gets all exploded.
Sam nods at her and Buckley shoots him in the chest. Sam saves himself using some sort of wild man rope climbing trick. Paramedics save the killer's life. The End.
That was exhausting.
ACTUAL AWESOMENESS: 2
I can't even begin to quantify the terribleness that was Buckley. Here we have a name actress in Lauren Holly. The woman who won Lloyd Christmas's heart. And she was just brutal.
Also, and you may have picked up on this, Pavement's plot made no God-damned sense. The direction was just as bad as the script. When the killer referred to himself as "a walking abortion," I thought the phrase would be equally applicable to this film.
IRONIC AWESOMENESS: 4
Any sex scene that features cuts to the Alaskan landscape has to be worth something. Not much, but something.
HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 6
Buckley was played by Lauren Holly. Sam is a bit more famous. That's right, T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick. Now, I've never seen Terminator 2. And I gave up on The X-Files after season 4. So I'm not as well-versed in Patrick as some of you readers may be. But I will tell you this: I did see the end of The Marine starring WWE superstar John Cena. The man has talent.
Oh dear. The male was the one with all the intuition! What the fuck is that all about!?
I will give the film one point for having a black lieutenant who got to yell things like "Fly straight or you're off of this case!" and "God help us if you're not right." I love black police lieutenants in the movies.
GRAND TOTAL: 13
I believe this is a new low. It's well earned.