Thursday, 18 September 2014

Christina's House (2000)

I'm confused.  Five movies in a row from a budget box set that I've enjoyed?  This sort of thing just does not happen.

Note that I didn't say five movies that were good.  That really would be crazy talk.  But - much like Fangs and the Mommy films - this is cheesy horror fun.  There's no way you could mistake it for 'art', but it has no pretensions to be.

What Christina's House is, more or less, is a modern re-imagining of the 80s slasher film.  Or at least, modern as of 14 years ago.  You've got the (for most of the film) faceless killer, who seems possessed of unusual strength and resilience: in the opening scene he shakes a young woman so hard her neck snaps.  You've got a parade of attractive young women to be murdered.  You've got the 'final girl' protagonist.  You've got the gratuitous nudity (though in a change of the formula, it's the 'final girl' whose clothes come off).  And you've got the messed up sexual and mommy issues.

Christina lives with her dad and younger brother in an old house that she finds rather creepy: she keeps getting the feeling that there is someone else there, and the house makes all sorts of odd noises.  Christina's mother is in a mental institution, and the younger woman worries a bit that she might have inherited her mother's issues.  In a way, she has - like I said, there are definitely some mommy issues at play here.

Anyway, despite stripping off for a bath about five minutes in (a scene that attempts to justify its sleaziness story wise, by introducing an 'is daddy a pervert?' sub-plot ... which is even sleazier, really), Christina establishes her 'final girl' credentials a short time later when she shoots down her boyfriend's intimations about sex by saying she isn't ready yet.

We then get a long period of build up, interspersed with surprisingly bloodless kills, as the film tries to set up multiple potential suspects.  If you've seen more than a handful of movies, you'll probably figure out which of them it is well in advance of the reveal, but once the killer is out in the open, we get a goofy but enjoyable escalation of the slasher tropes: tools as weapons, bizarre death traps, wacky mannerisms, and of course the final showdown.  They finally break out the fake blood for this part.

There's a coda at the end where they try to do the "maybe it's not over" thing, because of course you want to establish the possibility of a sequel - it's a slasher movie, after all - but it's really not terribly convincing.

All in all though, if slasher movies are at all your thing, this is an interesting little curiosity to check out.

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