Keepsake (2008)

 Posted by on March 1, 2012  Drama, HCF Reviews, Horror
Mar 012012
 

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Starring: , ,

Keepsake (2008)

(18) Running time: 100 minutes

Director: Paul Moore

Starring: Sunny La Rose, Courtney Hogan, Robert Pralgo

Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic

Janine is travelling along a deserted road when a freak accident causes her to crash her car. In need of assistance and late at night, she calls for a tow truck and waits for help to arrive. Two locals arrive by chance, they appear dodgy even though they are wanting to help, and Janine gets back in her car in the hope they leave. They do, and the events that follow would make her wish she had gone with those two dodgy looking chaps. The tow truck arrives and off they head to the garage, only the tow truck driver is not who is on the ID card in the glove compartment, and it would seem he has other things on his mind instead of fixing Janine’s car. Once his cover is blown the unnamed  and mute driver punches Janine in the face in the first of many badly edited scenes of violence that are meant to shock but will more than likely make you laugh.

As Janine gets chained up below the garage a policeman turns up to add some more comedy to the story as he tries to figure out what is going on. With a lost child like look on his face, he tries to get information from the mute kidnapper without much luck and this leads to violence. It is a real shame because the films set up is very dark, and moments like this are supposed to disturb, but as the policeman pleads “please, I just wanna get home to my family” and stupidly waves pictures of his family for the killer to see, laughing becomes second nature. You start to prey the film will find its way into dark territory, and to give it its due it does try, and sometimes succeeds. Janine is moved to her very own captivity room, given an electronic neck brace which can be used to give electric shocks should she misbehave, and there she will stay for 30 days before, I presume, she will either be let go or killed. Since the killer is mute, he never really tells her anything and so she decides to start counting down the days by carving them into the wall.

As the film continues down its route to nastiness and torture porn, the director throws up a few bizarre scenes that prove interesting, if a little hard to digest. Janine keeps having flashbacks, or escapes from her torment by visioning her sister, they are either sunbathing together, or talking in a field, but the light and colourful imagery is a million miles away from her dark captivity. Clearly something went wrong with her family life, but it is never fully explained. In one instance, while sunbathing Janine is told its time to turn on her back, but she refuses and there’s a moment which hints at something from her past, but its hard to grasp what. She also suffers horrific visions of dead people either walking around, or piled up in the corner of her room. One scene see’s Janine scream out “I am awake!!” She is obviously troubled, and I can’t imagine the annoying mute chap that has her tied up is doing her stress levels much good!

In one of  her daily routines, Janine is forced to strip as the kidnapper washes her down with a hose. Sunny La Rose is very pleasant to look at, but the whole scene is spoilt by the kidnappers impatience and childishly stamping on the floor when he doesn’t get his own way. What also ruins the scene is the shoddy camerawork, which happens far too often and will lead to nausea if you’re not careful. This isn’t a found footage film, but quite often the cameraman wobbles his camera around as if his life depended on it. I swear if I didn’t know any better I would say he was pissed out of his mind and struggling to stand up, that is how bad some of this shaky-cam comes across. It is annoying, very very annoying. The production of the film, for its low budget, is actually very impressive, and some of the effects during the kills or torture scenes are cleverly hidden as to hide the budget restraints. Some of the creature make up is impressive, and La Rose gives a very good performance as Janine, and considering what is asked of her during this film, she should be applauded.  The same can’t be said for the rest of the cast, and sadly when a new lady is introduced, played by Courtney Hogan, all hope is lost.

See, Janine gets perks in her 30 days, like receiving a new dress, and being moved to the kidnappers house. However, she mistakenly annoys the kidnapper by trying to help the other girl who seems quite content at being there, and is thrown back into her dungeon. Now she has visions of talking with this other woman, and in those visions they do not have the neck braces on. As we head to the climax, it is still not clear as to the kidnappers intentions, or Janine’s. Was the kidnapper simply just looking for a friend for 30 days, who knows. The plot is very thin, but a late movie twist will probably confuse more than it rewards, and I left this film feeling a bit, well, cheated really.

For a torture porn themed film the violence is nothing we haven’t seen before, and there is not a lot of it. The threat from the kidnapper is more laughable than frightening, and if it wasn’t for La Rose’s performance I may have given up. This is not the worst torture porn horror ever made, but it doesn’t do much to deliver anything new either. It has some moments which are very good, like the confusing visions of dead people, a rather unpleasant teeth removing scene and, of course, Janine’s naked wash downs, but sadly this film hasn’t got the intelligence to make it a worthy addition to some of the more impressive torture porn, or even kidnap flicks of recent times. It plays by the rules, at times tries to bend them with unclear results, but for those who love this sort of film it will probably give much satisfaction. A mixed mess then.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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