One of Them (2003)

Rating: D-

Dir: Ralph Portillo
Star: Richard Anthony Crenna, Kelly Carmichael, Brian Sheridan, Erin Byron

This almost feels like two films shot simultaneously, then spliced together in editing after they realised neither of them were up to scratch. Unfortunately, even together, they’re less than adequate. The disjoint halves of the plot – a man seeking to find out what happened to his niece, and a party of teens whose car crashes – both end up in a small town, where the local school seems to strike fear and terror in the inhabitants. The same cannot, almost certainly, be said for viewers since, for the most part, the level of threat here is barely enough to reach ‘Guarded’ on the Homeland Security scale.

Oh, it’s pretty clear who the bad guys are, they just don’t do much. There’s a mildly cool death involving a dead skunk and a chipper, that let us quote Fargo (“And I guess that was your accomplice in the woodchipper.”), but it begs the question: if they can cause accidents at will, why not kill the investigative uncle? Meanwhile the kids do typical teen things: drink; make out; hum Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. I kid not. Eventually, too late to save the film, the two parts meet, and bodies hit the floor: some eye violence may be a Un Chien Andalou homage (hell, I’d take The Pixies’ Debaser), but I suspect nothing so intellectual. Psycho schoolgirl Amanda (Byron) is the only memorable figure, providing detailed instruction on impalement with suitable relish. Otherwise, it’s a lame waste of time, lacking much energy, invention or wit.