Grim Weekend 2002 Review
Grim Weekend 2002
aka S.I.C.K Serial Insane Clown Killer
Directed by: Bob Willems
Starring: Ken Hebert, Charlie Fenwick, Melissa Bale
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Back in 2004, I found Grim Weekend’s colourful cover at my local Blockbuster Video and was intrigued by its misleading blurb. I checked with the IMDB and no one had yet posted a review, but there was a link to the film’s official site, which included a small preview. From the clip I gathered that it didn’t include the most talented cast in the world, but looked plausibly tight and brimming with suspense. Believe me, if you’ve seen that great trailer, you’ll understand why I was so excited. Keeping in mind that I’d only seen two minutes of advertisement and the movie is over eighty in length, it’s not always conclusive as to what’s in store for you when you finally watch. I had a good feeling about this one though and went ahead and bought a copy anyway. Weekend was initially listed on most websites as a TV movie, but judging by some of the bad language – the C word, no less – I quickly worked out that wasn’t the case. Last time that I looked it had been corrected almost everywhere and updated with its rightful status as a DTV effort.
In the opening we see a point of view murder that proves Director Bob Willems is a big fan of Halloween and is paying his homage to Carpenter’s hit. An adulterous wife, or girlfriend (actually we never find out who she is and this scene has NOTHING to do with the rest of the movie) is on the phone when someone creeps up and stabs her in the stomach. As she recoils from the wound she asks, ‘What did you do?‘, which I actually found pretty amusing. I kept expecting the killer to reply ‘What do you think I did dummy‘. But the scriptwriter instead decided to try to keep things creepy… Next up we meet Brandon Walker (Ken Hebert), an office executive that’s planning a weekend getaway to a remote cabin out in the woods. It’d be a pretty boring movie if he went alone, so we are soon introduced to his date Tracy (Amanda Watson) and their friends Susan (Chris Bruck) and Mark (Hank Fields). Whilst on the long journey to the previously abandoned house, they meet Diane (Melissa Bale) in a bar and she soon joins the troupe of merry campers. After they have arrived and night falls, the group sit round a fire and tell ghost stories – so far so Friday the 13th-, but we see that they are being watched by an ominous presence. The next morning when everyone wakes up, Susan has disappeared and someone has filled the area with bizarre mutilated dolls. Before long they are stranded with only a ruthless killer clown for company!
Grim Weekend is a prime example of a movie putting the best bits into the trailer, leaving about an hour and a half of screen time totally devoid of redemption. There are only three, yes THREE, on screen murders in the whole film. The first is about thirty-seconds into the feature and the next over an hour after. They’re all bloodless and forgettable, which makes me wonder why the BBFC felt the need to rate this as an 18. We get a retarded killer clown as a boogeyman, but he’s especially obnoxious, because he spends most of his time singing nursery rhymes or chopping wood for what seems like an eternity before finally getting round to ‘terrorising’ the campers. In-between that we are plagued by loose performances that are as horrible as you had probably imagined and the characters are mostly unsympathetic and flat. Mark finds a gutted victim lying in the woodland struggling for breath and makes no attempt to comfort or help him. He just looks at him with zero emotion and then wanders off leaving him to die, which makes no sense at all from a story perspective. Denise, the under acted slut, was the character that I felt delivered the most audience allure; – even if she was supposed to be a hate-figure. I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for her instead of the bore that was meant to grab the viewer’s vote of sympathy. When the gang enter a bar early on in the movie, they meet a prostitute called Sophia (Jamie Hartzog), who in a few lines proved to be far more talented than any of the other lame ‘actors’ that plague the screen throughout. Why couldn’t she have played a bigger part?
Thankfully the film doesn’t suffer from a lack of lighting like so many of its counterparts and the director manages to pull off a couple of decent shots. Admittedly the ending was quite unexpected, owing a sly nod perhaps to The Texas chainsaw Massacre without over using the influence. Finding strange dolls around the house started as a fairly macabre touch, but the idea gets tired very quickly, which sadly the crew failed to notice. It was a brave attempt by the director to try and extract fear without using many murders or too much gore, however an extreme lack of momentum and no apparent filling leaves Grim Weekend feeling like a Krispy Kreme doughnut without the Krispy bits or the Kreme. We get to play the tick the slasher trappings game with the usual abundance of references and Willems even chucks in a few sillier than silly POV shots through a clown mask. Nevertheless, the lack of professionalism is far too glaring to gain credit and he doesn’t even try to add anything new to the formula. I bought this on the same day that I picked up the 25th anniversary Halloween DVD. Watching the special features, I noticed that John Carpenter took his masterpiece to someone from 20th Century Fox without it’s excellent score and surprisingly they said that ‘it just wasn’t scary’. It made me wonder what the hell the producers thought was frightening about this rubbish? Times have changed for the worse amigos.
There really is very little to recommend about this lazy and flat lined effort. It’s tedious, poorly constructed and generally sucks harder than a black hole on a night out with Jasmine Tame. Yeah, that hard. If there’s a moral to the story, it’s don’t trust a trailer…
Killer Guise: √
Final Girl: √