by David Cornelius
Is Tara Reid the new queen of direct-to-video? It sure looks like it - several of her recent efforts have suffered the bottom shelf fate, or, in the case of “Alone in the Dark,” should have. She’s the perfect fit for the DTV market: her name is just recognizable enough to earn enough curiosity rents to make a profit, while she’s enough of a C-lister to remain affordable for studios who need to ship her off to Romania for a couple weeks’ worth of tax credit-fueled filming. A couple more turkeys under her belt, and she’ll officially become this generation’s Richard Grieco.Her latest effort is “Incubus,” a deliriously stupid horror flick that earned some minor attention last October when it became AOL’s test case in the download-a-brand-new-movie arena, with the internet giant selling the thing for $7.99 on its teen-oriented AOL Red site. The idea of AOL selling a movie to people too young to be allowed to watch it may explain why nobody’s heard much of the download program since.
"To her credit, Tara Reid does pronounce this one correctly."
(In fact, I can’t find a single mention online of anybody anywhere actually downloading the movie, and AOL Red has already pulled the program off its website. All that remains is an interview with Tara Reid, in which she promotes the film and actually says things like “I don’t think mind control is good.”)
Now the movie makes its way into the real world courtesy DVD, allowing audiences the opportunity to ignore it twice.
As ace med student Jay, Reid leads a band of moronic college kids who wreck their SUV, get lost in the woods, and then, hoping to find shelter for the night, break into an abandoned research facility conveniently located in the middle of nowhere. I know what you’re thinking: Reid as an ace med student? The gal who couldn’t even pronounce “Newfoundland?” The gal who didn’t know her left boob fell out of her dress? The gal who couldn’t even handle the task of counting backwards at New Year’s? She’s studying medicine? Yes, gentle reader, we have been asked to believe that Tara Reid is the smartest person in this movie. Welcome to my nightmare.
It turns out the facility is a holding ground for a killer with eerie powers, a killer kept in an induced coma because, it turns out, he has the power to take over your body after you fall asleep. Thus we get the title: an incubus is a demon who has sex with women in their sleep, so, um, close enough for horror movie purposes, I suppose. (There is a scene at the end in which Jay dreams she is dreaming of sex, making it both a lame attempt to work in the actual meaning of the title and the weakest horror movie dream sequence ever - “Ooh! I’m dreaming about dreaming!” It does give us the film’s only scary moment, however, as Reid offers her version of what sex sounds like. Ew.)
The killer (Mihai Stanescu), we learn, bit off his own tongue as a child, then murdered his family. And so, as he takes over each no body, his first act is to have the victim bite off his/her own tongue, which, at least here, is actually quite funnier than it sounds.
Despite having no tongue, he’s awfully good at talking - once he wakes up, he roams the halls, singing “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” which contains many tongue-dependent sounds (all those Ls and Ts), and which also winds up being the movie’s worst cliché, the friendly pop song-as-ironically terrifying theme. The rest of the movie asks us to ignore the many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many logic holes, so, sure, fine, I won’t gripe about the too-vocal tongueless baddie. But come on. The Everly Brothers?
As a plus, the movie (written by Gary Humphreys and directed by Anya Camilleri, both making their feature debut) requires its characters to react to the violence in a much more realistic, emotional manner than seen in most horror movies, and that’s admirable. But as a minus, the movie requires this of Tara Reid. And so the star of “Van Wilder” and “My Boss’s Daughter” spends the entire second half of the movie crying, grimacing, and yelling “no!” over and over again. If the ensuing wails and attempts at genuine acting are not the funniest thing to ever appear in a horror movie, at least they are surely funnier than anything to appear in “My Boss’s Daughter.”
Indeed, Reid’s performance is one so wonderfully, deliciously awful that it defies description - this is acting so wretchedly terrible that one must see it to believe it. And she is surrounded by a young cast that is, if possible, even worse. Oh, yes, Tara Reid is not only the smartest person in the movie, but she is the best actor, too.And that, gentle reader, is far more horrifying than anything the movie itself has to offer.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15778&reviewer=392
originally posted: 01/30/07 17:51:29