Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Forget Me Not
Who’s Chad? He’s the pretty boy you fucked yesterday!
This is quite funny. When I found this lurking in Lovefilm’s watch now section, I thought Forget Me Not was obvious schlock vault fodder. And it is. But what’s amusing is that I’d had exactly the same thought back in October last year, and watched half the film to, erm, totally forget about it and thus fail dismally to watch (let alone review) the second half. I’m a genius- forgetting about the existence of a film called Forget Me Not. Anyway, such is my dedication to the vault, I thought I’d give it a spin anyway.
Contains a wonderfully trashy chick, shit ghosts, and spoilers below
In my defense, the reason I forgot about it, is because this is a supremely derivative film. It basically takes the slasher template and applies it to vengeful supernatural ghosts. We’ve even got an accident as children during a game of hide and seek as the instigator for disaster. In many ways, this is really indicative of the source of this film: Forget Me Not is simply following the Prom Night playbook to the letter, as so many of these slashers do. The twist here is that it isn’t a murderous contemporary, or masked behemoth with a sexual hang up, rather it’s a ghost unleashed by accident.
Meet our heroes: Sandy (Carly Schroeder), her brother Eli (Cody Linley), Layla (Chloe Bridges), Chad (Zachary Abel), TJ (Sean Wing), Lex (a film-stealing Jillian Murray), Jake (Micah Alberti) and Hannah (Brie Gabrielle) possibly the most unsympathetic slasher cast ever assembled. When they were kids they played a mean spirited prank on Angela resulting in the poor little moppet’s grand mal seizure and coma. They’re celebrating graduation by shagging each other and getting pished, and are joined by a new girl(Brittany Renee Finamore). For standard slasher reasons, their celebration ends up in the graveyard playing the supernatural themed hide and seek they played as kids. New girl wins, says to Sandy “Do you remember me” before jumping to her death.
Next thing you know, they’re being picked off one by one by evil ghosts. Except, and this is the mildly amusing idea, each time that someone croaks they’re eliminated from the timeline- literally erased from history. Poor Sandy is therefore labelled as a flaming nutter because she’s the only one that can remember their dead mates. There are some particularly amusing exchanges, such as the one I quoted above, but eventually it all spirals out of control, and there’s an outrageous downer ending that I’m not sure the film earns.
Writing and acting wise, this is actually surprisingly better than the usual plastic slasher fare. These characters may not be likable, but they are actually characters, with the reprehensible Chad and the fantastically trashy Lex being particularly well drawn. I’m actually slightly in lust with Jillian Murray based on this, and reckon that she’s another one with a decent future if she can break out of crappy slashers. It does help that she gives the most outrageously and unapolagetically sleazy performance in the film, and proceedings are dramatically less interesting once she buys the farm (there’s no way a character as shameless, brazen and downright slutty as this one is making act 3 of a film like this).
It’s not an unamusing time. Yes, ghosts are obviously shit, but seeing as they’re basically standing in for the slasher killer that you’d usually see (and they’re always shit), it didn’t bother me too much. There’s no laughable and stupid attempt to stuff a twist in here- the film sets its rules up precisely (it’s all in the rhyme they say when playing the hide and seek derivative), and then sticks to them to the letter. No deviation or breaking of its own internal logic at any point. I do wish more schlocky films would follow this approach rather than trying to bamboozle the audience with some kind of 9th rate Scooby Doo “But it was you the whole time” reveal at the end. If I have a criticism it’s of the performance of the little girl at the climax, which is lame, but by then it’s already established that this is simply NOT a scary movie by any stretch of the imagination.
What it is, though, is a fun and trashy movie, albeit a totally derivative and forgettable one. I’m mildly impressed they managed to find the budget to blow a car up, and even more impressed they didn’t CGI it. There’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before, and it hasn’t got the balls-out lunacy of Prom Night 2 and 3, the two films that are the most obvious point of reference. It’s also nowhere near as funny as them, and Angela as a manky demon ghost thing isn’t a patch on Mary Lou, the prom queen from hell.
Nevertheless, there are two fundamental problems with this film. The first is that the kills in it are bland and anaemic- this required more gore and a bit of mess. It’s too obviously aimed at the PG13 market, so nudity is totally out (despite some quite outrageously trashy shagging from La Murray and a few others. Secondly, the effects, particularly the ghost effects, struggle to reach the dizzy heights of “lame”. I’m actually a bit bored by shaking and howling ghosts- it’s a shoddy effect and just not a scary one in the slightest. And don’t get me started on the little girl’s “Demon Face” at the finale. That’s laughably bad.
Overall, do I recommend Forget Me Not. Erm… Ask me later. It’s not terrible, and it ain’t boring, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was anything out of the ordinary. There’s a severe absence of scares, and as the film is playing it totally straight, this does hurt it. More nudity would have been nice as well. The main problem I have is that it plays out as something that you’ve seen 1000 times before, and this is always the problem with this formula. If you are going to follow the Slasher template, then you do need more to distinguish yourself than merely going to the well of the supernatural for the killer.
So, in a nutshell… Meh.
Forget Me Not is an OK, not unenjoyable but totally forgettable film. Although I do hope Murray in particular goes on to better films with more casual nudity than this PG13 Horror.
I’m thinking about procuring Bad Ass if it does actually exist next. If not then I’m not sure what shambling corpse of cinema will lurch out of the vault, but until then,