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Crazy Eights (2006)

Reviewed on 2007 November 11

This starts out with an interesting premise, falters, picks up steam in the middle, and then falters again. Too bad, because it could have been a pretty sweet traditional haunted house story.

Remember the bit in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life where the father tells his army of children that he’s going to sell the lot of them for medical experiments? Here’s what happened to some of those kids — a title screen tells us that throughout the South, children were sold by broke parents to hidden research labs for a token sum, then many times never heard from again. We see six that made it out. Beth Patterson (Gabrielle Anwar) is a tormented artist, trying to express her pain through sculpture and making things that look like a cross between a golem and one of those disgusting egg separators. Jennifer Jones (Dina Meyer) is a tormented professor, Father Lyle Day (George Newbern) is a tormented man of the cloth who sees things hiding in his church — you get the idea.

They reunite with three other friends (Frank Whaley, Dan DeLuca, and Traci Lords) for a funeral of a seventh childhood buddy. They find his will and a final request in his home, along with evidence he’s gone all weird and Anton LaVey on the them. This would have been a good excuse for me to declare myself exempt from any last wishes and just spend the rest of my time by the hotel pool until I went home, but they decide to honor his request. They get lost on the way and decide to ask for directions, and find themselves trapped in an old house.

For a while here things were very creepy, with one really disturbing bit, then they lost momentum again. Writers DeLuca and James Koya Jones (who also directed) had something pretty frightening here once they got into the house, but it turned into just another not-so-scary flick, with a weaker plot than a lot of them. They needed more background story for this thing to have worked. The finale was just plain weird too, and not in a good way.

One chocolate morsel. If you’re warped enough to come up with something as baroque as a bunch of Mengele-ish labs hidden in antebellum mansions, you should be able to come up with a better ending.



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