Feb 19, 2011

Stag Night


Ghost House Underground's Stag Night intends to do good with the very similar construct of Midnight Meat Train and Creep. Starring popular television actors Kip Pardue and Vinnesa Shaw, Stag Night concerns itself with the fates of six socialites as they disembark off a train at an abandoned station and in turn, are abandoned. Their problems do not stop there, however, as they witness a police officer get hacked to death by subterranean vagrants wielding machetes. Stag Night is utterly implausible as to prevent any sense of entertainment. Upon mentioning and discovering that the branch of the subway system has been closed since the fifties, then wandering down the line to witness a cop getting murdered, Stag Night takes a steep drop into the realm of the silly. Not only would the disappearance of a New York City police officer set off a chain of search/destroy but why were these vagrants hassling a vending machine in the first place? After all, Stag Night's synopsis boasts "cannibal dwellers" and that is what sets it apart from being grounded in reality. Oh well. All is forgiven because surely there will be scenes of cannibalism later. Wait, what's that? They feed the flesh of the victims to their dogs?

Plastered on the artwork of the DVD is a quote that states "One of the most enjoyable chase thrillers of recent memory." Rather than using a blurb from any reputable source of fan base, Stag Night chose to quote Netflix, the broad-shouldered bastard of user reviews on the Internet, second only to IMDb. This incident reminds me of a Canadian film stooping even lower than Stag Night to collect quotes from YouTube. One Week was the title and its shame will shine through the darkest corners of Earth. To ingratiate is one thing but to force ideas from faceless sources who haven't even seen the film is a completely different ballgame. For what Stag Night is appraised for, the action, I find the confusing mixture of "fight" and chase scenes to be muddled up with a condition known as "shaky-cam syndrome". The events that transpire within the tunnels under New York can really only point to idiocy. These lad's prenuptial celebration, or Stag Night, is hampered down by our lead character's brother portrayed by Hollywood pussy Breckin Meyer. Now for Breckin Meyer to test his chops at the horror genre is fine. As long as we're safe from another rendition of Garfield, I suppose. It's when his character is superfluously imposed as a barroom brawler that things start to steer away from its own control.

The subterranean colony of murderous vagabonds is a situation I've seen before in several films; the only ones I can recall off the top of my head are Demolition Man and the film adaptation of Super Mario Bros. Both of these examples managed to craft life out of something degenerate and desperate, even if for short segments. Stag Night had all the time in the world to manipulate a beast to boast towards horror fans. Yet, alas, we're delivered this conniption of trite cinema. The only thing worse than Stag Night's everything is the "hyperkinetic" editing that disrupts the fluidity of scenes in an attempt at, what I guess, a jolting effect. It's not even the self-assuming quality of this film that leaves me keeled over with abdominal pains. It's the condition of Stag Night's being. What kind of director, one prominently known for writing Flightplan, a film considered big-budget, castigates a genre by filming something as devoid of emotion or purpose as Stag Night? This breed of film has me wondering aloud in a heated spit. Did Peter Dowling suddenly awake with a cold sweat? Did Dowling feel bestowed with a sense of purpose and the need to craft his nightmare into a medium as to share his darkest fears? I highly doubt it and if that was the case I'd say it's safe to assume Dowling has since relapsed into a mommas boy. Stag Night reminds me of a famous quote of Alfred Hitchcock's - "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture." This rule does not apply to Stag Night. There is nothing extraordinary about these dwellers; they are neither subhumans or gifted with any incredible senses. The villains are as inconceivable as Dowling's nerve to put forth such banality to the video market.


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