Thursday, February 8, 2007

Sweet Insanity (2006)

Meet the new girl…

Sweet Insanity is fun yet typical low-budget slasher that harkens back to the ‘80s heyday of bad horror movies.

Stacey (Rebekah Hoyle) is a popular girl at her high school that spends much of her time hanging out with friends, flirting with boys and wearing cute outfits. New, gothy girl Christina (Mackenzie Firgens) shows up and the two quickly form a close bond, mostly because Christina won’t leave Stacey alone. After one guy from the popular clique disappears, things begin to take a turn from the worse. The guys in the group are all trying to hide a secret, a strange man begins to follow Stacey and Christina around and Christina begins having weird flashbacks. When Stacey throws a party while her parents are out of town, her friends are killed off one by one.

Sweet Insanity follows the typical slasher plot, and though it’s been done a million times before, I actually found myself enjoying the movie. I’m a sucker for horror/thriller flicks set in high school and I think it may have been my downfall with this particular flick. All the reviews I read of Sweet Insanity are negative, but I actually didn’t think it was that bad. Sure, it lacks gore, blood, a surprise ending, good acting and boobs, but I still found it to be entertaining.

The plot is pretty typical of a slasher flick…a buncha high schoolers get together for a party and get killed off because of a secret in their past. You’ve got the typical good girl, slut, jock, and goth archetypes going on, along with your typical red herrings (could the killer be the crazy, alcoholic ex-cop next door or the creepy guy that keeps following them around?). It definitely doesn’t break any new ground in the genre. It is also entirely predictable from the first 10 minutes.

As for the actors, they all act a bit wooden and stiff. The guys, especially, deliver their lines awkwardly. Some of the dialogue is painful to hear, and, coupled with some bad performances, laughable. Dear Lord, though, it is a slasher and isn’t supposed to have great dialogue or stellar acting! Though the actors all looked like they were way past high school age and didn’t quite deliver performance-wise, I did enjoy seeing Mackenzie Firgens as Christina, whom you may remember from The Hamiltons. I wish she had been given more screen time.

Sweet Insanity is an obvious low-budget affair, so the picture and sound quality are iffy at best. My main complaint was that I had a hard time hearing most of the dialogue. Surprisingly, it has excellent direction and great camera work, even throwing in some stylish shots. For a low budget, the picture quality was ok…most of the time I felt like I was watching a TV movie, though.

That’s another thing…there is no nudity, no gore and very little blood so it does feel like it was made for television. Guys, you’ll be disappointed to know that there are no boobies featured here. A tease occurs when two of the girls take off their shirts to change into swimsuits, but the camera quickly cuts away. There is also no gore, though there are a few nifty kill scenes. Blood splatter is very limited as well.

The kill scenes include a throat being slit, the use of a buzz saw to saw someone in half, the use of a long drill to get someone in a closet, a fire poker through someone’s throat, a stabbing and so on. None are inventive, but they are still entertaining to watch. I just wish more blood, guts and gore had been shown to liven things up a bit. There are obvious nods to classic horror flicks scattered throughout the production, such as the closet scene from Halloween, a scene that is similar to one in Psycho and a few Friday the 13th/Nightmare on Elm Street nods.

The predictable ending is very abrupt, almost like they lost a reel of film and had to jump from the climax directly to the last scene. I wish more was explained and revealed a little more delicately than just plopping it clumsily down into the audience’s lap. Despite all these bad traits (and what a laundry list that is!) this is still your average, good-for-a-laugh slasher film.

MTI Home Video has released the disc with extras that include commentary from director Daniel Hess, deleted scenes and outtakes, a still gallery and additional trailers.

On Amazon!

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