Okay, Halloween’s coming up, so I guess it’s time to do some Halloween articles and shit. What’s that, you say? I’ve written articles about spooky movies and cartoons even when it isn’t Halloween? I did a review of Igor in July? Well, this review is going to begin with a picture of a skeleton in a tuxedo:
BATHE IN THE HALLOWEENINESS
So, without further ado, here is a review of the 2008 TV movie Ogre.
Just from looking at the DVD cover, you can tell Ogre isn’t going to be a good movie. Just look at the tagline: No Donkey. No Fairy Tale. Ooh, sick burn, take that Dreamworks! Seriously, the best thing you can think of to say about your movie is that it doesn’t include Eddie Murphy? Twilight didn’t have Eddie Murphy (at least, not that I know of, he could have been in a background scene) and it probably would have been an improvement if Maximilian from Vampire in Brooklyn replaced Edward. Besides, given how creepily obsessed the internet is with Shrek, saying your movie is nothing like that movie isn’t very wise.
Then again, the blurb on the back does promise an “orgy of destruction” and I’m cool with anything with the word “orgy”.
There’s also a pretty big red flag in the first ten minutes of the movie, in that we see the titular ogre in full during that time period. Any monster movie maker worth their salt knows that most of the time, it’s good to keep your creatures in shadow for the start of the movie to build anticipation. Hell, sometimes it works when you keep your creature hidden for the whole movie, because sometimes a viewer’s imagination can conjure up scarier images than the SFX team. But no, we see a fully-lit, full body ogre in the first ten minutes, and surprise, surprise, he looks more of a cartoon than the ogre the tagline was mocking. He looks like a Goron from Zelda reimagined as a Doom enemy. It’s a pretty unimaginative design, big and bulky and even a good old loin cloth. Why not a big wooden club while you’re at it? It makes him look more like a CGI rendition of Futurama’s version of Donkey Kong than a threatening presence. The ogre is as clunky and slow as, well, the movie, actually.
The nineteenth-century village of Ellensford has been struck with a plague, and their resident magic wizzy man Bartlett Henry comes to the rescue with a spell that has your good old-fashioned TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES™. The plague is transformed into a giant ogre-like creature- an ogre, if you will – and a villager must be sacrificed to it every year. Also the spell means the village is stuck in the nineteenth century for 200 years (kinda sorta like The Village I guess), no-one can age or have kids, and when anyone tries to leave Ellensford , they die – ie. they vanish with the good old beams of light coming out of them like Freddy at the end of Nightmare on Elm Street 3. That makes me wonder why pretty much everyone in the village hasn’t gone out into the woods, because surely death would be preferable to spending about two centuries living in a shitty village isolated from the rest of the world, lorded over by some Gandalf wannabe. Dying via holy beams is also preferable to dying via badly-rendered hairless gorilla. Also Bartlett has a daughter called Hope, who, like most bad guys’ daughters is not a bad guy.
In the present day, four backpackers are searching for Ellensford (they find it so easily it’s a wonder no-one else apparently has managed to). The two most prominent of the backpackers are called Mike and Jess, and the others who get killed by the ogre are called…oh screw it, they don’t deserve names. They are Guy Who Lives, Girl Who Lives, Guy Who Dies and Girl Who Dies. Girl Who Lives is probably the best actor in this film, just because of her reaction to a scene where Hope is reunited with her love, but I can’t say much for the rest of them. I did giggle when one of the villagers says to Guy Who Lives ‘I bid you good luck’ and GuWL says ‘I bid you an idiot’ for some reason, but you really can’t care for any of them, even when the ones who die die. Girl Who Dies runs away from the ogre, but then she trips and the ogre manages to sneak up to her, which is stupid because a) the ogre is so slow you can’t not outrun him and b) he’s so big and noisy I doubt he can sneak up behind someone.
I’m not really sure GuWL, GiWL et al even needed to be in this movie. SPOILER ALERT the ogre gets stopped by some magic evil-repelling necklace Hope has that makes mean people bounce away or something. The movie probably could have just focused on the villagers and their attempts to kill the ogre.
Then again, the acting of the villagers isn’t that good either; you’d expect to feel sympathy for people trapped in a shitty little town with about three or four buildings, but nope. Steven Chandler, Hope’s love and the village’s most recent offering to the ogre, seems pretty monotonous and calm about his situation, like ‘Yeah, it was bound to happen sometime, might as well grin and bear it.’
Really, I don’t think there’s any more I can say about Ogre. I mean, ogres are rarely ever done as a horror movie monster, so I applaud the filmmakers for attempting something different. Then again, horror movies involving the faerie folk (Leprechaun, Troll) are seldom ever watchable and Ogre is no exception. I guess the story did have a slight glimmer of potential to it, but the result was so slow and dull you just want to turn the movie off and watch something else, like the movie Ogre’s tagline was taking the mickey out of.