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Amusement (2008)

Directed by John Simpson Written by Jake Wade Wall

The opening credits were promising; we’re shown a couple of girls as a hint of revenge already permeates the air. Starting out (of the three) with Shelby (Lara Breckenridge), as we find her traveling back home with boyfriend Rob (Tad Hilgenbrink) after a disappointing getaway weekend. Further distressed to find the rate at which they were traveling, which Rob explains as being a difficult task to attach oneself to a decent convoy. Having found one that wasn’t exceedingly breaking the law and eventually pulling off the road for gas with a Big Rig up ahead leading the way.

Unsure of whether to introduce each other, is decided for them when the car traveling behind pulls up and the driver makes small talk, introducing himself as Burt (Keir O‘Donnell). Going inside to pay as Shelby takes notice of a woman seemingly in the back of the rig, though indistinguishable. Mentioning such to Rob after getting back on the road and following an alternate route once hearing of the interstate being jammed. Not believing Shelby until a body jumped from up ahead and landed on their windshield. Stopping immediately as Burt rushes to assist while shouting for Rob to go obtain the truckers plates. Though returns to find him beaten and on the ground with claims of the trucker having taken both girls. Following behind as they find him inside a cabin while on the phone. Soon discovering that he was the least of their worries as a slight cackle rolls in and we find Burt emerging the victor.

We next follow Tabitha (Katheryn Winnick), whose return home to visit her aunt and uncle had almost ensured a safe enough weekend away from school. Receiving a late night visitor who asks for June, the sitter who had “up and left” her two cousins. Putting the two to bed to settle into the guest bedroom to find an assorted array of clowns collected to be a bit excessive and without a doubt creepy. Most especially the over-sized one sitting in the rocking chair. Later getting a call in the middle of the night from Aunt Grace concerning their return, mentioning how the particular clown had produced chills upon viewing. Confused as they didn’t seem to have one by that description and soon turning to find the rocking chair stirring, with it no longer occupied. Grabbing the two boys and having them leave as quickly as can while hobbling to the garage where she finds the sitter (in not the best condition) and is knocked out to awake in what appears to be a Police precinct.

A flashback shows Tabitha as a young girl, displaying a show and tell with two other girls and boy whose definition of what was funny seemed to dance on the thin line of insanity. Though we quickly move onto Lisa (Jessica Lucas) whose party girl antics were expected, having just witnessed Mother Teresa and the girl next door getting captured. Worried the day after a party when her roommate fails to return (so unlike her) and visits the hotel her date was said to be staying at; Pere’s Pension. Denied entrance but sending in her boyfriend with his Health Department badge as a means of checking everything out ends up with her having to sneak inside hours later when not hearing from him (now who could have seen that coming). Searching around upstairs when she finds Lisa, among others, trapped within the beds of the room ending up in.

Interchanging with scenes involving a trauma therapist who was strangely put into the film for added knowledge of the situation at hand. Shelby’s perceived as the only survivor, with the posing FBI agent turning out to be, (YUP) “Burt” once again. Finding her two friends on display, similar to the show and tell box shown when younger, but finding them to be only perceived injuries. Waiting to find someone who got the joke, Shelby gives in and once getting close enough makes for their escape. Failing to get her friends out but manages to trap herself within a truck our villain begins driving off in; receiving the last laugh as she pierces him one of his own weapons. Now that’s…not so funny, no.

The film certainly fails to keep your amusement the more you get into it. However, does start off on a good note. The misdirection with the trucker and hey, is that the freaky son from Wedding Crashers? Okay, my interests is peaked. But doesn’t really go anywhere with the characters or even set up a good enough reason to support the movie being watched. After these three girls reported him for his twisted idea of show and tell, he was put in a mental hospital and so was taking out said revenge for all the years lost. Having a noticeable, or rather annoying laugh of which fills the screen for the majority of the last thirty minutes. Being far ready by that point for the whole thing to be done with. The peak coming with the second story either way with the bit featuring the clown. Such a good scene:

But it also wasn’t anything terribly original. It’s also probably the majority of the Saw series that I still have stuck in my brain but I saw many instances that reminded me of the franchise. Mentioning wanting to play a game and the closing walls on each other, along with the assumed devices at the end; there were just too many scenes that reminded me of other, better, things I could have been watching. Overall not something I would actively seek out.