Sx_tapeLondon Film Festival 2013
Thursday 10th October, 9pm – Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Saturday 12th October, 9pm – Screen on the Green
Adam and Jill like to record sex tapes – and how better to do so than with friends in an abandoned abortion clinic for women of ill repute? On such idiocy many a fine horror film has prevailed. Only Sx_tape isn’t a fine horror film: there is horror in it, and more than the occasional scare, but with no real story and some iffy character motivation, the shocks soon lose their punch and leave confusion in their wake.
Audiences have long screamed “Don’t go in there!” at the cinema screen, fully aware that the derelict murder house, surrounded by tombstones and shrouded in storm clouds at the end of Stab Boulevard is a poor place to seek shelter for the night. But for a female lead to declare that she wants to leave a creepy location and even manage to make such an escape only to willingly re-enter mere minutes later for no explicable reason – this is directorial imposition that can’t be glossed over.
With the merry band of rompers once again trapped in the abandoned clinic, tragedy swiftly ensues. The ghost of a former patient possessing Jill sends her on a murderous sex-spree. Why does Jill being possessed keep giving her nosebleeds? Why does the former patient want to kill everybody? Why can no-one find the fire escape? Clearly, these are trivial questions which tiny minds such as those the audience possess need not be bothered with – so they aren’t answered.
As the mind behind Candyman and Paperhouse, director Bernard Rose has a solid pedigree in scaremongering. It’s strange, then, that his latest offering is so superficial: the bloody incubators, the peeling wallpaper, the eerie singing of My Old Man ringing out down deserted corridors. It looks like horror but doesn’t have the brains. It also brings nothing new to the found-footage sub-genre and isn’t even the first sex tape horror movie – films like Rindhouse Productions’ 2012 Sex Tape Horror have been there before.
In the film’s defence, the editing is top-drawer and there is plenty of suspense and some good performances (particularly from Caitlyn Folley as Jill). The digital glitch and accompanying sound clash whenever the ghost patient appears works really well, and there are plenty of jumpy terrors to go around. But with no acceptable character motivation, no plausible plot and certainly no real ending, such positives appear as window-dressing to the overall disappointment that is Sx_tape.
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