Well I must’ve missed it on the website but now it’s obvious – this year’s PGL has a theme: horror.
Before I get into that let me just review the previous 2 PGLs. I got into it when I watched it on Sky Movies a year or so ago. That was the first competition – in which the winner was both writer and director. The winner Pete Jones made his movie, Stolen Summer
The show was a fascinating insight into the movie biz and it had the soap opera elements of the best reality shows. When I finally got to see the movie it was a little disappointing – it was shmaltzy and sentimental – not a terrible movie, but not a terribly good one either.
PGL 2 they introduced the separate writer and director contests. I haven’t seen the show for this one – but I read the script for the winner – not that that was quite the version that was filmed. It was a light teen rom com – not bad but again not great. I read some stuff on the web about it while it was showing in the US. There was some interesting stuff being posted. It sounds like the show was good – and the movie apparently turned out like the previous one – ok but not great. I have seen the trailer and it does a good job of making you wanna see it.
You can actually buy a DVD boxset of PGL2 which comes with all the TV episodes as well as the movie. So I’ll probably get that.
The second of the scripts I read was MANEATER – and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s about 3 women who eat men. Actually they’re like vampires – undead, super strong and fast, only able to come out at night and needing to feed on humans – only instead of drinking blood they must eat human flesh. In fact the more I think of it the more I think that this script would work just as well with vamps as we traditionally know them – I could believe that it’s only there to make the title pun work. It does I suppose provide a bit of a twist on the usual formula – and it does allow for some wacky grossness.
Having said that the plot is fairly predictable – one of the vamp-girls is beginning to rethink her lifestyle – all the killing – and she gets romantically involved with one of her intended victims – which leads to a confrontation with the leader of the little group. No real surprises there then.
The tone of this movie is a little muddled. We start with a scene that reveals the canivorous habits of these ladies – snacking on a guy they’ve lured back to their factory home whilst discussing Feng Shui. So straight away I’m thinking this has pretentions of Buffyness – but it’s not in that league when it comes to witty dialogue. Or for that matter any deeper meaning or subtext. It’s the usual lonely, melancholy creature of the night stuff. To live others must die – is this who I want to be. A hundred vamp movies have done it before – many better. Which is not to say it doesn’t have it’s moments. In particular the older lead vamp, Regina, is a nicely drawn character – I immediately thought of Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger. But it’s neither that stylish, cooly noirish – nor as turn-on-a-dime genre-twisting as Buffy.
Add to that the third female lead – vamp as disturbingly gleeful serial killer and you’ve got at least 3 different moods and they don’t mesh. Plus there’s a romantic subplot in there which doesn’t have time to develop properly. Also – in what’s fast becoming a trend – the ending is a little weak. It suffers from the same schizophrenia as the rest of the movie – it doesn’t know whether it wants to end happily or not and takes a stab at both. Odd.
It is however at least as entertaining as Feast and with the right cast and a few re-writes I think it could be kinda fun.
I can see a couple of places where Miramax might want to trim it to reign in the budget – a couple of historical flashbacks which would be costly for little on-screen time. It’s got more locations than Feast but they’re more generic and it doesn’t go for the gradual trashing of an entire building the way that movie does. Now that I know the theme is horror I can see that they (PGL/Miramax) must’ve factored in the cost of effects etc and/or are prepared to school the winners in the art of low-budget gore etc.
I’ll give Maneater another 7.5/10 – the dialogue’s not quite as good but the characterisation is clearer and the type of exposition is more to my style.
Next up – A Bedtime Story